With winter comes a host of problems that car owners face. While some might be dangerous, like stalled engines, some are not quite as dangerous but might be very frustrating.
A frozen car door falls into this category. Imagine a scenario where you have forced yourself out of your warm bed on a frosty winter morning to prepare to go to work just because you have to. Imagine that you get to your car only to discover that it is frozen shut.
For some of us, such a situation will make us ask ourselves what we might have done. Here are our handy tips for opening a car door that is frozen shut.
Why Has My Car Door Frozen Shut?
You must know the reasons behind your car door being frozen shut before going into how to unlock it. One reason for this situation you find yourself in is a drop in temperature below freezing during the night.
Usually, the heat of the sun takes care of any thin layers of ice that form overnight. However, in extreme cases, thin layers of ice can form between the space of the car‘s body and the door.
One other reason you might be the quality of seals around your car door.
The seal could be cracked or worn away. Finally, leaving your car exposed outside is not advisable. Instead, it should be in a garage or covered. This will make your car door less likely to freeze in cold weather.
How Do I Open My Car Door That Is Frozen Shut?
Now that we have highlighted reasons for our car door getting frozen shut, we can move on to how to get it open if you ever find yourself in such a situation. Are you unable to get into your car as a result of a frozen door? You should try any of these easy and effective options.
Apply Pressure On The Door
Step 1: The first thing to do when you can get into your car is to ensure that it is unlocked. For a keyless entry, try pressing unlock on your remote a few times.
On the other hand, if your locks are not frozen, turn the key counterclockwise a few times to ascertain that the door is frozen, not unlocked. After ensuring that your car door is unlocked, you can move on to the next step.
Step 2: Having confirmed that your door is unlocked but frozen, you can go ahead to push the door a bit. This seemingly small movement might be enough to shatter the thin layer of ice getting in your way.
All you need to do is apply body weight to the car by leaning on it gently. Be sure not to lean in too hard or too quickly to avoid denting your car’s body.
Pour Warm Water
Step 1: It is possible that your car door doesn’t open after pushing and pulling. What this means is that the door is really and truly frozen shut. There is another way to deal with this. Simply get a bucket of hot water.
It is only normal that hot water will prove useful at melting ice. Avoid pouring hot water onto the body of your car. However, warm water can help with the situation. Try to mix the hot water with some cold water to achieve a lukewarm temperature.
Step 2: Pour the warm water carefully along the door’s seal and around the handle to melt the ice. Once the ice is melted, open the door and dry the rubber with a cloth to prevent it from freezing again.
You must know that you should use only warm water, not hot water. Hot water, due to the temperature change, can cause your glass to crack.
Blow With A Heating Device
Step 1: Not everyone would be comfortable with pouring warm water on their car. There is a third method to open that frozen door. A hairdryer or heat gun can be as effective as warm water in melting ice.
Melt the ice off of the door handle, lock, and the space between the door and body of the vehicle.
Step 2: Gently try to open the door. Pull gently on the door until it can be pulled (but not forced) open.
Although this method is useful, there are still a few negatives. Since it is dangerous to use electricity around water, one has to be careful. You must ensure that the cords stay out of snow and water.
Another drawback is that plastic trim and door handles can also be melted by a heat gun and even hairdryer. It is better to avoid having the heat source closer than 6 inches to the ice when using a heat gun. It should be 3-4 inches away when using a hairdryer.
Use An Ice Scraper
Another effective method to unfreeze your car door is by using an Ice scraper. However, it can only be used to remove ice present on the outside of a vehicle.
If the ice is between the door and body, inside the lock, or on the inside of the handles cannot be removed with an ice-scraper. If you do not have an ice-scraper, you can use a hard-plastic object, like an ATM card. So how is this done?
Step1: Use the ice scraper to scrape off the ice that can be seen on the door’s surface, especially that which is visible around the door edges.
Step 2: Push and pull on the door to open it.
See Also: 6 Best Car Batteries For Cold Weather
Apply A Chemical Deicer
If all the above-mentioned methods of unfreezing car doors do not appeal to you, another method is known to be effective: the use of a specialist deicer. These purpose-made deicing chemicals can be gotten from gas stations and hardware stores.
However, you must select the one that is suitable for use on rubber. So how do you make use of a deicer in unfreezing your car door?
Step 1: Apply deicer to remove the ice that prevents you from opening the door. Hold the deicer at the recommended distance from the car’s body and spray it onto the ice. Now, wait for about five to ten minutes for the deicer to do its work.
The driver contains a specialist substance designed to melt ice and a lubricant. The lubricant will prevent the ice from reforming.
Step 2: Once it is evident that the ice has melted away, gently try to open the door.
Is It Safe?
This is practically the safest method on this list, but you might not have a deicer handy when faced with this ‘icy’ situation. Of course, it will be impossible to get into your car to go buy one. In such cases, alcohol can be used as a homemade alternative.
You just rub alcohol on the ice and you should get the same result. It gives the same as that which you will get when you use the deicer. Nonetheless, it should not be an every time thing.
Once you can get into your car having used alcohol, endeavor to get the deicer from the gas store. Alcohol has the possibility of damaging the rubber seal on your car door in the long term.
How Can I Avoid My Car Door From Freezing Shut?
Now that you are equipped with the knowledge of how to unfreeze your car door, you must know how to avoid it from happening again. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. You don’t want to use the above-mentioned methods too often.
This will prevent the rubber seal of your door from wearing out too quickly.
- Ensure that the rubber seal around your car door is in good condition. If it is damaged in any part, water and air can get in. What this means is that your door will keep freezing time and time again in winter. Therefore, if the rubber is not in good condition, have it replaced.
- Buy a good quality protective spray. The spray will help lubricate the rubber, thereby preventing it from getting dried up.
- One cannot be too careful with the rubber seal, even though your rubber is in good condition. You can put a plastic sheet or anything that would not prevent the door from closing. But, this sheet will stop the ice from joining your car door together with the frame.
- You can also prevent your car door from freezing shut by covering your car when it is not used. You can use a large tarpaulin or specific car covers that are sold at gas stations.
With comprehensive experience in writing exceptional quality articles and blogs about cars and related stuff, Daniel is one of the finest bloggers and a hardcore car lover we have. He is an ASE certified technician with an across-the-board experience of 10 years in the industry. He could not help tinkering with anything he got his hands on from a young age, which led to his remarkable career in the automotive repair industry.
When he is not under any hood, you can find him on the water or in the woods to pursue his passion for hunting and fishing. He has been writing for multiple sectors and is a regular contributor to several publications.
He currently owns a Nissan 300ZX TT and a Pearl Yellow but plans to upgrade it to 550 HP. His favorites include the Koenigsegg CCX and Lamborghini Diablo 6.0 VT, but for him, the Ferrari 360 Spider is one of the sexiest cars that exists to date.
Being an avid world traveler, he has spent most of his time analyzing the automotive markets, latest technology, and local favorites to enhance his knowledge base. He is currently living in North Caroline, where it’s all about food and coffee and, of course, cars.