(NEWS10) — You wake up the morning after an overnight winter storm. Snow and ice have fallen and you walk outside to find your car door frozen solid. You don’t have time to wait for the sun to thaw the ice, so what do you do?

Here are some ideas to safely and quickly open a car door that is frozen shut.

  • First, try some good old elbow grease. Give the door a bang around the perimeter to try to break the ice.
  • Grab your ice scraper to chip away any ice along the door seam. If you don’t have an ice scraper, and stiff plastic object will do the trick. Stay away from metal, as you could risk scratching your car’s paint.
  • Gently pour lukewarm water over your car’s frozen lock or door frame. Do NOT use boiling water, as the temperature difference could shatter your car window. Be sure to dry the door off after it’s open to prevent re-freezing.
  • Use a hairdryer and an outdoor safe extension cord to melt the ice around the door frame.
  • Some auto shops sell de-icing spray

Here’s how you can help prevent your doors from freezing shut in the first place:

  • Cover your car with a tarp or other cover to keep shielded from the elements.
  • Shut a plastic bag in your car door before the winter weather hits to keep the door from freezing shut.
  • With a rag, rub PAM cooking spray, WD-40, or even Vaseline, on the door seal and the door frame.