A frozen door lock can be very intrusive when you are locked outside in the cold. Home security and the security of your vehicle make it necessary to lock your doors and in the winter months can lead to some drawbacks. Whether it is the car door lock that is the problem or the door to the house that has issues, the tips that are discussed will be helpful in both situations.
Tip #1 - Warm The Key
Use a lighter or a match to heat the key for the lock. Once it is hot slide it into the lock and wait a couple of minutes for the hot key to do its work. You might need to repeat this step a few times depending on how much solid ice has built up around the locking mechanism. It is also recommended that after you defrost your frozen door lock that you spray or apply a lubricant to the locking mechanism, in cars be sure to include all of the moving door parts as whole doors will freeze up as well not allowing you access no matter how hot you get the key or how hard you pull on the door handle.
Tip #2 - Blow Dryer
If you can get to your blow dryer or a neighbors plus an extension cord then this can be a decent way of heating up a frozen lock as well. You will need to put the dryer on the hottest setting. This will take a bit longer than the hot key since there is not direct contact with the frozen mechanism. However; placing the blow dryer right against the door lock and possibly trying to open the lock with a toothpick or other small device will help to decrease the time involved.
Tip #3 - Blow Torch
Using a blow torch can be dangerous if you do not know how to use one, however it does provide an alternative to heating the door lock. You will need to set the torch on the lowest setting and make quick swipes over the surface of the lock or the key. You can heat the key like with the lighter or you can heat the lock directly. You do not want to damage the paint or the door handle so do not keep direct contact for long periods of time.
Tip #4 - Deicer
Using a deicer for your frozen lock does not heat the lock but there is alcohol and lubricant in the mixture that will have the same effect as melting the ice off of the door lock. They include a small straw that you connect to the nozzle to get the chemical inside of the lock where it needs to do its work.
No matter which route that you take with heating your next frozen lock remember that you can do preventive maintenance on locks to keep them from freezing in the first place. Make sure that they are clean, use spray graphite and the key to clean the lock and lubricate it with a lubricant that won't freeze easily. Knowing these few simple ways to unfreeze your lock will allow you to be inside and in warmer weather before you know it.