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How to Unfreeze a Car Door Lock? – 4 Most Effective Methods

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

how to unfreeze a car door lock

Are you wondering how to unfreeze a car door lock? In contrast to popular belief, putting hot water into your car lock won’t unfreeze it. However, applying alcohol, heating the key, using a hairdryer, or spraying lock defrosters are some simple methods that work to get rid of the ice build-up on the lock.

We will provide you with the step-by-step procedures for each method through this tutorial. You can choose the way that is most suitable for you. In a few minutes, you can unfreeze the lock of your car.

What to Prepare

Before you proceed to the tutorial, there are items that you must prepare first. The things you need will depend on what method you decide to choose. You may have them at your home. If not, buy the items at the nearest store or online.

Hand sanitizer

The hand sanitizer must have isopropanol or ethanol contents to be effective. You can use one in a bottle or a spray, whatever is available at the moment.

Open flame source or heat source

If your key has no electronic components, you can use an open flame source such as a match or a lighter. Using a heat source like a domestic hairdryer is recommended if it is an electronic key.


A lock defroster that is in the bottle is cheaper compared to one that is in spray cans. However, lock defrosters in spray cans are more effective because most of them have propane.

Step-By-Step Guide


Method 1: By applying hand sanitizer


Step 1: Coat your car key with a hand sanitizer

First, you have to coat your car key with a hand sanitizer. You can squirt a fair amount onto it, ensuring that both sides of the key are covered with the gel. A hand sanitizer melts the ice by decreasing its freezing point.

Once the key is prepared, insert it gently into the car’s lock. You can also wiggle it gently. Don’t force-push it with the lock on car frozen shut since it may break your key.

Step 2: Wait until the sanitizer melts the ice, then turn the key to open the car’s door

After inserting the key into the car’s lock, wait for about thirty seconds until the sanitizer melts the ice.

Turn the key and open the door of your car. If you notice that the ice is not melting, coat the key with more alcohol.

You can also use petroleum jelly as a substitute to unfreeze a car lock, but be sure to wipe it out after you get into a frozen car door. It may clog the lock if not removed.

Method 2: By heating the key

Step 1: Heat the car key on an open flame source

Another way of opening frozen car doors is by heating your car key. To do this, you need to have an open flame source. A match or a lighter will do.

But if your key has electronics in it, such as a key fob, use a hairdryer instead of a lighter. Intense heat may damage the electronics in your key, which is more costly to replace.

Open the heat source and heat the metal part of the key for a moment. It must be warm to touch.

Step 2: Insert the key into the door lock of the car

Insert the key into the door lock of the car. Instead of pushing it forcefully, you may wiggle it gently. Leave it for a few seconds.

Since metal quickly gets cold, you may have to remove the key from the lock once in a while to heat it again.

Keep doing the procedure until you have totally turned the key and successfully opened your car’s lock. This method may take you some time to open frozen car doors.

Method 3: By using a hairdryer


Step 1: Plug in your hair dryer and blow warm air into the lock assembly

First, you have to plug in your hairdryer. Once it blows warm air, point it close to the lock assembly to melt the ice.

Be careful if you are using a heat gun, since it may damage your car’s paint. As much as possible, keep a good distance to prevent putting too much heat onto the car’s paint.

It may take a while until you entirely melt the ice from the lock assembly. However, keep doing the procedure until there’s enough room for the key to fit in.

Step 2: Insert the key into the lock of the car

After melting the ice, insert the key into the car’s lock and use it as usual. If the car door lock frozen key wont turn, you may also heat the key.

Afterwards, re-insert and turn the key to open the door of your car.

If you are rushing, this method may not suit you since it will take a lot of time. There are other ways to get a frozen car door open.

Method 4: By spraying a lock defroster

Step 1: Choose what lock defroster to use

Spraying a lock with defrosters is the best way to open frozen car door. You can buy a defroster or make one to save a few bucks. In a bottle, combine ⅓ of water and ⅔ of isopropyl alcohol. Shake well before using it.

Step 2: Apply the defroster to the lock assembly and open the lock of the car’s door

If you are using a defroster in a bottle, squirt a small amount of the liquid into the lock. Wait until the ice melts.

If you are using a defroster in a spray can, remove the cap of the spray and get the substance into the car keyhole.

After the ice has melted, insert the key into the lock and turn it. If the ice is slow to melt, add more defroster to the lock. Keeping a defroster is helpful if you find your car lock frozen.

If the methods above still do not work, check this guide to know what to do. Also, here are 8 tips to prevent door locks from freezing in case you need it.


Did you enjoy our tutorial on how to unfreeze a car door lock? There are easy methods you can apply to melt the ice. Instead of forcing your key into the car door lock, using any of the above techniques will lessen the risk of damaging your car key and lock.

If you find this post useful, we would appreciate it if you would share it with your friends. You can also tell us your experience in following the tutorial. Leave your comment below.

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