car door frozen shut

How To Open a Car Door That’s Frozen Shut?

This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and buy, we may receive a small commission (at zero cost to you). Please see our full disclosure policy for details.

When winter comes or on a night when the temperature falls below zero, you may likely find your car parked outside with the doors frozen shut. This can be very frustrating when you’re rushing somewhere, only to find that you’re stuck outside your car in the cold, because your doors won’t budge. 

For all the car owners, this article will not just be talking about why your doors get frozen, but we will let you in on some helpful tips for opening frozen car doors and how you can avoid them in the future. So, let’s dive right in, shall we?

Why Do Car Doors Freeze?

The most obvious reason why car doors freeze is that the temperature has dropped to the freezing point. In such extreme weather conditions, thin layers of ice can easily find their way into the space between your car door and the car’s body. Other things could cause your car doors to freeze.

Leaving your car parked outside without a cover, instead of parking in the garage will make it easier for frost or ice to seal your doors. Also, if your car doors have bad seals around them, water can easily get in and freeze the handle and latch mechanism, keeping your door shut.

If you find yourself in a situation with a frozen door, your best plan of action should involve getting your doors open without any damage.

There are different techniques to solve this problem. Depending on things like how long your car has sat out in the cold, some techniques might be more effective than others. We have highlighted a few that you will find helpful.

How To Open a Frozen Car Door?

  • Push Against the Door Before you Open it

For this technique, the first thing to do is to unlock the doors. In the winter, your remote unlocking might not be as effective as it used to, and you might have to press the button a few times. You could simply turn the key in the lock if it’s not frozen to be sure the doors are unlocked.

After the door is unlocked, push against the outside of the door, but not too hard to cause damage. After that, you can try opening the door, but don’t force it. This quick technique may be more effective if the ice on your car hasn’t frozen too hard yet.

  • The Warm Water Trick

It is no new information that heat gets rid of the cold. If you discover your car doors are frozen shut, a container of warm water could be your remedy.

Simply get some hot water in a container, and then pour it in a steady stream over the ice until it starts melting off. After that, you can try unlocking the car doors and pushing and pulling carefully till it opens. A word of caution though: DON’T USE BOILING WATER (It could shatter cold glass).

  • Use an Ice Scraper

For the winter conditions, most drivers usually have an ice-scraper. The ice scraper can be used on ice settled on the outside of the vehicle, but it cannot be used for gaps between the doors and body, or the locks. But ice scrapers can also damage your paint job and other bodywork, so you should be very careful when you use them.

An ice scraper would be perfect if the ice is visible at the door edges. All you need to do is scrape off the ice, and then try the push and pull movement. This should work with thin sheets of ice or fresh ice. If it doesn’t work, you can always switch between techniques. 

  • Chemical De-Icers

Chemical de-icers are purpose-made chemicals that can be used to remove ice from car surfaces and other spaces. To use, spray onto the frozen part and wait for the time noted in the directions. Once the ice has melted off, you can try to open the door gently.

car door frozen shut

How To Prevent Your Car Door From Freezing Shut?

Here are a few of the ways you can prevent your car door from getting frozen:

  • Protecting the Vehicle from Elements 

One of the surest ways to prevent your car door from freezing is to ensure that the car is kept away from the elements. Weather effects have a way of causing your car door to freeze. Ice, snow, rain, fog, and frost are all freezing conditions that can affect your car gate and cause it to freeze. Ensure you protect your car from being affected by these elements and conditions.

To do this, you should avoid parking your vehicle in the open. Once you observe the weather is getting grim and winter is getting closer, make sure you park your car in the garage. This way, you won’t leave your car to stay outside all night, exposing it to low temperatures that often come with freezing winters. 

Alternatively, you can make use of a car tarp or a cover. As much as possible, you should reduce the amount of rainwater, snow, or ice that precipitates on your car and penetrates through the window section.

  • Clean of the Door Frame 

Regular cleaning of your car door will prevent it from freezing. Dirt and debris accumulation can cause your door to freeze. Allowing dust to remain for a long period on your car and car window can also enhance the chances of the door freezing. Dirt and dust deposits often create a gap in your car, leading to the window freezing shut once there is a drop in the temperature.

  • Apply a Defensive Fluid 

This is one of the best and easiest preventive ways to keep your car door from freezing. All you need is to get a soothing fluid to cover the door rubber gasket. A rubber conditioner is considered the best fluid to cover a car door. You can also use a silicone lubricant or WD40. While the rubber conditioner is durable, the silicone lubricant or WD40 is mild, affordable, and easy to find around.

  • Rub Alcohol on The Lock

Another method to prevent car door freezing is to use alcohol rubbing on your car lock. Don’t forget what freezes shut is the lock, not the door, so if you apply alcohol to the lock, it’ll prevent freezing. Apart from rubbing alcohol, you can also use petroleum jelly.

Final Thoughts

Winter may seem to have a thing for freezing your doors shut, but there are several ways to remedy that. Did you find our techniques helpful? Let us know what you think, and share any tips of your own. Also, if you feel like the situation is beyond you, reach out to a professional. Let a professional carry out a diagnosis on the rubber gasket.

Similar Posts