If you live anywhere that Jack Frost has a presence, then you know that car door locks can freeze up, and it usually happens when you’re in a rush and don’t have time to deal with it. Preventive action can save you some hassle and other than keeping your car in a heated garage, there is one old time precaution that still works today. Dip your car key in a jar of petroleum jelly and then insert it into the car door lock. Wiggle it just a bit to leave behind as much of the substance as possible. This will provide a protective coating from moisture which is the culprit that causes the freezing process. If you haven’t been proactive and find yourself with frozen locks, here are two things NOT to do: * Never pour hot water on the lock: Seldom will you find this effective. The tight seal and angle of the lock make it difficult for warm water to get into the mechanism. In frigid temps, any water can freeze quickly so you will more than likely just compound the situation. * Don’t force the key: The key can become cold very quickly and also quite brittle. Applying brute force can easily cause a break and you end up with a broken key in the door lock.
Now that you know what not to do, here are a couple of suggestions that may save the day. The quickest solution to unfreezing a car door lock is to zap it with some de-icing solution. This comes in an aerosol can with a nozzle shaped like a thin straw. You place the nozzle at the opening of the door lock and squirt some solution into it. Voila! Within a few seconds the frozen lock is moving freely. Before Old Man Winter comes to visit, buy some of this de-icing product and keep it handy. A slightly more rudimentary, but still effective method, is to warm up the key. Hold on to the key with an oven mitt or pliers and put a flame to it with matches or a lighter. Then quickly insert the key into the lock. It may take more than one attempt, but eventually the heat from the key will unfreeze the lock. With new car models now being equipped with remote heaters, this problem may soon be a thing of the past. Not to far in the future you should even be able to purchase used cars that provide this terrific winter option.