How to Open Frozen Car Door

January 29, 2021Car Care and Revamp
Michael Vaughan

Moving through the Bay Area, Michael works as a freelance writer in the moving and transportation industry.

On an icy day, when you’re in a hurry to get to work or school, being stuck due to the frost on your auto door is the last thing you want. That’s why techniques in how to open frozen car door can come in handy and help you solve the problem in a matter of minutes. Read on to find out what are some tried and trusted methods to set you on the road without any hustle and frustration.

When temperatures get below zero, it might happen that your car door freezes. This is especially likely if you had your vehicle washed recently or simply didn’t take any precautionary measures against this inconvenience. But, whatever the case, don’t worry. Many people tend to panic and think this problem might take ages to be solved, but actually if you approach it with the right tools and techniques, you’ll be cruising the streets in no-time. So, what is there to know?

How to Get a Frozen Car Door Open?

Even the best cars for city driving can get frozen in winter because this happens as a natural process regardless of car design. Still, you shouldn’t let the driving anxiety overwhelm you and just apply force because it can lead to serious damage. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re at risk of scratching the paint, damaging some parts of your car, or even having the window glass shattered. And that would call for serious repair and expense, which absolutely nobody finds appealing. So, a stitch in time saves nine in this case. Having said that, we can jump to methods, and you can start relaxing since there are numerous strategies that can help you get this task right.

A man pulling a car handle
There is more than one way to go about this

Method One – De-Icer Liquids

A great way to open a car door frozen shut is to use some of the defrosting liquids you can buy in carshops. Even for most expensive cars in the world, these cost a few bucks and can go a long way. You can find a spray or a liquid containing 70% or more of isopropyl alcohol and that’s all you need. Spray or pour it around the lock or on the edges of your door depending on what your problem is and in a matter of seconds you’ll be able to open or enter the key. If it’s super frosty, you might want to wait for a few minutes, but the technique is foolproof. What you want to know, though, is that these are super flammable, so you should be careful when using them.

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How to Open a Frozen Car Door – Alternative Method to Replace De-Icers

If you don’t have some of these special liquids or are operating some of the best cars for off road driving and have no opportunity to obtain them, there are still some things you can use. It will suffice if you have some of the following:

  • Windshield wipers – These contain a lot of alcohol and can serve the same purpose as de-icers. They are also applied in the same way.
  • Rubbing alcoholIf you have it in your home, it’s a great option. Yet, repeated usage of this one may lead to damage to your rubber gasket.
  • Water – If none of the above mentioned is available, this one is a real saver. Find a pincher or bottle, pour in lukewarm or cold water and add a pinch of salt if possible. Remember not to use hot water because it can wreak havoc on your vehicle. Once you’re prepared, spout the water around the door lock and seal and wait for a few minutes for the trick to start working. Take a look at the following video if you’d like to learn more about de-icers.

YouTube video

How to Unlock Frozen Car Door Attempt 2 – Ice Scraper

If you can’t apply the former method for any reason, this one is worth giving a thought. Regardless of whether you own some of the best cars for women, have one of the best cars for beginners, or possess some of the best cars for families, this technique will be applicable. What you want to do with the scraper is remove the ice crust formed on the seal, windows, and your door. You can also go below the lock and remove any frosty traces that impede you from opening car doors frozen shut. If you haven’t got a scraper, try using a credit card or any plastic card you have on you. Even a spatula will do, but remember to be gentle because you don’t want any scratches and damage to paint.

A car in the snow
Ice scrapers can help you to a large degree

Idea 3 – Start the Car Remotely if Your Auto Door Is Closed Shut

When you think about classic cars vs modern cars, one of the major differences is in the way they’re started. If you own a car that can be ignited remotely, use it to your advantage. For most temperatures, this will work and after 5 to 10 minutes you’ll be able to open the door since the vehicle will heat on the inside. Don’t let the driving stress get the best of you and be patient with this one.

A snow covered SUV on the street during night-time
Starting your engine remotely can heat up the vehicle on the inside

A Blow Dryer Could Help Too

If you’re wondering how to unfreeze car doors, you must have thought of this one. And if you have a chance to use a hair dryer as a source of heat, it’s a step towards success. If you have a dryer that uses a battery or an extension cord long enough, you can try this one out. It’s much easier than learning how to replace a valve stem or how to start a car without jumper cables, so you needn’t worry. Make sure you disperse the air so that you don’t hold the dryer on one spot for too long, especially if it has some micro cracks because that can lead to glass shattering. Otherwise, you’ll be fine and ready to rock your drive in winter weather.

