PT Lock & Safe
PT Lock & Safe Blog

Cold Snap: How to Defrost a Frozen Lock

12/01/2024 frozen car door lock

With another cold snap predicted in the weather forecast, we thought it might be a good time to address a problem that can occur in deepest winter: the best way to defrost a frozen lock.  

Moisture can seep into a lock system that is exposed to the elements and then a sudden drop in temperature can cause the water to freeze and the lock to seize up. Thawing out the ice will free up your lock, but not every thawing agent is good for your lock and some may actually damage it. Let’s look at a few ways you might proceed if confronted with a frozen lock.

  • Breathe on it. When correctly directed, the warmth of your breath can often be sufficient to melt a few tiny ice crystals.
  • Warm up the key. Apply the flame of a match or a cigarette lighter to your key and then (using a gloved hand) gently insert it into the lock. Dipping your key in a thermos of tea might work as well.
  • Apply hot air. If the lock is within reach of a socket or extension cable, and you happen to have one to hand, you can plug in a hairdryer and use a blast of warm air to thaw out your lock.

If your car lock has seized in extremely cold weather, the breath trick hasn’t worked, and you have no heat or electricity source to aid you - there are a couple of items that you may have in your car that could rescue the situation.

  • De-icer spray. A couple of squirts of the same spray that you use to de-ice your windows on frosty mornings - one on the lock, one on the key - should help.
  • Hand sanitiser. The alcohol content in a hand sanitiser should cause the ice to melt on contact. We wouldn’t try this first, as sanitiser may contain other contaminants that could gum up your lock. But as a one off when there are no other options, working some of this stuff into the lock should solve(nt!) your problem!  

The golden rule here is to be patient and gentle. Never try to force the key into the lock or force a reluctant key to turn. If you are stuck outside in the cold a frozen lock that can be patiently defrosted is better than a broken lock or snapped key that will require a locksmith!  

That said, if you do require our services, we are always available for callout services in Norwich and Norfolk. Call 01603 812613 and describe your issue to one of our experts and we’ll see what we can do to help.