What to do when your car key doesn’t work

Ipswich Auto Locksmith

If you live in Suffolk where winter temperatures regularly drop below freezing with some quite harsh frosts, chances are that you have had to deal with a frozen car door lock.

With less than 10 weeks to go until November and winter starts setting in, here are PSM Locks top tips for getting into your car if your locks have frozen due to icing.

First thing to do is remain relaxed and don’t panic. There are many solutions for unfreezing a car door or boot lock or gaining entry when your locks are iced up.

Try the other door

Go round to the other side of the car and try getting in from that side. Often one door lock is more frozen than the other one. Do not force the key in the lock as you can damage it. Once you are inside and have warmed the car up a bit then you can open the drivers door. You can even try getting in from the back if you have a hatchback and you are willing to clamber over the seats.

Heating up your key

If the key wont go into the car door lock then try heating your key up, Obviously only heat up the metal part of the car key so you don’t damage the fob. This works best with older style and motorcycle keys. Use something such as a lighter to apply heat to the key for around 10-15 seconds. This may well heat it up enough to melt the ice. If it doesn’t go first time don’t force it, heat again and then try. Leaving the heated key in the lock for a while can make it easier to turn by melting the ice.


Sometimes applying heat with a hairdryer can heat a lock up enough to melt the ice. Apply the hot air for around 2-3 minutes. Don’t be tempted to use a hot air gun as you will end up with damaged paint, seals and trim. Do not use electricals with wet hands either.

Have a can of De-Icer

Always keep a separate bottle of de-icer in the kitchen, don’t just have one in the car as its next to useless if you cant get in to get it. If your car door lock freezes its easier to pop under the sink and then go and spray the de-icer than it is to panic about not being able to get at it in a locked car. Try not to use de-icer on locks repeatedly as the chemicals can cause damage to car door locks by washing away oils and damaging electronics as well as attacking the mechanisms. Heat is generally more successful than deicer as its unfreezes the core of the lock where liquids cannot always penetrate.

Pour on some hot water

Bring the kettle out and pour it on your door lock and then insert the key before the water refreezes. In the UK you probably have several minutes before this happens. The hot water should be enough to release the lock.

If all else fails

If you still cant get into your car then you may need to call an auto locksmith such as PSM Locks as there may well be another problem such as a damaged lock or a key fob transponder failure. At PSM Locks we have all the skills and equipment needed to get into most vehicles without causing further damage – we are non destructive vehicle access specialists and one of the highest rated Auto Locksmiths in Ipswich and Suffolk.

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