Gray corded hair dryer and comb on the bed
If you’ve got one that can be used outside, it’s worth a try

How to Open Frozen Car Doors With No Equipment

If you’ve seen enough of the best TV shows about cars or played some of the best racing games, you know that all is possible in the world of driving even if you have nothing on you. The same goes here, so if nothing else is available, these are some of the DIY options you can try to pull out.

Leaning Against the Frozen Door to Defrost the Seal

If you want to go it alone, this is the easiest way you can choose. By leaning on your door, you should put pressure on the seal that can defrost the ice so that you can achieve your goal. However, be careful prior to embarking on a stress-free road trip or going to work. If this method is overused, it can lead to car damage. Be patient and try this more than once.

Heat the Key With Your Hand or Lighter Before You Try to Open

You must have seen it in some of the best car movies ever, and if you ever wondered how do you unfreeze a car door lock, you can do it by heating your key with your hand or blowing when the weather gets cold. Repeat this more than once and slowly work your way into the lock and you’ll see it’s possible. Besides, if you’ve got a cigarette lighter closeby, try to heat the key using this method. Just make sure not to heat the electric parts, but solely the metal ones. And voila, the worst car movies scenario averted and you are ready to go.

A person holding a lighted lighter
It’s always handy if you’ve got a lighter in your vehicle

How Do You Open a Frozen Gas Door?

Most people ask themselves what happens if you put the wrong gas in your car, but there’s also a problem with gas doors and caps when the winter kicks in. If you struggle with this, you’ll be happy to hear that most solutions resemble the case with plain frozen doors. So, you should apply a de-icer to the gas tank door and you want to target its hinges and perimeter. Let it cool for about five seconds and then repeat the process. Afterwards, spray the area around the cap with cooking oil spray to make sure the ice thawed completely. If you’re still in the dark about how to de-ice a gas tank door, you might want to know that prior to doing this it would help if you cleaned your vehicle’s exhaust pipe and turned on the engine. Afterwards, you need to turn the defroster, the heat and the headlights on because it will all boost the auto temperature and facilitate your task. Finally, before you kick in with the liquids, clean as much snow as you can from the gas tank door using a broom, scraper or something of a sort.

You should know that in this case push-and-pull methods are possible too, though not highly recommendable. If you know what spots need to have pressure applied to them, you’ll do fine, but bear in mind that this can take time.

White plastic bottles on brown wooden table
It’s really helpful here to have a de-icer or alcohol

The Right Step in Time Saves Nine – Prevention

One of the main misconceptions about cars is that it’s impossible to prevent having your doors frozen. And though it’s great if you managed to learn how to get frozen car doors open, it’s even better to prevent having to do this in the first place. These methods are super easy and go a really, really long way.

Cover Your Machine

Car covers and tarps will keep the ice away from your vehicle’s doors, locks and windshields. They can also protect the hood if the thermometer is high below zero. Besides, they’re a good deterrent to theft and putting this much thought into damage prevention might find itself on the list of desired qualities for those reading tips for buying a used car.

Put a Plastic Bag or Towel in the Door

Believe it or not, putting a plastic trash bag or a bathroom towel prior to closing your door and leaving might do you a world of good. If you locate this bag or towel in between the door and the seal you prevent them from freezing together and you get one of the easiest answers to the question we’ve been discussing.

Take Care of the Rubber Seals

You might have learnt how to change a flat tire or how to use a tire repair kit, but you should also know that protecting your rubber seals is crucial for successful car maintenance. The process of changing flat tires may be complicated, but taking care of rubber seals is straightforward. In this case, wipe a chemical protective product over the seals. Use a rubber conditioner you can find in car shops or silicone sprays. Some petroleum products and cooking sprays are also fine if you’d like to skip buying new things but they shouldn’t be used over prolonged time periods.

Red Ferrari car covered on grey pavement
Car covers are useful for other things too

Are You Looking for State-of-the-Art Car Shipping Services?

If you believe you have mastered the question of how do you unlock a frozen car door, and you need an auto transport company to help you move your car to another state, make sure you do thorough research. High quality transportation options such as open trailer transport and carriers that operate on an enclosed trailer are just the beginning of what you can experience and what you should search for. Don’t let yourself wonder what to do if scammed by a car dealership or unprofessional car shipping companies. Choose only the best for yourself and don’t just look for the cheapest way to ship your car, but for the optimal trade-off between quality and expense. Winters can get tricky, but with right tools and car shipping professionals, you’ll be in your element in no time.

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