In the winter, snow and ice can freeze onto and into the locks of your vehicle, making it impossible for you to open your doors. While this is an annoying problem, it is thankfully fairly simple to solve if you know what you are doing. Try these following methods to defrost your car locks and continue on with your day as normal.
What Not To Do
Firstly, do not pour hot water on the locks in question. While this may seem like an obvious solution, the hot water is often not warm enough to melt through all the ice on the lock, and can even freeze on top of the already existing ice, making your problem even worse.
Secondly, don't try to break the ice away with your keys. This can damage or even break your key, or cause damage to the lock itself, both of which can be costly to fix.
Use Your Fingers
Before you begin trying to defrost your locks, you should first locate the lock that is the least frozen. This will be the one facing the sun – every little bit of heat will help.
Now, if the ice hasn't actually gotten into the lock and only covers the opening, you can use your fingers to melt it away. Press your thumb or palm up against the lock and hold it there for a few seconds before trying the key. If this doesn't work, don't force the key; just try something else.
Heat the Key
Take a lighter and run the flame up and down the length of the key for a while. Take care to not burn your fingers while doing this. Then, slowly press the key into the lock, not forcing it in and giving it time to melt away the ice. You may have to reheat the key several times before this works.
Make use of Hand Sanitizer
Pour hand sanitizer on the lock. Make sure that you are using a brand that contains alcohol, as this is the chemical within the sanitizer that will melt through the ice. You can also try pouring the sanitizer on the key and pushing it into the lock to defrost the interior of the lock as well.
Use a Commercial Defrosting Product
There are a number of defrosting products that are available on the market that are made out of chemicals that are able to powerfully and quickly melt ice. These products are available at most hardware stores and should be applied directly on the key and the lock in the same manner that you would use hand sanitizer to defrost the lock.
If you're unable to unfreeze your locks or you accidentally damage them in the process, seek repairs at a shop like Gordie's.