Dealing With Frozen RV Door Locks, Doors & Windows

As refugees from the frozen north, snowbirds escape winter at home by migrating southward each year.

However, some RVers, either by choice or by circumstance, end up living in their RVs in cold weather areas.

Petroleum jelly or Vaseline can melt the ice. Dip the key into the Vaseline, then insert it into the lock. (Photo Source: Accuweather)

Petroleum jelly or Vaseline can melt the ice. Dip the key into the Vaseline, then insert it into the lock. (Photo Source: AccuWeather)

Winter’s bitter winds can freeze RV door locks, doors, and windows. Use these quick and easy tips to deal with the ice.

Frozen Door Locks

Nothing can be more frustrating than finding your RV door locks frozen.

Frozen Door Locks: Prevention

Dip your key into Petroleum jelly or Vaseline, put it into the lock, and turn the key back and forth a few times. Repeat this to make sure the Vaseline is well-distributed onto the parts of the lock.

Frozen Door Locks: Solutions

Do not try to force a frozen door open. This can damage the rubber seal around the door. (Source: Life Hacker)

Do not try to force a frozen door open. This can damage the rubber seal around the door. (Source: Life Hacker)

Petroleum jelly or Vaseline: Petroleum jelly or Vaseline can also be used if you find the lock already frozen. Dip the key into the Vaseline, then insert it into the lock. Once in the lock try to wiggle the key. Do not force the key to turn; this could result in breaking the key off in the lock. If this does not work right away, repeat the steps three or four more times, then wait for five minutes.

Deicer: If you find the lock already frozen, spay deicer into the lock.

Heat the key: An effective option in severe ice conditions is to heat the key. This method usually offers a quick fix. Hold the key with an oven mitt or gloves with the toothed tip over a lighter or match, then insert it in the lock. The heated key inserted into the lock should melt the ice. If the key is made of only metal, you can heat the key while it is in the lock.

Do not try this with keys that have plastic at the top.

Spray deicer into the lock. (Source: NearSay)

Spray deicer into the lock. (Source: NearSay)

Hair dryer: As a last resort when all else fails, you can use a hair dryer. Warm the lock with a hairdryer or your own breath. This method is less effective, but worth a try if no other options are available. A cardboard tube placed over the frozen lock will help direct the air. Keep trying for several minutes, especially if you do not have a tube or if conditions are windy. When using this method, you can put the key into the lock to help direct the heat.

Lock Lubricant: Experts tend to have differing opinions about lubricant choices, but some options are recommended more often than others. Use only one of the following options per lock, since a mix could easily gum things up. Options include graphite lubricant, Teflon-based lubricant, WD-40, and rubbing alcohol. Since there’s little consensus, use as a last resort.

Frozen Doors: Prevention

Do not try to force a frozen door open. This can damage the rubber seal around the door. (Source: Picjumbo)

Do not try to force a frozen door open. This can damage the rubber seal around the door. (Source: Picjumbo)

To help prevent your door from freezing shut completely clean the door frame and rubber seals with soapy water and thoroughly dry. This should remove road debris and other detritus that can build up over time. Water can collect around the dirt and freeze the door shut once the temperatures drop.

Apply a rubber conditioner or rubber care product over the rubber seals with a clean cloth. Use 303 Protectant or other non-petroleum based product. This will repel water, reducing the amount that enters the seal and freezes.

Frozen Doors: Solutions

So how do you go about defrosting your RV? (Source: Conversation)

So how do you go about defrosting your RV? (Source: Conversation)

If you have not treated the doors and find them frozen shut, try these steps to unfreeze them.

Do not try to force a frozen door open. This can damage the rubber seal around the door.

While wearing gloves, hit the ice with the palms of your hands, and remove the ice as it breaks.

If this method does not work, you can use a hair dryer to melt the ice. Be aware that excessive heat will damage the exterior paint.

Frozen Windows

The simplest solution to frozen windows is to wait until the RV interior warms up. The ice should then melt shortly.

If your RV is equipped with power windows, do not keep pushing the button. If you force the window down, you can damage the motor, and this could be expensive to repair.

Worth Pondering…

Forecast for blowing snow and freezing rain…. sometime in the future, but not today! What a beautiful day!

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