How to Unfreeze Car Doors

In extreme temperatures, you may notice your car doors have a tendency to freeze shut. This can be frustrating, especially when you're in a hurry to get on the road.

Why Do Car Doors Freeze?

When it's extremely cold outside, a thin layer of ice can form in the gap between your car door and the car's body. You may see a layer of ice on the door handle or the keyhole, preventing the door from opening and the car from unlocking. If it’s cold enough, the ice won't melt away on its own.

How Do I Unfreeze My Car Doors?

There are several methods for unfreezing car doors and locks.

  1. If you have a remote car starter, this process just got a whole lot easier! Start your car remotely and give it a few minutes to warm up. This should thaw the ice and allow you to open the doors.
  2. Check to see if any other doors will open. Sometimes ice will form on the side of your vehicle that's facing the wind, and you'll be able to open the passenger side door or one of the backseat doors.
  3. Apply pressure to the car door with your hand. Pushing hard on the car door can help break the ice that has formed around the rubber seal of your car door, making it easier to open. Make sure your doors are unlocked.
  4. If you're not able to unlock your doors, try chipping away at the ice on the door handle and around and inside the keyhole with an ice scraper. You can also try to remove the ice that formed between the door and the body of the car. Be careful not to chip away at the paint. Once you've removed as much ice as you can, try unlocking your car again. If it unlocks, go ahead and push on the door again and pull it open gently.
  5. Fill a bucket with lukewarm to warm water and try pouring it over the ice in order to melt it. Do NOT use hot or boiling water, as the extreme temperature difference can cause damage to your car, and could even shatter your window glass.
  6. If you can reach your car door with a handheld hair dryer, use the heat to melt the ice.

If you find that your car doors are freezing more often than not, your seals may be damaged and need replacing.

How Can I Prevent My Car Doors From Freezing?

Ideally, you'll be able to avoid dealing with frozen car doors! Park indoors whenever possible. Keeping your vehicle out of the wind and limiting its exposure to ice and snow will help keep it in good working condition, and will reduce the risk of your car doors freezing. If you must park outside, consider covering your vehicle with a tarp or other cover to help protect it from the elements.

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