The car is 2012 VW Passat.

For a second year in a row, when it gets really cold, the passanger's outer door handle-mechanism freezes and I cannot open that door.

When I lock/unlock the car I hear a regular "click" sound that indicates that the lock mechanism seems to work fine.

Also, when I get into the car from the driver's side, I am able to use the inside door handle to freely open the passenger door.

Both a mechanic and dealership (without even looking at the issue) told me that it would cost $500-$600 to replace the door lock mechanism (the part alone is about $150-$250 if I am not wrong).

I do not believe that the lock mechanism is at fault here - and doubt that mechanic and dealer are there to help out on this issue.

The fact that the lock itself sounds fine, and the door does open from the inside tells me that the outer door handle mechanism seems to be the issue.

Question is, what would be the best method to treat this problem or at least further diagnose it?

WD40? Any other suggestions?

  • 1
    What happens exactly? You can move the outside handle just like it should, but it won't open the door? Does it feel like it would if the door is locked and you try to open it? Jan 17, 2019 at 16:19
  • There may not be a "fault" at all. I once had a car where the door itself froze onto the door frame in typical UK weather with above-zero daytime temperatures allowing water to creep around and then freeze overnight. The fix was simply to pour a kettle of hot water over the door to warm it and crack the ice.
    – alephzero
    Jan 17, 2019 at 16:36
  • @alephzero - The OP states it opens freely from inside the car. Jan 17, 2019 at 17:30
  • What happens when you pull on the handle? Does it move but door does not open or is the handle itself stuck in place? Are you 100% sure that this only happens in cold weather? There's a connection between the outside handle and locking mechanism that could break
    – Ruslan
    Jan 17, 2019 at 22:04
  • @alephzero thats how you would crack your glass and damage the paint. Also, I did mention that it is not the door freezing to the frame. Jan 18, 2019 at 15:52

1 Answer 1


My friend had an issue with his 2012 golf door handle. It would open from inside but not the outside one. Started happening when it was cold out. When pulling on the outside handle it felt like it was not connected to anything.

After bringing to the dealership they replaced the cable that went from outside handle to unlocking mechanism. There's a revised version that prevents water getting in and freezing on the cable.

You may have a similar issue. You said the handle does not retract, this may be a faulty spring as well as cable. Taking the door panel off would reveal mechanism for inspection

  • Thank you. Do you mean the cable has a revised version? Jan 23, 2019 at 4:18

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