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Frozen out of my car!

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by TeslaSinHR, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. TeslaSinHR

    TeslaSinHR Member

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    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    20 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 C) this morning in Hood River, Oregon after 2-3 days of heavy rain. No snow on the car, just frost on the windows and body. I started pre-warming the Tesla as I usually do. When I got out there I notice that the door handles took longer than usual to present themselves and the driver door wouldn't open. Didn't want to break the handles so I only pulled moderately hard. I tried the rear door and it opened OK but when I shut it, it wouldn't close all the way and when the window slid back up it hit the upper trim. Open and slammed it shut a few more times to line it up again. Driver door still wouldn't open from the outside. I entered through the rear door and tried to open the passenger side rear door using the inside handle. Nothing. I climbed into the driver seat from the back seat and tried opening the driver door from the inside. That worked!

    I unplugged the car and was getting ready to drive away and the dash alerted me that two doors were open - the driver door and rear passenger door. I went around to the outside and was able to push the rear door closed but the driver door wouldn't stay latched shut. Also tried opening and closing the windows. The driver window opened OK but none of the others. It appears that the "gasket/liner" was frozen to the glass. I could see that it was trying to open but the gasket/liner was moving with it and stopping it.

    At this point, I realized that the door and windows mechanics were frozen and I would just have to wait for them to thaw out. I plugged back in and cranked up the heat and just sat there waiting. The patterns of ice crystals on the windows were slowly melting starting from the top and moving down. After about 20 minutes things had warmed up and thawed enough that everything was working like normal again. Windows open and closed and all the doors opened and shut securely.

    I don't have a garage. I figure a lot of moisture got inside the doors during the previous days of heavy rain and then froze overnight. Not of my other vehicles - which are also parked outside - a Prius and a Dodge Truck - had the problem of doors being frozen shut. Lucky that we can pre-warm the Tesla from the outside.

    I am hoping that is just due to heavy rain followed by sub-freezing temps and that cold temps in general won't freeze me out of my car again. In the meantime, I'll pre-warm the car longer on especially cold days.
     
  2. DrComputer

    DrComputer Member

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    Another reason why frameless windows are not as good as framed ones.
     
  3. martinve

    martinve Active Member

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    It happens.
    Had this happen to me also with other cars. Locks are frozen solid. You open them once and they stay open.

    I bought myself a can of "unfreeze lock". It's just a mixture of chemicals that melt the ice and free the lock.

    Or start earlier with your pre-heat cyclus
     
  4. steve841

    steve841 Active Member

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    Is it inappropriate to find this situation funny as can be?

    Of course, I am in South Florida ....
     
  5. jhs_7645

    jhs_7645 VIN: #3305

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    Camas, WA
    Agreed, it's a total pain in the rear, sounds like every car I've owned. I once got stuck at work for 1/2 hour because I couldn't open any of my 4Runner's doors (freezing rain). I had to borrow somebody's ice scraper (mine was, of course, locked inside my truck) and chisel away at the handle and frame for 1/2 hour before getting in.
     
  6. Park2670

    Park2670 Member

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    My previous job I had to lock the lot when I left. The padlock was so frozen from the snow, that I had to sit in the lot for 30 minutes with the heater on full blast in my car to thaw the lock enough to snap closed and lock the gate. I havent had the experience of being locked out of the car though.
     
  7. Andrew

    Andrew Model S #6151

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    Santa Monica, CA
    Next time, maybe try lowering all the windows with the key fob? Press and hold the top/middle button... If they actually open, you can then reach in and try each door handle from the inside without having to climb around. :)
     
  8. Zextraterrestrial

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    I am only in Humboldt and I had that happen after rinsing my car off at night before 30 degree weather..well not as dramatic but my driver door window was frozen to the seals
     
  9. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    Not funny - that's really unfortunate. If I may suggest, park it close enough to a 120V outlet that you can get a hair dryer or better, a heat gun - which is nothing more than a heavy duty hair dryer - to work its hot air magic quickly to those seals, etc. Make sure you don't throw a heat gun on its "high" setting, or you will be having an unfortunate discussion with your auto insurance company....

