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Raduprv

How to open frozen car doors?

26 posts in this topic

Is there any trick on opening car doors that are frozen inside? We can't get in the god damn car (Ford Taurus 2001), all the doors are frozen. And we don't have a remote start either.. Is this something normal, or we are just unlucky? [Edited by - Raduprv on January 6, 2005 8:10:14 AM]
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I've usually just been able to pull really hard and the ice will break...

(we often make a conversation about it later...*yuk yuk yuk*)
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Original post by Raduprv
Is there any trick on opening car doors that are frozen inside? We can't get in the god damn card (Ford Taurus 2001), all the doors are frozen. And we don't have a remote start either..
Is this something normal, or we are just unlucky?

Your locking mechanism is probably frozen over. Do not splash hot water on your car. The thermal stress can cause your windshield or door glass to break. Use a hair dryer to heat up your key, or dip it in some rubbing alcohol. If the key turns but the door still refuses to budge, you'll have to go more drastic. You can also try rubbing some salt on the rubber around the door jamb.
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You can also get special "key-oils" (dont know the exact english word) for frozen locks, in spray boxes.
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Breath onto/into the lock hole, try to make the ice melt or get breakable enough.

Seconded Jesper T: Buy anti-freezing spray, you'll know you want to
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If the lock is frozen, then heat up the key.
If the door hinges are frozed, a hairdryer might work but never tried it. Just be careful you don't break the door handle off if you try to force it open.
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I have a thingy on a keyring that has a thin metal probe (like a flat-ended knife bladed, just not sharpened that when slid out heated up. Great for my bike lock [grin]
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Doors being frozen is a regular occurrence after an Ice-Storm here in New England.

Lock-DeIcer will work well with frozen door locks, but most times, it's the door that's frozen to the car and not the lock. One way to try an break it free is to use one hand on the door handle lifting up on the handle (to "open the door") and then try to pry and pull the top of the door (by the door seal) to try and free it. (usually doors freeze by the top door seal). Remember not to pull at the handle too much or you'll break it - pull the TOP of the door (if you can get fingers in at seam)

Alcohol will sometimes help melt the ice around the doors as well, also what works good is windshield washer fluid (since that is basically alcohol too).

A good way to prevent your doors from freezing is to (no lie) spread vassoline on the door seals. The oil will help dispel the water that freezes.

Hope this helps - I know first hand how much it sucks to be frozen out of your car on a cold winter night!

Roach
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I don't think it's the LOCK that's frozen but the door frame itself. Anyway, it warmed up a bit and we were able to force it open. But now we can't get to work because it's started to rain, and the temperature is very little above 0C, so we don't really want to drive in freezing rain.

Anyway, about the hairdryer thing, we don't have such a long extension cord. Are there preventive ways so this shit with the doors won't happen again?
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Original post by Roach
Doors being frozen is a regular occurrence after an Ice-Storm here in New England.

Lock-DeIcer will work well with frozen door locks, but most times, it's the door that's frozen to the car and not the lock. One way to try an break it free is to use one hand on the door handle lifting up on the handle (to "open the door") and then try to pry and pull the top of the door (by the door seal) to try and free it. (usually doors freeze by the top door seal). Remember not to pull at the handle too much or you'll break it - pull the TOP of the door (if you can get fingers in at seam)

Alcohol will sometimes help melt the ice around the doors as well, also what works good is windshield washer fluid (since that is basically alcohol too).

A good way to prevent your doors from freezing is to (no lie) spread vassoline on the door seals. The oil will help dispel the water that freezes.

Hope this helps - I know first hand how much it sucks to be frozen out of your car on a cold winter night!

Roach


Thanks, for the tips. I'll try the vaseline thing!
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Original post by Raduprv

Anyway, about the hairdryer thing, we don't have such a long extension cord. Are there preventive ways so this shit with the doors won't happen again?


A good way to prevent your doors from freezing is to (no lie) spread vassoline (or some other type of oil-based lube) on the door seals. The oil will help dispel the water that freezes.

:)

I personally don't like the hair dryer idea - Snow/ice + electricity = shocking experience.

Roach
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Original post by Raduprv
I don't think it's the LOCK that's frozen but the door frame itself. Anyway, it warmed up a bit and we were able to force it open. But now we can't get to work because it's started to rain, and the temperature is very little above 0C, so we don't really want to drive in freezing rain.

Anyway, about the hairdryer thing, we don't have such a long extension cord. Are there preventive ways so this shit with the doors won't happen again?


We just got hit with freezing rain. I knew it was comming so I bagged up my front windows and sealed up the door frames with the bags as well. The doors still stuck a little from the cold but a little tug got them open. Last year the cold broke the inside handle. So now I have to roll down the window and open it up from the outside to get out.

A car cover would be something worth getting. Would work better than bags, and be quicker to set up. You just crack the ice a bit, take it off, and your set.
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Original post by Perfunction
can you go in through the trunk? lol


lol I've done that once actually! I didn't want to pull too hard on the doors but the back hatch of the SUV opened perfectly fine, so I just climbed in, popped the seats down, and made my way to the front :)

After doing it I realized that I could have most likely just pulled on the door and wouldn't have had a problem.
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Use your body's built-in defroster! Just make sure you wash your hands before you eat anything...
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Just move to a warmer climate. Down here we don't even need salt on the roads :)

(Actually, I used to live in Pennsylvania, lock deicer works well, and if the door was frozen i would just yank it open... )
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Heh, I ignore the danger concerned with hot water, and go ahead and use that. Just really slowly, not tons of it all at once. It's always worked for me. Maybe I'll get screwed over sooner or later, though... :-/
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Original post by Agony
Heh, I ignore the danger concerned with hot water, and go ahead and use that. Just really slowly, not tons of it all at once. It's always worked for me. Maybe I'll get screwed over sooner or later, though... :-/

The thinner your glass and the more evenly you spread it, the better this will work -- there will be less of a heat differential from one side to the other because the heat can transfer more quickly. I wouldn't try it on your iced-up windshield though, since windshield glass tends to be thicker. Nonetheless, it's still not a great idea, since glass doesn't hold up well to thermal stress.
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forcing the door to open can rip the elastic joints apart, or damage them. It's gonna cost $$$ to replace them.
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Quote:
Original post by kSquared
Quote:
Original post by Agony
Heh, I ignore the danger concerned with hot water, and go ahead and use that. Just really slowly, not tons of it all at once. It's always worked for me. Maybe I'll get screwed over sooner or later, though... :-/

The thinner your glass and the more evenly you spread it, the better this will work -- there will be less of a heat differential from one side to the other because the heat can transfer more quickly. I wouldn't try it on your iced-up windshield though, since windshield glass tends to be thicker. Nonetheless, it's still not a great idea, since glass doesn't hold up well to thermal stress.
In fact, scientists have shown that the temperature of the tongue is optimal for melting ice frozen to a car. Liberal application of your tongue should do the trick.

I'm Tron3k and I endorse this message.
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Get a large plastic bag that you can fill with scorching hot water (like a hot water bottle or the kind you bring camping), fill it with scorching hot water, and press it up against the door. Use you body weight to keep it in place. This will raise the temperature of the door and it will eventually melt the ice.

Throwing loose hot water on a door is generally a bad idea. When it gets really cold, the water will just freeze in place and you'll be even worse off.
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I don't think that hot water is practical unless you can get a hose spitting hot/warm water continously at the car. Like others noted, small quantities of really hot water might damage the car.
As for putting the water in the bottle and pressing it against the car doors, this is not really practical since you have to know exactly where the ice is holding the door, and it might take a lot of time (which sucks, if it's really cold out).
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