One of the most useful things you can learn, as a driver, is how to prevent car doors from freezing shut.
This problem has a high score on a list of the most nerve-racking problems. Seems like a simple one but it can be tough and time-consuming to solve.
In order to prevent this from happening in the first place, here are some tips that you can surely do on your own.
1. APPLY A SILICONE BASED SPRAY OR LIQUID ON THE DOOR SEALS
Silicone sprays and liquids are great for rubber seals.
It revives them, makes the rubber softer, and provides a protective greasy-like layer. Perfect for preventing ice build-ups.
They are widely available, aren’t expensive, and can be used for other things around the household.
The procedure is simple. Use the spray or liquid and go around all the door seals. Don’t forget the trunk.
- If you use a spray, don’t be stingy. Spray on a rich layer, apply a few times if you can. Much like if it was spray paint.
- When using a liquid, use a clean cloth and rub it around the whole seal. Just like with the spray, go around a couple of times.
It’s good to repeat the procedure during the winter season. For instance after a car wash or when leaving the car parked outside for a prolonged period of time.
2. LUBRICATE ALL THE DOOR LOCKS
To prevent the door locks from freezing best lubricate all of them on time, before the winter starts.
It will both keep the lock from freezing to some extent and lubricate the whole mechanism.
You can use WD-40 spray (which is the most popular) or an oil can with engine oil.
But perhaps the best solution is, again, a silicone-based spray. The greasy layer protects the locking mechanism for a prolonged period of time.
There are also liquids for this purpose but sprays are better as they can penetrate the door lock mechanism much better.
Don’t forget the trunk lock (if there is one).
However, if the doors do get frozen shut, you can click here and take a look at this article and use some of the tips to get out of trouble.
3. CLEAN THE DOORS SEALS
Before applying a spray or liquid use a clean cloth and some warm water mixed with dishwashing detergent and clean the door seals.
Over time a layer of dirt and filth form on the seal and if not removed, it may reduce the effect of the silicone spray or liquid. Even worse, if the dirt and spray get mixed up, it will attract filth even more.
If possible, apply the spray or liquid immediately after the door seals dry up so the rubber doesn’t get too dry and brittle.
4. REPLACE OR FIX WORN RUBBER DOOR SEALS
While you’re doing all the cleaning, spraying, and protecting, make an inspection of the rubber seals.
Check for any kind of tears or worn-out parts. The most common cause of damaged seals in the first place is actually a car door frozen shut.
Someone, in the past, may have forcefully opened the door and torn the seal in the process.
On older cars, there might be parts that have fallen off due to material fatigue.
Whatever the case, replace the seal as soon as possible. It’s a simple procedure that you can do on your own. It involves „ripping“ off the old and pressing in to place the new one.
Sometimes you can fix the seal using some spare rubber and proper adhesives. From my own experience, it’s good for minor damages. For bigger tears or holes, replacing is definitely a better and long-lasting solution.
5. DRY THE RUBBER SEALS AFTER A CAR WASH
When mentioning how to prevent car doors from freezing shut, this is the most common mistake drivers make.
You see, most people just wash the car, park it and leave. No drying or anything.
It’s not a problem if it’s inside a garage. But if not and there’s frost during the night, the doors will be as good as welded in the morning.
To prevent this, it’s good to open the doors after washing and dry all of the doors seals with a cloth. Besides this, the inner parts of the door should be dried up also.
After this, apply some silicone spray or liquid and the problem is surely prevented.
If you can’t do this, then at least leave the doors open for some time when you park the car. This way the water will dry up naturally.
6. DRY THE RUBBER SEALS AFTER A LONG WINTER DRIVE
When you park the car outside after a long winter drive, take a cloth and dry up the rubber seals and inner parts of the door.
This is because condensation may appear due to the temperature difference between the passenger cabin and the outside.
It appears as trickles of water between the seal and door which can easily turn into ice during freezing temperatures.
You don’t have to do this on all doors, just for the driver’s door and when the temperatures are seriously low or are going to be.
It may seem somewhat of a hassle but for a few seconds of work you’ll assure that doors won’t be frozen shut when you return.
7. CLEAN THE CAR FROM SNOW AFTER DRIVING
Make a habit of completely cleaning the car of snow and ice after a winter drive.
Otherwise, leftover snow and ice may continue to melt due to a warm passenger cabin, reach the door seals and freeze overnight.
Clean off as much as you can, especially the roof, doors, and door handles.
This tip is also useful when parking in a garage as there will less snow and water inside afterward.
8. PARK THE CAR IN THE GARAGE OR A CONVENIENT PLACE
This tip is pretty obvious but I’m mentioning it since a lot of drivers have the habit of leaving their car in the driveway despite the fact they have a garage.
An understandable habit to some extent. Parking in the garage sometimes demands extra effort and to some people is an annoyance.
But when the winter comes, getting in the garage may save you from trouble. A few minutes of parking means eliminating all the problems in the first place.
For people who live in apartments, with parking lots in front of buildings: try to find a parking space that has some protection (like between buildings, behind them, or else).
A few parking spaces closer or further may mean the difference between being able to open the car and the doors being frozen shut.
9. USE A CAR COVER
The next best solution if you don’t have a garage or shed.
All the ice and snow will remain on the car cover and prevent it from reaching the door seals and any of the locks in the first place.
Car covers also provide insulation from the cold to some extent. What’s also nice is that most of them are affordable and have their own neat bags for storage.
But surprisingly it is seldom used. I guess lots of people don’t like the fuss about putting it on and returning during the whole winter.
But the truth is if you have a car cover, you may not even have to learn how to prevent car doors from freezing shut in the first place.
You don’t even have to put it on all the time, just watch the weather forecast. If there’s snow or frost coming, put it on then.
10. CLOSE THE DOOR TO THE FIRST STAGE OF THE DOOR LOCK
Use this tip only if the car is parked in a secured place and protected from rainfall and snowfall. Also, make sure that the interior lighting shuts off so you don’t deplete the car battery.
Close the door until you hear the first click and leave it like that. On some cars, you can even lock it this way.
If you do this, even if ice appears, you’ll easily be able to open the door.
The downside is the security issue and that the passenger cabin gets colder. To add to this, some cars don’t allow locking and engaging the alarm unless all of the doors are properly shut.
Nevertheless, very effective tip and one with the least effort involved.
If you learn how to prevent car doors from freezing shut, you’ll certainly save yourself from things like sitting helplessly beside the car, having to call help, or waiting hours for the temperature to rise.
Protecting your car doors from freezing shut is an easy task, in most cases isn’t time-consuming and doesn’t cost much money.
The most important thing to remember for the end: use these tips on time, before winter comes.
As mentioned, preventing the whole problem from happening in the first place is the best solution.
Written by: Sibin Spasojevic
Former car technician, life-long car and DIY enthusiast, author for Despairrepair.com