We are asked questions all the time by readers via our comments section or Facebook page. The Car Coach answers them.

Dear Car Coach:

It's that time of year again. Any tips on how to prevent doors from freezing shut? I have a 2003 Dodge Durango and have had problems already. RM

Dear RM:

Plan your attack on frozen locks in advance, before you get stuck out in the cold.
The first thing you should do when encountering a frozen door is to try accessing the car through other doors or the rear hatch if necessary. Jump in, start the engine, and let it run for several minutes. It won't take long for your car to heat up and thus warm the locks on all the doors.

Here are some other quick thawing solutions:

Things You'll Need:
- Matches or lighter
- Hair dryer
- Toilet paper tube or straw
- Lock deicer
- WD-40

1. Heat your key. Sometimes a frozen lock needs a little warmth to get the tumblers moving. Wearing thick gloves, carefully use a match or lighter to heat your key and then insert it into the lock. The heat will melt ice inside the lock and allow you to unlock the door. WARNING: Modern key fobs contain computer chips that are easily damaged. Unless you have a single key, this is NOT a good option.

2. Keep a straw or toilet paper tube handy during winter months. In the event that your lock freezes, place the tube over the lock and warm it with your breath or a hair dryer. This technique may look silly, but it works. Your breath can be all that it takes.

4. Using a hair dryer to heat the key or the lock itself is another good option, but finding an electrical outlet nearby can be a problem. You'll need a long extension cord or a portable hair dryer if your car isn't within reasonable range of an outlet.

5. Prevent your locks from freezing by keeping a can of deicer or WD-40 on hand and spraying your locks at the end of the day. Since most frozen door locks are the result of condensation inside the tumblers, deicer will help keep the condensation from freezing. You can find deicer in most hardware and automotive stores or in gas stations and convenience stores during the winter months.


NEVER pour hot water over your lock. This will increase the amount of water inside the lock and result in future frozen locks.

If you think that using a remote is the best solution, think again; doors freeze shut too.

One final tip: cover a rag with WD-40 and wipe the weather strip (rubber door seal) in the evenings to prevent your door from sticking in the morning.

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