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One of the most tiresome chores on a winter morning is de-icing your car windscreen, but for many, what’s even worse is when your car door is frozen shut. Sometimes the door handle is frozen, sometimes the rubber door seal is frosted shut to the body of the vehicle, and other times the ice is holding the metal of the door to another part of the car.
Whichever part of the car is frozen closed, the one thing you should not do is to try and pull the door open.
Graham Conway, managing director at Select Car Leasing, has shared some solutions on how to safely unfreeze a car door which could save you from an unwanted, broken car door handle.
Try the door on the other side
Graham said: “The quickest and easiest option is to carefully try another door on the vehicle.
“The problem could be that one side of the vehicle is exposed to more shade, and the other exposed to more sunlight, making the other side less likely to be frozen.
“If you can get in another way, start the engine and get the fans going – the warm air inside the car will help thaw the frozen door.
“If you’re in a rush to get going, climb over to the driver’s seat if you are able to, but only start driving once it’s safe to do so, which includes having defrosted windows.”
Push the door
Instead of trying to jam the door open with force, shove the door instead. Shoving the door might crack any ice that’s holding the door in place.
Put your hand flat on the door and lean against it rather than slamming it shut.
“This is much better than trying to pull the door open, as pulling with too much force can pull off the handle, damage the inside mechanisms of the door, or damage the rubber door seal,” Graham said.
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Scrape off ice
If the handle is the only part of the vehicle that’s stuck, scrape off the ice on the handle with a scraper to remove it.
Graham added: “If there’s ice all around the door and holding the door stuck, then slowly remove and scrape as much ice and the edges as possible.
“Once this is done, push the door in to try and crack the remaining ice and then pull.”
Car owners can use hot water – not boiling- to melt the ice in the affected area.
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However, it should be noted this is simply a short-term solution because once the water cools, it will freeze over the existing ice making the problem even worse.
Graham warned people not to make the water too hot and to dry wet surfaces to avoid more ice forming.
While bottles of chemical de-icer are usually sold for clearing windscreens, they can also help with a stuck door or lock.
The chemicals in the de-icer will break down the ice that’s stopping the door from opening.
How to stop it from freezing
Graham said: “Unfortunately, aside from uprooting and moving to warmer climes, the cold can’t be stopped, but there are ways to stop your car door from freezing.
“The easiest way is to park your car somewhere sheltered like a garage or carport.
“If that’s not an option, a car cover can provide enough protection to stop your car from icing up.”
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