I have a 2010 Ford Taurus SEL that I can not get into.

This morning while leaving for work I was unable to open my driver door and thought it might be frozen shut. I tried to get into the passenger door but no luck. After trying all doors and not getting in I noticed the doors were all still locked.

I pressed the unlock button on my key fob, thinking the battery might have died overnight, but the headlights flashed as expected (I couldn't hear the usual sound of the locks unlocking though), and then when pressing the lock button the horn sounded and headlights flashed, again, as expected. I could pop the trunk and use the panic button as well.

I could put the physical key inside of the lock but when trying to turn it, it was as if I was using the wrong key (I wasn't...), and the lock wouldn't budge at all.

I took a cab to and from work today and when returning in the evening the situation hadn't changed. The temperature has been pretty low lately (around -15C), and today was an especially crisp -20C with -35C windchill (though I don't think the car would be any colder than -20C). There was also an ice storm recently that covered the car in a half-inch thick sheet of ice. Could it just be the case that the locks are frozen, or is there something deeper going on?

I have driven it daily for a good 2 years now and I'm sure it's been colder than this. I replaced the battery in the fall and my new battery has fewer cold cranking amps than my previous battery (don't know the figures, and can't find out as the hood pops from inside the car), so could this also be a factor?

Anyway, I'm getting really frustrated with not being able to get into my car and I don't want to spend $20+ just to commute again. If anyone could tell me what the problem could be I'd greatly appreciate it!

  • May not be ice in the lock but the actuating solenoids...
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 18, 2020 at 16:23

1 Answer 1


you probably have ice in the lock of your car.

Fill some hot water in a plastic bag(as hot as you can hold your hand on)hold the plastic bag on the lock of your car for a couple of minutes to melt the ice,unlock the car problem solved.

Remember to lubricate the lock,use WD 40 or simmilar type of oil to get the water/ice out of the lock sylinder to avoid this problem in the future.

You can try to heat the key with a lighter but this is risky to do(let the hot key transfer the heat to the lock sylinder for a short time before you turn the key)when it is as cold as it is where you live this will not be an effective way to get into your car.

as mentioned in the comment the lock and the key will get weaker in the cold so do not use force when you turn the key.

  • 1
    Definitely sounds like ice. Be careful not to force the lock, you could snap something @xneonz. I did this to my car in -35C, so I had to crawl over my passenger seat for months until I could repair it.
    – GdD
    Jan 18, 2020 at 11:01
  • 1
    Just for the record, WD-40 is not a lubricant; its main use is as a solvent or rust dissolver. Lock de-icer would be a good alternative.
    – user16128
    Jan 18, 2020 at 14:47
  • 1
    @Jeeped I made the same arguement about wd40 on another post and got flamed... must be a wd40 rep around somewhere... but I agree with you.
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 18, 2020 at 16:22
  • it is water displacement formula #40 it is still an oil product :) it does probably remove water better than it lubricate,it is why i formulated the answer as i did(to get the water out). Jan 18, 2020 at 18:41
  • You're right, it was ice in the lock. I used a can of lock de-icer and carry it around at all times now. I still can't unlock my car from the key fob or using the automatic lock/unlock button on the doors, so I ave to use the physical key to get in and have to manually lock the doors when getting out. Just a nuisance now, so I'm hoping the temperature improves soon.
    – xneonz
    Jan 20, 2020 at 16:55

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