Yes, winter really is on its way to the Philadelphia area, even if it hasn’t really felt like it lately. The weather is finally cooling down, with colder temperatures just around the corner; however, since the weather is still nice and temperate, now is the time to get prepared! Get your winter gear out of storage, if you haven’t already; winterize and stow away your lawn mower; take the time to seal up any drafts around your home; and prepare your vehicles for the freezing temperatures that are coming. After all, preparedness is the best way to prevent disasters from happening. Of course, there are some things you can’t always prepare for. Trying to get into a car door that has been frozen shut can be a difficult endeavor. Don’t let accidental damage mean you need to call your local auto locksmith. Start with these steps:

Prepare for Freezing Temps

First and foremost, one of the best ways to avoid frozen car doors and locks is to take measures to protect your vehicle. If you have a garage, take a weekend to get organized so you can actually park inside. Or, if a garage isn’t an option, invest in an insulating car covering. It’s not something that will keep your car warm, but it will generally provide enough protection to keep your doors free of ice.

Post-Freeze Steps

If your car door does actually freeze shut, it’s important to know what to do, as some of the most instinctive ideas can actually cause your car more damage than you think. For instance, don’t grab a mug of boiling water! The drastic difference in temperature can shatter glass and wreck your car lock. Instead, use lukewarm to cool water, which will still melt the ice but is much less likely to damage your vehicle. Here are some other ways you can unfreeze a locked car:

Start With Some Pressure

Sometimes, if the ice isn’t all that thick, a gentle shove to your car door will be enough to break the ice around your car door and the handle. Don’t push hard enough to dent your door, and be sure to only push on the metal of the door, not on the glass.

Scrape Away The Ice

If you’re like most, you probably keep your ice scraper safely inside your car, which is unfortunate because this is a good way to scrape away the ice around your car lock. If you don’t keep one inside the house, a spatula or a plastic card would also work; however, be careful if you use a bank card, as the ice can damage it. An old hotel room key would be a better option.

Heat The Car

If you have a remote start option, start it up! The warmer temperature in your car is often enough to heat your car and crack the seal made by ice. If not, a hair dryer is another good option for warming the ice—assuming you have an extension cord. However, if you go the hair dryer route, be sure you’re running it on low or medium heat and never staying in one area too long. As with the water option we mentioned above, too much heat in one spot combined with the ice cold next to it can crack and shatter glass.

Heat The Car Key

You can use your car key as a makeshift ice pick, but this comes with a couple of big warnings. Running a lighter over the tip of the key then pushing it at the lock can help you break through the ice enough to disengage the lock and open the door. However—and this is a big however!—do not try this method if you have a transponder key. The heat from the lighter could damage the components inside the fob. Also, only try this if your key has a plastic coating on the handle, as an all-metal key will conduct the heat straight up to your hand.

Of course, accidents happen, and that’s what your local auto locksmith team is here for. If you are looking for car lock or car key replacement in Philadelphia or the greater Philadelphia area, contact Top Notch Locksmith today to get quick professional help!