How to Safely Thaw Frozen Doors, Windows, and Locks

It's only been a few weeks, but winter weather has been fierce this year. Multiple storms have left Ontario under a thick blanket of snow, and many residents have to be extra cautious in their daily commute.


As the weather gets worse, many individuals may find themselves stranded. Not because of an accident on the road or because of power outages during ice storms. Rather, they find themselves locked out of their cars and homes due to frozen doors and locks.

So what can you do this winter when your door refuses to budge or your key can't get past the lock? Try the following techniques.

Frozen Doors
As you get ready to travel to work in the morning, you come outside only to realize that your car doors have a thick layer of ice around the edges. Grabbing the door handle and yanking with all your strength not only puts you at risk for a pulled muscle, but it also damages your car door.

Instead, you'll want to lean into your door and apply pressure to the edges of the door frame. This will help break the ice around the seal, so you can enter safely.

If pressure isn't enough to break the ice, you'll want to try a commercial de-icer on the door. Spray the de-icer along the edges of the frame where the ice is thickest. It may take several minutes for the de-icer to melt away enough ice for you to enter, but it is also one of the easiest methods for safely thawing a door.

No de-icer on hand? Use an ice scraper or small hand tool (a butter knife or even a credit card works well) to chip away at thicker layers along the frame. If you're at home and have access to a blow dryer, hook it up to an extension cord and try warming the door.

Many car owners also recommend melting the ice with warm water. However, keep in mind that if the temperatures are cold enough to freeze your door shut, it's unlikely that the water is warm enough to penetrate the deeper layers of ice on your door. Any water that does make it deep enough may freeze again, making the situation worse.

Frozen Windows
Perhaps you scraped your windows thoroughly this morning. You managed to get into your car doors just fine, so you weren't rushed on your way to work. You have a few extra minutes to check the mail. You pull up to your community mail box, only to realize that the windows refuse to roll down when you push the button.

Do not keep pushing that button! The window is likely frozen to the weather strip on the outside of the car. If you continue pushing the button, you may strain or even damage the window motor. The window motor can be expensive to replace, so you want to take care with how you break the ice.

Much like a frozen car door, you can thaw a frozen window with a variety of methods. A de-icer can be effective, and you can break up the ice by inserting a plastic credit card between the window and the weather strip. But the easiest way to thaw frozen windows is to turn on the heat inside your car. As the interior heats up, so will your windows.

Frozen Locks
If your doors or windows have frozen shut, chances are also likely that your door lock has frozen as well. Although many car door locks do a fairly good job of keeping water out, moisture and condensation can still find their way into the delicate locking mechanisms.

As with car doors, you should not force your key into the lock, as this could damage your key and your lock. Instead, use a commercial de-icer to unfreeze the lock. Spray the de-icer into the lock, wait a few minutes for the ice to melt, and you're good to go.

But de-icers can be expensive, and if you happened to leave your de-icer in your glove compartment, it won't do you much good when you're stranded outside.

Fortunately, if you don't have access to a de-icer, you can also use a lighter, match, or hair dryer to heat your key for a few seconds. You may need to heat the key, insert it into the lock, and repeat the process a few times before it melts the ice, but eventually it will safely let you into your car.

If you don't have access to any of these items, you can even try thawing the lock with your own body heat. Press your hands against the lock for several minutes, and keep your key pressed against another warm area of your body. When the lock and key are warm enough, you can try inserting the key into the lock. Keep in mind that this technique may take a while, but it can work during an emergency.

Help! I'm Still Locked Outside
While these techniques can help you break up most of the ice, cold temperatures can still wreak havoc on your car door and locks. In some cases, to avoid damage to your car or home door, it’s better to call in a professional locksmith in the Markham area.

For a reliable locksmith in Markham and surrounding areas, call 905-477-7618.

If you’re located in or neighboring North York and in need of a locksmith, call 416-497-4566.

If you’re located in the Aurora area and find yourself in the need of locksmith services, call 905-953-6161.


Affordable Lock is a locksmith in Markham serving the Greater Toronto Area, including Scarborough, Aurora, North York, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Stouffville. With over 30 years of experience, we pride ourselves on looking after your commercial or residential locksmith needs. Affordable Lock’s showroom in Markham showcases a wide selection of keys, locks and an assortment of other security products for your home or business. Whether you are looking to upgrade your home or business’s security, or solve security issues, Affordable Lock Services Inc. in Markham is here for you! Give us a call today.

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