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Q: Opening a frozen lock on a car door (UK) ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   14 Comments )
Subject: Opening a frozen lock on a car door (UK)
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: probonopublico-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 23 Feb 2005 22:03 PST
Expires: 25 Mar 2005 22:03 PST
Question ID: 479813
Yesterday, one of my daughters couldn't get into her car. Yes, it
really was that cold here in the UK.

A friend of mine reckons that spraying the lock with WD40 and
immersing the key in boiling water should do the trick. Dunno because
she hasn't tried it yet.

Are there any other tricks worth knowing?

Many thanks

Subject: Re: Opening a frozen lock on a car door (UK)
Answered By: skermit-ga on 23 Feb 2005 22:10 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
While boiling the key will make it warm, it'll probably be too cold by
the time you get back to your car lock for it to melt the ice. I
myself bought a mini pocket-sized can of lock deicer. I don't have any
brand names for you, because I always just head to the auto shop in
the mall or at my dealership and pick up whatever's cheapest and small
enough to carry in my jacket pocket (or your daughter's pocketbook).
It's about the size of a 'C' battery, maybe a bit longer. Also, here's
a clever gadget I've found which works on the same principle as the
boiling key, only it's battery operated and heats up when you push a
button. The deicer's very cheap (about $2 USD) though so I'd go with

keychain deicer:

Thanks for your question!

probonopublico-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $2.50
Many thanks, Skermit, Will get some stuff today.

Of course, it may never be needed ... I do hope so.

Interestingly, my request for 'tricks' excited Sponsored Links for Magic Tricks!

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Subject: Re: Opening a frozen lock on a car door (UK)
From: capitaineformidable-ga on 23 Feb 2005 23:51 PST
Try heating the key up with a cigarette lighter then sticking it in the lock.

Subject: Re: Opening a frozen lock on a car door (UK)
From: silver777-ga on 24 Feb 2005 04:42 PST
Hi Bryan,

Just say the word "walkies" to Daisy. Point her appropriatley at the
offending lock. Your discreet assistance may be required to finish the
job. This works for iced up windscreens too. Just be careful not to
slip on the car bonnet.

Failing that, glycol can be purchased by the 44-gallon drum load. The
non-carcinogenic type glycol as used in food may be cheaper than
commercial use de-icing fluid. Avoid the use of salt on metal. Don't
be tempted by anti-freeze as the paintwork might not like that.

Of course you will have to hold open the lock entry point once
loosened to allow entry of the fluid into the barrell. A paper clip
will suffice.

Boil the jug, make a coffee while you wait for the water to cool for a
bit. Keep playing the lock as the warm water is slowly poured over it.

Good to "see" you again Bryan.

All the best, Phil
Subject: Re: Opening a frozen lock on a car door (UK)
From: siliconsamurai-ga on 24 Feb 2005 06:36 PST
Keep water away from the key and lock or you will REALLY have a frozen lock.

the other suggestions are all fine, but you can just use rubbing alcohol instead.

Later get a "puffer" with graphite from a hardware store and lube all
the locks on a nice warm, dry day, I seem to recall that you have
those in the UK once or twice a year (GRIN).
Subject: Re: Opening a frozen lock on a car door (UK)
From: synapse666b-ga on 24 Feb 2005 07:21 PST
Although WD40 and graphite are often touted as being helpful for
sticking locks, these products are not the preferred ones for the job
since they both tend to redistribute the grit (or whatever) further
into the mechanism of the locks (which further wears down the pins,
etc.).  For sticking locks I prefer a high performance penetrating oil
product with a teflon additive (such as Tri-Flow (TM)).

Additionally, none of these products is a de-icer.  So the best bet
seems to be (If  it's the chauffeur's day off) skermit's answer
Subject: Re: Opening a frozen lock on a car door (UK)
From: pinkfreud-ga on 24 Feb 2005 09:24 PST
Back when I was still driving, my favorite method of thawing a car
lock was to use a hand-held hair dryer on a long extension cord that
ran into the house or garage. A nice blast of hot air from that dryer
did the trick for me every time.
Subject: Re: Opening a frozen lock on a car door (UK)
From: capitaineformidable-ga on 24 Feb 2005 11:32 PST
Be careful Daisy doesn't get her tongue frozen on the lock otherwise
you may have to take Daisy and the car for walkies.

Subject: Re: Opening a frozen lock on a car door (UK)
From: siliconsamurai-ga on 25 Feb 2005 05:02 PST
Having written for The Locksmith Journal, I question Synapse's
comments since most car locks are simple wafer locks, not some
delicate mechanism using pins.

