There are many different reasons that you might find the lock on your car door has become stuck. There may be dirt or ice inside the lock; it may have broken or it might simply need to be loosened slightly. It will inevitably happen at a moment when you have no time to spare and this can be extremely frustrating. The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to call out an emergency locksmith or a mechanic to come and help you out, indeed you might be able to solve the problem yourself.
Jammed in the cold
If it is very cold outside then the most likely cause of a jammed lock is ice. Use a hairdryer or a cup of hot water to warm up the lock and then try again. If this doesn’t work then chances are there is something more seriously wrong with the lock and you will need to try alternative methods. First you should try to lubricate the lock itself. Sometimes the individual tumblers in the lock can get stuck up against each other and simply need a bit of lubrication to help them to slide past each other. Spray lubrication is the easiest to use as you can aim it directly through the keyhole. If it doesn’t work the first time, try to wiggle the key in the lock to see if that helps the tumblers to move. Repeat the process if necessary.
Remove the door panel
If neither of these methods work, then it is time to take more drastic action. You will need to remove the door panel itself in order to take a good look at the internal mechanism of the car door. Remove all of the hidden screws and clips and disconnect any parts which are holding the panel to the door. Next, use a torch to inspect the lock cylinder to make sure that all of the tumblers are correctly aligned. If you have power assisted locks then you should also inspect the engine to check it is working properly as there could be an electrical fault. You will be able to tell if the electronics are the problem by disconnecting the engine from the lock and then trying to turn the key in the lock. If this works then you will know that the key and the lock are both fine but the motor needs replacing.
Call a friend
If none of these methods shed any light on the problem then it is time to call in a locksmith. They will have the expert knowledge necessary to diagnose and fix the problem in next to no time at all.