The cold weather can cause many problems with vehicles you don’t expect; from mild issues like broken heaters to more severe issues like an overheating engine. Most people feel lucky to get through the winter months unscathed!
One annoyance that may persist throughout the winter - and make you late for work in the process - is frozen locks. While you won’t need to ring roadside assistance for this, it’s inconvenient, and you’ll want to know how to stop it.
How to Prevent Frozen Locks
1. Consider the Weather
A simple weather check can give you the information you need. If you know your car is going to be in icy conditions, get a winter car cover to protect it, or put it in a garage or covered parking space if you have one.
You could also place duct tape over your lock to prevent it from freezing, or leave it unlocked (however, beware your car could be an easy target for thieves).
2. Wipe Down Your Door Frame
The cleaner your door frame, the less likely it is to freeze. Dirt gathers up, and water can freeze around it, jamming your door shut.
3. Replace Worn Gaskets
The steel on the lock isn’t what freezes, it’s the rubber seal that surrounds it. Check your rubber seals aren’t damaged, and if they are, replace them.
4. Use a Lock Lubricant
Take a paper towel and rub oil along the rubber seals, this repels water which will stop it freezing the seal. There’s some debate about which oil is best, but you can try WD40, silicone spray or rubber conditioner.
How to Deal With Frozen Locks
1. Rub the Key & Lock With Rubbing Alcohol
Use an alcohol lubricant with at least 60% alcohol, as alcohol is more likely to adhere to the metal. Rub onto each component once per week. You can also use petroleum jelly, but this can be a little messy.
2. Spray Frozen Locks with De-icer
If rubbing alcohol doesn’t work, you could try spraying de-icer on your lock, wait for 15-30 seconds and then try your key. It’s that simple, and you can use it while you’re out and about.
3. Use a Lock Lubricant
If neither of the above choices works, you could try a lock lubricant. A graphite lubricant comes in a squeeze bottle that can be directly squeezed into the lock. Greaseless lubricants are supposed to attract less dirt and debris. You could also try a Teflon-based lubricant. However, don’t use all three as you’ll make the key gummy.
4. Heat the Key
If you’re confident it’s safe enough to do so, get a lighter or a match and heat the metal component of the key before inserting it into the lock. Be careful not to burn yourself or damage the key, or you won’t be going anywhere soon!
Are You Ready for Winter?
If you want to get your car ready for winter, read some of the following articles: