Does anyone know how to prevent locks on car doors from freezing? This is usually only a problem in older cars. I'm not thinking of solutions like WD-40 that really only work for a few days and then are needed again, I would like a more permanent solution if anyone knows of one.

  • I see nothing wrong with this question. Proper maintenance question, that is applicable to a wide variety of vehicles. Voted to reopen.
    – theUg
    Feb 8, 2013 at 5:58
  • Question isnt clear. Are you talking about ice build up inside the lock (where you put the key in), or doors just being unable to open due to being frozen?
    – timzilla
    Feb 11, 2013 at 1:59
  • @timzilla, pretty sure it’s about the locks (as per title).
    – theUg
    Feb 11, 2013 at 7:11
  • 1
    This is about not being able to open the door because the cylender has frozen stuck. Feb 14, 2013 at 14:20

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately, I think this is simply a consequence of living in colder climates. The only long term solution to this problem would be to somehow seal off the locking cylinder from condensation and the elements, which would be nearly impossible to do if the only method of unlocking the door is by physically inserting and turning a key.

A word of advice for readers: do not use WD-40 in your locks. Over time the residue that dries inside the lock will build up and the locks will get even tighter.

Common solutions for lock de-icing include:

  1. Lock de-icer. You can buy it in small cans similar to WD-40, or make it yourself (a mixture of warm water, isopropyl alcohol, and dish soap -- look online for recipes).
  2. If you need something in a pinch that works almost the same as lock de-icer, use hand sanitizer!
  3. Heated key lock de-icer. This is a battery powered device that rapidly heats a small metal rod that fits in the keyhole. They usually look like a key fob or a small rectangular box with a fold out metal rod. There are plenty to find on Amazon.
  4. Poor man's heated key lock de-icer: Use a lighter and heat up your key before inserting it into the lock
  5. Hair dryer on low (not a heat gun -- they get too hot)

Do not try to pour warm or hot water over the lock -- the water will seep in and just freeze again and you'll just end up making the situation worse.

As preventative maintenance, there are lock lubrication products (e.g. Houdini Lock Lubricant) that can be applied before the cold season starts that may reduce the likelihood of a frozen lock.

Disclaimer: Any of the above methods may damage your paint over time, so please be careful to avoid contact with the body of your vehicle.

  • +1 Hand sanitizer is a good tip. In theory, you could coat your key in the sanitizer and use that as the delivery mechanism for your adhoc lubricant.
    – Bob Cross
    Mar 8, 2013 at 16:45

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