Cold wind, icy roads and air so chilly it leaves you frozen in place like a popsicle. Who doesn’t love winter? When the temperature drops, we’re all just waiting to get inside the car so we can blast the seat warmer and thaw out. But what happens when it doesn’t open?
You’re not the only thing that can freeze in frigid weather. Your car lock does too. It only takes a small amount of water to freeze a lock up and prevent it from opening. It can happen both when your car has been sitting out in the freezing cold for a little too long, or you made the mistake of washing your car when the temperature dips.
Most of us don’t carry de-icer in our pockets or purse, so what do you do to defrost your lock and get into your car successfully?
Don’t Use Hot Water
Common knowledge may tell you to warm your lock up, so many think hot water will do the trick. It won’t. While hot water may successfully defrost the lock and allow it to open, it’s only a good trick in the short term. Boiling water can actually damage your lock and once the water cools, it will freeze your lock over again, furthering your problem.
Do Use Hand Sanitizer
While you may not have de-icer on you, many of us do carry one item that can help us get out of a frozen situation. Hand sanitizer. Yes, that’s right. The germ-killer you carry to prevent the common cold may just help you get out of another common cold situation. The ethanol and isopropanol alcohol that destroy germs also lower the freezing point of water, and can melt the ice inside the lock within seconds.
To defrost your lock, simply coat your key with hand sanitizer and insert the key gently into the frozen lock, but do not force it. The last thing you want is a broken key or lock or even worse, a key that breaks off inside your lock. If you’re struggling to get your key in, wiggle it around a bit until it gently slides in. Once in place, leave for 30 seconds and let the alcohol do its job. After the wait is done, just turn the key, open the door and get on your way in a toasty car!