Graphite is a lubricant to be applied only to a dry lock and which
tends to prevent future freezing and other problems.

In addition, where WD40 isn't appropriate because it might move grit
around (in a car lock it actually flushes it out), then the same would
hold true for any other penetrating oil even if it does contain
different ingrediants.
Subject: Re: Opening a frozen lock on a car door (UK)
From: synapse666b-ga on 01 Mar 2005 07:41 PST
to siliconsamuri -
consider the tip about using a teflon lubricant a real-life trick of
the trade (that I was taught by a very bright and inventive
locksmith). Perhaps its something that you just haven't come across
yet in your reading.
Subject: Re: Opening a frozen lock on a car door (UK)
From: probonopublico-ga on 03 Mar 2005 21:33 PST
It happened again yesterday and NONE of the solutions proposed worked!

Fortunately, she could use her motorbike.

(Yes ... another very cold night.)

Please, somebody invite me to Canada or somewhere ... anywhere warmer.
Subject: Re: Opening a frozen lock on a car door (UK)
From: silver777-ga on 04 Mar 2005 04:17 PST
Hi Bryan,

I would gladly invite you to the clime of Australia, but you don't
appear to want to talk WITH me anymore. Our people are a very
forgiving lot. We value mateship and people who are easy with which to

We have lot's to offer. Victoria is reknowned for having 4 seasons in
the one day at times. Queensland is almost a permanent summer,
compared to the southern states. South Aussie is full of churches
within it's Capital of a strict grid-like street system if that is
your cup of tea. WA has great beaches, dolphins, mild winters and an
abundance of seafood and inland sand. NT has only two seasons, wet and
dry. The choice is yours.

Subject: Re: Opening a frozen lock on a car door (UK)
From: kemlo-ga on 09 Mar 2005 15:26 PST
Us Brits love to moan and complain about the weather
If its going to be the same every day we will have nothing to talk about
Subject: Re: Opening a frozen lock on a car door (UK)
From: elijah007-ga on 25 Nov 2005 10:18 PST
FYI - A select "few" of the plugs and/or housings of the lock
cylinders are made up of plastic or have plastic parts inside of them.
I will not quote any specific brands or makes of automobiles.
Basically, I am just saying do not get your key to hot with the
lighter or electronic device.

Just take precaution!

If you are still having problems with your locks freezing up you may have a ford :)

No, Seriously Ford is known for the excessive amount of lubricant they
put into their locks, it is great when the car is new but when it gets
old and cold out the lubricant will become very thick and will be much
harder to unstick than a normal frozen lock. You can tell if your lock
has to much lubricant/grease in it by sticking your key in it and
pulling it out almost all of the way then use the tip of your key to
put gentle pressure on the lock either left and/or right and if you
hear the "wafers" of the lock clicking back to their positions then
you most likely have to much lubricant/grease.

So, you will need to flush all the grease out on a warmer day. I am
not an expert on lubricants but I suggest flushing with WD-40 (put a
cloth towel below the key-way) then run key in and out and turn 2-3
times, flush again and repeat process 2-5 times. Finally, apply a
lubricant such as triflo. (I also do not consider WD-40 a lubricant).

I am a locksmith by trade, however, many locksmiths will often
dis-agree on many subjects and perform a slight variation of the task.

siliconsamurai-ga - I got my first Locksmith Journal the other day - VERY NICE!

Aaron Lock & Key
Subject: Re: Opening a frozen lock on a car door (UK)
From: stressedmum-ga on 03 Dec 2005 03:49 PST
Hi there Probo

How'd you go with the key? It's nearly a year since you posted this so
I thought I'd hitch a ride on it and use it as an excuse to check up
on you and see that you're hale and hearty.

I don't seem to get here as often as I used to. The fun crowd seems to
have dispersed -- or is it just moi?

Subject: Re: Opening a frozen lock on a car door (UK)
From: almostga-ga on 13 Jan 2006 06:26 PST
Any motorists inclined to make 'heavy weather' the infrequent
difficulties we suffer when temperatures dip just below zero should
think themselves lucky they don't suffer as Swiss motorists did
recently. The Swiss would have laughed at our 'warm key' solutions as
they required nothing less than ice-axes to open their vehicles. You
have to imagine finding your car with a blanket of ice draped over the
whole vehicle, several inches thick, resembling a car shaped ice
sculpture. As for peeing dogs, any that ventured out would have needed
their 'icicles' broken off before sliding home again!
Take a look at ice_switzerland.pps and you won't worry about our winters again.

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