    For those padlocks and other items NOT attached to a car, a propane torch will work more quickly, and is more portable.

    Those chemical de-icers mentioned above also work; they do (always, I am pretty sure) contain denatured alcohol so it is possible they can do unfortunate things to paint and rubber - be warned.
     
  10. jomo25

    jomo25 P4398

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    Makes up for some who might laugh at our scorched fingers. :smile:
     
  11. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    These things happen. Years ago I got frozen out of my Toyota Corolla. It had been sitting in the office parking lot and it was covered in ice. I wasn't the only one, either; none of us could get into our cars. It took two of us to force my trunk open so I could retrieve an ice scraper. Was eventually able to chip my way into the driver's door, and got the car warming up, then went to help my neighbours.

    In a similar situation with the Model S last winter I simply used the remote app to turn the cabin heat on, and waited. The car melted its way out and I just hopped in and drove off.
     
  12. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    Spray Silicone along driver's window seal including glass above seal. Do this every month during winter.

    Spray WD40, a moisture displacer, into door latch mechanisms. Do whenever, once a year might be enough.

    Rub parafine wax over rubber door seals, or just blast with silicone spray.

    Credit card helps remove ice from bottom few inches of driver's window glass, enough for window to drop down so the door can open and, more importantly, CLOSE. Pull gently on door handle, just enough to get glass moving downward but not enough to open door. May take a few times to get the glass moving that critical ~1 inch of travel.

    Keep scraper in hatch since hatch door usually works ok. Last resort: climb in thru hatch and drive to destination. By then enough of the ice will be gone so normal function returns.
    --
     
  13. TeslaSinHR

    TeslaSinHR Member

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    Thanks for the tips @wycolo! It doesn't usually get this cold here.

    18 degrees this morning and I was frozen out again. Everything did eventually thaw out. The biggest problem now is that the driver door won't latch shut - hopefully the WD40 will do the trick.
     
  14. Luder94

    Luder94 Member

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    Here in Chicago-area, we deal with similar issues. I've replaced numerous rubber seals/gaskets due to them freezing to glass, metal, etc.

    A few years back, a detailer gave me the tip to 'moisturize' the seals with Shinu-Etsu grease every Fall. I found it from Honda; it's pricey for a small tube of grease, but works WONDERS! I've also noticed less 'greying' of the seals in summer since using that grease.
     
  15. vgrinshpun

    vgrinshpun Active Member

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    I had doors in an ICE car get frozen to the body of the car and rubber seals several times. I was always able to crack ice by gently but firmly pressing on the door. Under the pressure rubber gaskets compress, allowing the door to car body gap to narrow, cracking the ice in the process. With Model S frameless windiows this can be done as well, but one should be very carefull to apply pressure on the glass first, as close as possible to the top channel, and then on the door.
     
  16. NoMoGas

    NoMoGas Member

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    Fear not my friend, I had the EXACT thing happen to me on a rental Chevy Traverse. In really cold weather I would strongly recommend pre-heating the car.
     
  17. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    For the 1st and 3rd (and 2nd if you like), can you provide some links to products you recommend (or just use)? Thanks.
     
  18. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    When I was in college I had an old beater with a driver's door that often wouldn't stay latched in the freezing weather. I used to tie it with a rope across my lap to the passenger door handle after I got in. I used to get some weird looks when the rope would stretch and the door would open a couple of inches on corners!
     
  19. anthony

    anthony Member

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  20. Mark Petersen

    Mark Petersen Model S EU P71

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    Hørsholm, Denmark
    well I also had a simular problem

    I was the last to leave work, got into the car, started it, and went outside to clean the windows, while it was heating up (-15c)
    but when I was done and wanted to open the door, it was locked
    what had happened was the lock pin was frozen, when I had open it there was enough slack in the lock to allow the key to open the door, without unlocking it
    I then has to stand in the frezing cold next to my now nice and hot car for 2 hours, waiting for AAA to come by and jimmi the pin
     

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