Getting into frozen car door locks?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by BigChris99, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. BigChris99

    BigChris99 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    273
    Location:
    In 5th gear... looking for 6th
    My daughter is going to college in eastern Iowa, gets pretty

    cold there in the winter. This is her first year having a car out there. The car is a '99 Toyota Camry. We had to remove

    the after market car alarm that came on the car, too many problems. So, she has to manually unlock the doors on her

    car, just like most of us did when we were kids. Being from southern California we are not too experienced with freezing

    temps. So what is the best way to either keep locks from freezing, or getting into a car that has locks that are frozen?

    I suggested she keep a lighter in her purse to warm up her key. Good idea?? You guys that deal with this every winter

    must have some things to do or not to do to get her through an Iowa winter.
    #1
  2. this is a RV

    this is a RV Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    379
    Location:
    Festus MO
    Deicer spray for her bag too.
    #2
  3. VStromTom

    VStromTom Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,579
    Lived in SD for 4 yrs, never ever had a problem with frozen locks on any car I had while there. Sleet, snow, rain/sleet, -20, doubt she will have a problem. Cars did not have remote door locks, always had to use a key. The lighter idea is probably a decent one.
    #3
  4. cchoc

    cchoc Outdoor Photographer

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    203
    Location:
    Land of Grits and Gravy
    I used to live in Kansas and used a lighter on my key, worked fine. Not sure about the newer keys with chips, though.
    #4
  5. ragtoplvr

    ragtoplvr Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    6,724
    Location:
    central USA
    Silicone spray the door gaskets, keep a small container of lock deicer, that you will likely never use.

    Rod
    #5
  6. mcma111

    mcma111 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    13,104
    Location:
    San Francisco,Ca.
    Get some powdered graphite and lube up the lock cylinders. Do all of your vehicles and the house while your at it. Work the graphite into the cylinder/pins with the key.
    #6
  7. BigChris99

    BigChris99 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    273
    Location:
    In 5th gear... looking for 6th
    Great ideas guys, thanks. I'll pass them along to her.
    #7
  8. Jimusma

    Jimusma JimUSMA

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Albany, NY
    +1 on the decider spray. About the size of a lighter or a lipstick. She'll probably never need it, but nice to have.
    #8
  9. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2010
    Oddometer:
    11,926
    #9
  10. troidus

    troidus Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    16,354
    +1 on silicone spray on the door seals (and other weatherstripping, hood, trunk, and door stops, hoses, etc.--just not belts or controls).

    Tell her not to wash the car if it's going to drop below freezing that night. Also tell her that if one side is iced over from freezing rain, the other side probably isn't as bad and she might have better luck getting that door open. And tell her not to try to roll down the windows if they're iced up or she'll break the regulators or tear up the rubber. Make sure she gets a good ice scraper and a snow brush--they do not have to be the same device, but some of the combined units are decent.
    #10
  11. P B G

    P B G Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    10,001
    Location:
    Greater Chicago
    I went to the University of Iowa, never had my locks ice either.

    I think the only times I've experienced this were vehicles that were parked outdoors, then inside somewhere warm/heated, then back outdoors... Which I never did in college.
    #11
  12. BigChris99

    BigChris99 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    273
    Location:
    In 5th gear... looking for 6th
    Thanks, but she's in her Jr year at this school. Really likes it, and she's National Honor Society for her first two years.

    She has a full ride academic scholarship. Pretty entrenched there. Likes the small town too. Except for the winters!
    #12
  13. BigChris99

    BigChris99 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    273
    Location:
    In 5th gear... looking for 6th
    That's good the hear, her car stays outside.
    #13
  14. FlyingFinn

    FlyingFinn Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,129
    Location:
    Los Gatos, CA
    Such a sob story :cry :cry
    A college kid has to drive a 99 Camry. With no power locks!! Where's the justice!! :lol3

    Silicone on gaskets, good.
    Oil in the lock cylinder, good.
    De-icer to get a frozen lock (there was no oil) to open, good short term bad long term.

    Prevention really is the key here.
    Oil the locks and silicone the gaskets, that way the won't be problems with freezing.
    Using the de-icer get her out of the pickle at that moment but the de-icers also tend to flush out any trace amounts of lubricant from the lock cylinder.
    Then it freezes even worse.

    --
    Mikko
    #14
  15. D.T.

    D.T. Difficult but useful

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Oddometer:
    12,106
    Location:
    Moneyapolis, MN
    I never tried to spray the door gasket, that is a good one.

    Only time it happened to me was after washing the car when it was below zero out. :lol3
    #15
  16. BigChris99

    BigChris99 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    273
    Location:
    In 5th gear... looking for 6th
    Um........ Didn't really mean to get sympathy,just advice.

    Maybe I just don't get it.
    #16
  17. dougfromindy

    dougfromindy I smell premix

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,344
    Location:
    Indpls, IN Lexington, MI
    If you are stuck , a teapot kettle of hot water will thaw and open a car door.
    Also keep a bottle of blue washer solvent handy on porch , this you car pour on a frozen door seal and get right into car.
    The next step is to make sure moisture is out of lock tumblers with some wd40 first , then follow up with silicone spray. Make sure rubber door seals are dry them spray then down with silicone and wipe with a clothe , do all seals in car and also spray the side window wipers, this prevents windows from freezing shut and makes power windows function improves= less friction.
    Last resort , dump a big hot coffee on the lock and it will get you in.
    #17
  18. BigChris99

    BigChris99 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    273
    Location:
    In 5th gear... looking for 6th

    All good. Thanks. Living in sunny SoCal, I had no idea about all this stuff. Now I know, and soon, so will my daughter.
    #18
  19. dougfromindy

    dougfromindy I smell premix

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,344
    Location:
    Indpls, IN Lexington, MI
    just buy blue washer solvent by the case at a discount.
    If you get a freezing rain storm the car can be sealed in ice and sometimes scraping the ice off is pretty tough.
    The blue solvent has alcohol in it and it really makes thawing out a breeze.
    Also change the cars thermostat out for a 195 degree unit.
    This makes car warm up quickly and crank out the heat, it means car will be ready to go in 5-10 minutes vs 20-30 minutes.
    You will get good heat quickly.
    Use a 70/30 mix for best freeze protection 70 percent antifreeze ., 30 percent water.
    Winterize car, things like plugs, wires, coolant , new battery.
    Drop $200 into car each fall, much better than being stuck in Jan with really cold temps and a no-go car.
    #19
  20. redprimo

    redprimo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    571
    Location:
    central coast of California
    I spent a few winters in Flagstaff and never had a problem exept for once after we had freezing rain. I got the door unlocked but couldn't get it open. I was tryng to head out of town and decided to postpone my drip, smartest decision I ever made. There was a huge pile up on the interstate due to the ice. That brings me to my one piece of advice, Some times the safest part of driving in the snow is knowing when not to drive.
    #20