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How to Keep Door Locks From Freezing

A door lock. Prevent frozen door locks with these tips.

If you live in a cold climate, this will sound familiar: You’re just on time for work, a meeting, a date, but when you go to put your key in the lock of your car door, it won’t go in — it’s frozen. Now you’re going to be late, and with a lame excuse to boot. Here are some tips on how to keep door locks from freezing.

Protect Your Car From the ElementsCar door lock

If you have a heated garage that you’re using to protect those boxes you never unpacked from the last move instead of your car, it’s time to organize that garage and make some room for your vehicle. The absolute best way to avoid frozen door locks is to keep your car from getting wet and cold. Even a carport provides some protection, so if there’s one available, take advantage of it.

Another good idea is a car cover. It offers year-round protection for your car’s finish, brightwork and glass. There are some that will get the job done for not much money, and several that are sized to fit your vehicle specifically.

Prevention Hacks

If none of the above works for you, we can move on to weird tricks from the internet. The best way on how to keep door locks from freezing is to put something in there that won’t freeze, but also won’t gunk up your lock, like greaseless lock lubricants. And rust inhibitors like WD-40 work by pushing water out and preventing more from coming in. Spraying either of those into your door locks before it gets down to 32 degrees should solve the problem. We’ve even heard of people dipping their key in petroleum jelly and then turning the lock back and forth a few times. That coats the insides of the lock, repels moisture and lubricates the inner workings. Don’t forget your trunk lock, too.

If It’s Too Late

Car door lock already frozen? Don’t worry, there’s a fix for that, too. A small tube of de-icer and lubricant is probably the best choice. Look for one that won’t hurt your car’s paint.

Don’t wait for the first freeze — a little preparation now will prevent delays in the future, helping you get on your way in a nice, warm car.

Check out all the safety products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on cold weather maintenance, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photos courtesy of Mike Hagerty.


Mike Hagerty View All

Mike Hagerty is an automotive journalist whose work has been featured on radio, TV, in print and online since 1997. He's the Publisher and Editor of, and contributes car reviews to the Los Altos Town Crier and Previous outlets have included KFBK and in Sacramento, California, the ABC television affiliates and Hearst-Argyle and Emmis radio stations in Phoenix, Arizona; AAA magazines for Arizona, Oklahoma, Northwest Ohio, South Dakota and the Mountain West and

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