How to Open a Frozen Lock in Your Car or House

car keys covered by snow stuck in door

How to Open a Frozen Lock in Your Car or House

Is there anything more frustrating than being locked out of your car or house when it’s cold outside? Freezing temperatures combined with rain, snow, sleet, or ice can lead to frozen locks that you can’t open. Your first instinct might be to try to force the lock until it opens, but this can damage your lock or key. There are other, safer methods to opening a frozen lock and preventing freezing in the first place.

First: What NOT to Do When Trying to Open a Frozen Lock

  • DON’T pour hot water over a lock!
  • DON’T use a flame source to heat your lock!
  • DON’T try to force the lock using your key or another object!

While these methods are a quick fix that might actually unfreeze your lock, they can also damage your lock and the surrounding seal. Prevent yourself from having to replace a damaged lock by opening it safely in the first place.

How to Unfreeze a Lock

Using these safe methods to unfreeze a lock, you’ll be able to open your car or house without damaging or breaking the key or your lock.

  • Spray the lock with deicer, which can be found at most hardware stores or auto parts stores. The deicing spray will loosen the ice within a few seconds, allowing you to insert your key and gently unlock your car or house.
  • Use a hair dryer to warm up the lock. If you don’t have a cordless hair dryer, attach one to an extension cord. This method may take a little time, but it will gradually melt the ice around the lock.
  • Dip your key in vaseline, then insert the key into the lock. Gently wiggle the key to loosen the ice. You may need to re-apply the vaseline and try again 3-4 times before the lock opens. Be patient! If you try to force the lock, you could break your key!
  • If nothing else works, call a mobile locksmith to come to your house and unlock your car or house for you. A locksmith will have the right tools to open a frozen lock without breaking it.

Bonus: How to Keep Locks from Freezing

  • Park your car in a garage or under a carport.
  • Keep your locks and padlocks dry by covering them with a plastic bag before it snows.
  • Spray the interior of your locks with WD-40, or use a graphite-based dry lubricant. These will keep moisture out of your locks.

Call A Mobile Locksmith!

If you’re locked out of your car or house, don’t force the lock! Call a mobile locksmith instead. Contact Discount Lock & Key at 336-687-7977 and we’ll help you ASAP!

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