How to Keep Car Doors from Freezing Shut During Winter

vehicles parked in the sideway on a winter

Most cars just can’t handle extremely cold temperatures especially when parked outside. From a dying battery to frozen car doors, the winter season gives many car owners a lot of hassles. Fortunately, just like other car lockout situations, there’s something you can do about frozen car doors. Here are tips on how to keep car doors from freezing shut and what to do if they’re already frozen. 

How to Keep Car doors From Freezing Shut

Having your car doors frozen shut during the cold season can be a headache. Spare yourself from unnecessary inconvenience by following these five useful tips:

Tip 1: Inspect your doors

Check the condition of the rubber gasket that forms a seal between your door and the frame of your car. Make sure it is not torn or damaged in any way to keep moisture from leaking in as this might freeze during winter. This frozen moisture can seal your door to the frame of your car and lock you out. If the gasket has any holes or tears, consider replacing them with new ones. 

Tip 2: Clean and lubricate the gasket

If your gasket is in good condition, make sure it stays clean and lubricated. Dirt and debris prevent your car door from sealing shut, causing water to accumulate and freeze. Use a microfiber cloth and damp it with warm water to clean the gasket on your car’s frame as well the door itself, remove any debris, and dry them completely. 

You can also apply lubricant to the gasket to prevent cracks and tears. This will also help hold off moisture, which is responsible for most frozen car doors.

Tip 3: Put duct tape over your door lock

This simple tip applies the same principles as the rubber gasket. By putting duct tape over the door lock, moisture cannot enter the lock and it stays dry. A dry lock helps keep car doors from freezing shut. Also, be careful how you place the duct tape as it may cause damage to your car’s paint. 

Tip 4: Apply rubbing alcohol to car keys and door locks

Rubbing alcohol can act as a de-icer and help prevent freezing. Apply rubbing alcohol to your car keys and door locks using a paper towel and reapply at least once a week to maintain effectiveness. 

Tip 5: Cover it up

Keeping your car indoors is the simplest way to make sure your car doors don’t freeze shut. However, if you don’t have a garage, you can at least try to cover the door that you will be getting into. Find a cover (preferably a vehicle tarp) to keep snow and rain from your car doors. This offers an extra layer of protection during extreme weather conditions.

How to Open Frozen Car Doors

There are several ways to open a frozen car door. If your car door is frozen shut, stay calm and follow these simple instructions. We’ll help you get back on the road with these easy steps: 

  • Hot key method. If you have older car models that use an actual key and ice has formed around the locking mechanism, using this method might help. You need to heat the metal part of your key with a match or a lighter. The heated key will melt the ice as it makes its way through the keyhole. You may need to reheat the key several times before you can completely defrost the locks.
  • Remote start method. If you have a newer car with a key fob and remote engine start functionality, it will be a lot easier. Just use the key fob to turn on the ignition and allow the heat from the vehicle to defrost the door. This approach may take several minutes, but it will get the job done. 
  • Push door method. You need to break the layer of ice that is keeping your car door frozen shut. To do this, gently push or lean over the frozen car door until the ice breaks loose. You don’t need to apply too much pressure and push hard as you might risk causing a dent in your car. 
  • Ice-scraper method. Sometimes the ice is so thick that pushing on the frozen door won’t cut it. If that’s the case, you can use an ice-scraper. The thin edge of the ice-scraper allows you to break the ice between the front and back door frame. You should be able to open the door once the ice on that part of the door breaks.
  • De-icer method. There are many de-icing products for vehicles you can buy or you can make one yourself. Use two-thirds rubbing alcohol and one-third water and spray it on the car surfaces to melt the ice. If you are to use a commercial de-icer, follow directions carefully and avoid getting the product on your clothes or skin. 
  • Warm water method. Another approach to defrost the ice is pouring a bucket of warm water over the areas around the door frame. This should melt most of the ice almost immediately. Then use the push door method to break apart any remaining ice and open the door.


Driving during the winter season can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. You might not be able to stop winter from coming, but at least you now know how to keep car doors from freezing. And if your car doors do freeze, you already know what to do about it. As a car owner, remembering these tips can help you get through winter without worries. 
If by any chance your car door still won’t open even after following the instructions or any car lockout situations you may encounter, Neighborhood Roadside Assistance offers fast and reliable car lockout services. Give them a call if you’re locked out of your car anywhere in New Jersey or New York and let a professional open your door for you.