How to Get Frozen Car Doors Open

Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Ellen Christian

Living in rural Vermont, I’ve had to deal with how to get frozen car doors open more times than I can count. We don’t have a garage so our car sits in the driveway right out in the snow, sleet, and freezing rain. It doesn’t take a lot at -15F for your car doors to be stuck closed. And, dealing with frozen car doors is the absolute last thing I want to do at 7 AM when it’s below zero outside.

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How to Get Your Frozen Car Doors Unstuck Quickly

How to Get Your Frozen Car Doors Unstuck

Before we get into what does work to get your frozen car doors unstuck, let me tell you what NOT to do. Do not under any circumstances pour hot water over your doors.

This will crack the paint or your windshield and ruin the finish on your car. Ask me how I know this. I know it’s frustrating. I know you want your car doors unstuck as quickly as possible. But, don’t.

You may want to consider calling a car lockout service to see if they can help. They have experience with different types of door locks.

How to Get Your Frozen Car Doors Unstuck

How do I unfreeze my car?

OK, the first step is to make sure that NONE of the car doors will open. If it’s only the driver’s side front door, then simply crawl into the car through another door and shove against the driver’s side door until it pops open.

That may seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many people fail to try the other doors. If the car is entirely encased in ice, carefully use an ice scraper to pick away at the ice around the seal of your door until you can get it to open.

Then, push on the door rather than tugging on the handle. Tugging on the handle may break it.

Frozen car door hack

One of the easiest ways to get your frozen car door unstuck is to start it remotely. Then, just let it run for a few minutes until the car warms up.

That should loosen the doors enough for you to open them. If you cannot start your car remotely, a de-icer spray should help.

If you don’t have a de-icer spray and cannot get one quickly, try a blow dryer with an extension cord. Use it to heat up the seal around the doors until you can open it.

You can also try lukewarm water. But, as I mentioned above, never use boiling water. Always keep de-icer for car doors on hand just in case. I keep one of these in my bag for my frozen locks at all times.

How to Get Your Frozen Car Doors Unstuck

How to prevent car door from freezing

Hopefully, one of these methods has worked to get you back into your car. Now, to stop it from happening again, just try this trick. Using a cloth with a bit of WD-40, rub the door seal until it is completely coated.

While you’re doing this, be sure to check and make sure it’s in good repair. If it’s not, take time to make an appointment to have it fixed. Door seals that are in poor condition are more likely to freeze.

Check out this basic car maintenance for women.

How to Get Your Frozen Car Doors Unstuck

How do I unfreeze my car windows?

If you want to unfreeze your car windows without as much scraping, just fill a spray bottle with one part water and two parts rubbing alcohol. Spritz the windows and then use a scraper to scrape off the ice.

It will come off much quicker than before. Want to stop them from freezing in the first place? Spray your windows with a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water.

Looking for more winter car tips? Check out this car emergency kit that I keep in my car and learn how to prepare for winter driving.

5 thoughts on “How to Get Frozen Car Doors Open”

  1. one thing I do for frozen windows is to take a credit card,or the like, sliding it between the rubber and the glass. this will separate them.
  2. Using the WD40 to keep the seals from re-freezing is a great suggestion. Using your remote start . . . not so much. First you have to have a remote start, then the heater has to be on, and so forth. Another item, I have a scraper . . in my car! Warm water and alcohol; excellent coupled with "pushing" is another great recommendation. On balance, good article. Several methods and one will likely work for all the different situations people could be in. Thanks

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