How do you unfreeze your car door?

I live in New York State and feel like I fight with my frozen car door at least once a week during winter. What’s the best way to unfreeze a car door?

R.E. Fulton · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
As a fellow New York state resident, I completely understand the struggle. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to help unfreeze your car door and keep it from happening again.
Here are some ways to win the battle against your frozen door:
  • Push on the door as hard as you can without denting it to break the ice around the door’s seal.
  • Chip away at the ice using an ice scraper, spatula, or credit card to break the seal around the door.
  • Pour lukewarm—NOT hot—water over the rubber seal to melt the ice and open the door. It may take a few rounds, but never use hot or boiling water—you could risk shattering your windows!
  • Use a hairdryer to melt the ice.
  • Start the car remotely if possible and allow the car to warm up, melting the ice.
  • Apply hand sanitizer to a frozen-over car door lock and wiggle your key in and out to dislodge the ice.
  • Use a commercial de-icer as directed. Just don’t forget it in your car before going inside!
To prevent having to fight your car door again:
  • Cover your car with a vehicle cover or tarp.
  • Close a plastic trash bag in the door so the door and frame don’t freeze together.
  • Use a rubber conditioner, silicone spray, or even cooking spray to protect the rubber seals.
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