Skip to content

The winter lets freeze door locks

Author: Marius Timmer

Winter is coming

Photo of the front of my car shortly after I got it
My silver Audi 80 B3 (Manufactured in 1989)

In mid-December, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that winter is dropping the temperatures, and it freezes again at night. As a Audi 80 driver the first thing you notice is that the roads are slippery. Then, if you have a car without ABS in the case of a braking, even good winter tires are no longer much help. With summer tires it would be (of course) much worse, but from various braking processes I can tell that the wheels will stand still even when slightly braking and one you quickly stand in the middle of the intersection instead of on the stop line.

When I wanted to drive to work this morning, I quickly realized that I couldn’t get into the Audi. Not only streets get slippery in winter, but door locks freeze. In the past, I could get frozen locks relatively easily and quickly with my breath warm enough so that the door could be unlocked again. However, today that wasn’t enough.

Does a lighter help?

Since we heat with fireplaces at home, I often have a lighter in my pocket. I tried to heat the metal of the key with it and thus be able to use the lock again. But in my opinion, this is anything but an optimal solution. On the one hand, I have to be careful that the key doesn’t get too hot so that the plastic handle comes off, but on the other hand, it still has to get hot enough so the lock in the door warms up enough. I tried it once, but was unsuccessful.

The water boiler always helps

So I came back to the method that always works: The water boiler. Just went home again, briefly warm up water (but do not bring to a boil) and then with small cool down phases again and again let the warm water run over the lock from the outside. Of course, you have to be careful here, too. If you pour boiling water over your door, don’t be surprised if the metal or paint doesn’t take it so well. In my case, the handle itself is also made of plastic, which additionally speaks against pouring 1.5 liters of boiling water over it. At least if I plan to still use the handle afterwards.

After this small (but actually also widespread and well-known) “life hack", the door could be unlocked easily, and I could continue to scrape the windows free. And no: I didn’t do that with the water, of course. I’m not quite that stupid. Assuming that the glass windows would survive this undamaged, they would freeze within less than two minutes. And more solidly than before.