Frozen Car Door: What To Do To Open It

In winter, motorists face additional, not always pleasant, challenges. And one of them is the need to open a frozen car door.

This unfortunate situation can be very unpleasant, especially when you need to go somewhere urgently, and the door in the car does not open. Let’s figure out what to do in such cases.

How to open the car door, if it is frozen

First, you should make sure that no car door does not open, even if it is the trunk. It is unlikely all are frozen – some will open for sure – usually the one that is least used. It may take a little more effort than usual, but do not overdo it so as not to break the handle. The main thing is to get inside and start the engine to warm the car up from the inside and, if possible, drive it to a warm place where you can leave it for a few hours.

Sometimes it happens that the seals or door locks freeze due to accumulated moisture. If this is the problem, then to open the frozen car door, it is usually enough to lightly tap on its perimeter. You can also push on the door so that the ice on the rubber bands will crack.

If you can’t open the frozen car door even after it has warmed up, the problem may lie deeper and you will have to go to a car service.

Frozen car door – what better not to do

Popular “antiquated” tips are still heating with a hair dryer or pouring boiling water. Only they are suitable only for the old cars of the Soviet car industry. And the mechanisms of modern automobiles are not the same as they used to be. Besides, not all car owners know exactly where to heat.

Moreover, the hot dryer can damage the lacquer coating due to the sudden temperature drop. Hot water will lead to the same effect. Moreover, it will quickly cool down and freeze, only worsening the already nervous situation. Blowing on the lock with your mouth also makes no sense – there is not enough heat to melt the ice, but the steam will quickly freeze.

What you definitely should not do if the car door is frozen – is to make unnecessary efforts. Whether it is trying to turn the key by force or too hard to pull the knob.

It is possible to meet pieces of advice, to heat a key with a lighter and insert it into the lock while it is hot. But you should be very careful while using it in practice because the key can contain plastic parts that will melt. Also, do not stick foreign objects in the keyhole – they themselves may break and get stuck, or damage the mechanisms of the lock.

Frozen car door – how to open it

It is really possible to cope with frozen-to-the-body rubber seals or moisture in the lock latch and open the car door yourself. But problems may arise with other mechanisms.

For example, ice due to condensation can form in the cable connections, which actuate the door mechanisms. Condensation in them should not appear, but time spares no one.

If the condensate has frozen in these cables, you will not be able to warm them with the same hairdryer from the outside. And because of too strong jerking of a handle, they can break off. And then even if the ice melts, the car door won’t open and you will have to go to service, where these cables will be replaced.

The car door doesn’t close – what shall I do?

But if the door in the car won’t close, it can mean that the “doggie” of the door lock doesn’t pop out due to the freezing of grease. In this situation, it is necessary to warm the car well and then try to open/close the door again. If the grease has warmed up, the “doggie” will disappear and the door will close easily.

But the main tip is don’t try to open a frozen car door by any means. A few cab rides will be cheaper than future repairs at a car service center.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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