How to unfreeze a frozen car door lock

How to unfreeze a frozen car door lock

With the cold weather well and truly here, the harsh Winter months can cause many issues when it comes to your car. One of which is that your car door lock can become frozen.

While there are various ways people can try to unfreeze a frozen car door lock, they can come with negative effects.

Frozen car door handle

What we don’t recommend & why

Heating the key up with a lighter or match: For obvious reasons, this can be a risky one to try. There is the risk of burning or injuring yourself as well as causing damage to the key – especially the plastic part.

Tapping the lock with a hard object: Some will try this as a way to break the ice up from within the lock. However, we don’t recommend doing this. It’s too easy to hit the lock too hard and cause damage, or even slip and damage the bodywork.

Using a hairdryer: If you have an extension lead you could give this a go. However, it can be more trouble than it’s worth as you may not be able to direct the heat well into the lock. It’s also not recommended to use an interior electrical appliance outside on a cold, damp day.

Hand sanitizer: This has the potential to work as it will contain alcohol which would melt the ice. But coating your key with a sanitiser isn’t really recommended, especially so if it is the gel kind. This is because it can also leave behind a residue which could attract dirt and clog the lock over time.

Grease or silicone lubricants: Similarly to the hand sanitiser way, using a thicker lubricant can cause the locking mechanisms to get clogged.

Pouring boiling water onto/into the lock: This is a common option that people try and potentially the worst! Having the mechanism change temperature from freezing to boiling in an instant can cause the metal to become weaker, especially so if you do this multiple times. In the long run, you could result in a broken lock.

Forcing the key: This is another very dangerous way to deal with a frozen lock! It goes without saying that forcing the key into the lock and activating the mechanism can cause the key to snap. This is especially a problem if the key snaps inside and you cannot get it back out.

So, what do we recommend instead?

Transyl being applied to a padlock

We recommend using our releasing oil and lubricant, Transyl. Transyl is a versatile, deeply penetrating, self-spreading liquid with incredible spreading and climbing properties. Because of this, it is able to reach the most difficult of areas and tricky metal parts.

Its exceptional self-spreading qualities allow the oil to move greatly within a very small area and as it displaces moisture, will quickly and effectively unfreeze a frozen car door lock.

It is available in a variety of sizes including handy 200ml and 400ml spray cans with straw attachments, allowing for a very controlled and precise application.


For more information, take a look at the Transyl product page here, or read more about its many uses here.

For more Winter car care tips, why not take a look at our previous post how to prepare your car for Winter.

We hope this was helpful. As always, if you have any tips, tricks or advice, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below. Or, feel free to follow our social media pages; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest @Owatroluk or use the hashtag #owatroluk.

Owatrol Team
About Owatrol Team

Our team are ready and willing to support you with your requirements whether it is protecting your newly laid deck or renovating a luxury yacht, whatever the application Owatrol has the solution you are looking for.

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