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If you live in Michigan, you know how brutal it is when the temperature drops, and you may notice some changes in your door and car locks. Cold weather can affect locks adversely in a number of ways. Let’s take a deeper look at how weather can affect locks and how you can help prevent adverse effects from happening.

Main Cold Weather Issues

There are two common reasons for locks to have issues in cold weather. If you live in a region where below-freezing temperatures are the standard from fall to spring, you most likely have experienced these issues.

Lock Contraction

When temperatures get well below freezing many materials tend to contract, metal objects are one of these materials. When it comes to the precision construction of locks this can pose issues such as keys not being compatible with locks due to the internal mechanism contracting past the minimum tolerance.

This cold contraction can also cause jamming in some cases, which will cause failure when you try to lock or unlock any outside doors or car locks.

Ice Issues

Outdoor locks that get exposed to cold air, or moisture in the air such as fog that then freezes can cause serious issues for locks as well. Many times, this can be a solid coating of ice over the exterior of the lock which needs to be removed in order to use the lock.

Other times the lock itself can freeze up from the inside, causing expansion due to the excessive water or moisture freezing and completely freezing up your locks from the inside.


There are a few simple and fast solutions that may help with your frozen locks.


When it starts to get cold in the fall a good way to prevent lock freezing is to use a lubricant that specializes in preventing moving mechanical parts from freezing. These lubricants will prevent moisture from freezing in the first place and keep your locks working smoothly.


Preheating your key for your lock can help with minor freezing issues, and in some cases warming a key in your hand or pocket may be enough to transfer heat to the lock and allow it to be used. You could potentially use a lighter as well, but be sure to do it quickly, heating it very little to prevent burning your fingers from the metal heating up too much.

Professional assistance

Those are the easy solutions, for locks that have been misshapen due to expansion your best option will be to seek help from a professional locksmith. Calling a professional will also prevent you from accidentally damaging the locks even further or the door itself.


  • Regularly oil your locks – make sure to oil your outdoor locks such as car locks, door locks, garage door locks, or any other used outdoors locks to prevent freezing.
  • Moisture prevention – try to prevent your locks from getting rained on when conditions are likely to freeze again, this will keep the internal mechanism free of moisture.
  • Warm and dry padlocks – remove outdoors locks from time to time, dry the locks out to remove all moisture, and prevent future freezing.


Frozen locks or locks that are damaged due to freezing can range from a minor inconvenience to survival depending on the severity of the weather and your location. Be sure to take the necessary precautions before freezing becomes an issue, and if you do have issues consider calling in a professional locksmith.

The cold Michigan winters can take a toll on your locks and doors. Action Locksmith can help with your door lock problems, door repair, and much more. As a family owned and operated business for over 30 years, our dedication and hard work has made us one of Michigan’s best locksmith companies around. We provide residential locksmith services as well as commercial locksmith services, automotive, home safes and much more!

Call us today to learn more about how our locksmith company can help keep your home and business secure!