CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

How to Get a Frozen Gas Cover Unstuck

I know this may seem simplistic (or that I’m suffering from a lack of imagination), but the latch-release gas cover to my Subaru Outback became frozen solid and will not open (at least while the temp stays below freezing). I’m on my own – which means I don’t have a partner, who could hold the inside latch up while I tried to pry the cover open. What would you suggest as the best means to break in? Try to de-ice the cover with warm water? Or warm water mixed with something that will withstand sub-freezing temps but that isn’t corrosive? Or maybe I should just prop the in-car latch open, then try to pry the cover open?

At last a use for that 12V hair drier you got for Christmas,(the one with the long cord).

A pot of warm water or a blow-dryer should do the trick…Then, move to a place where sane people live…

Can you stick something under the lever to hold it in place? Also, have you tried prying at the door much? It could be that the thing is unlatched now, but the door is just frozen shut in which case some careful prying and perhaps some sort of heat source should do the trick.

It appears the consensus is that warm water and a good lever should do the trick. Thanks to all of you for your help/input. I’ll see if I can get this sucker unstuck without further ado.

You could park it with the gas cover in direct sunlight. A hair dryer could work in about five seconds. Don’t park in shade unless you have to.

is there any troubleshooting info in your car’s manual?i had the same thing happen with a new beetle.there was a way to pull the latch open by yanking on the cable,accessable through an interior side panel in the trunk.

I am loving my semi heated garage(mainly by engine). This AM it was 8F outside and nice 40F inside my garage.

On our Subaru I have my wife pull the lever and bump the door gently till it breaks free.

It happened to me while I was on the road one time . . . I bought a large coffee at McD’s . . drank it, then went into the restroom and let the hot water run 'till it was as hot as it would get . . . filled the large coffee cup with hot water and then slowly poured the hot water on the gas door. Shazam! Opened right up. One more thing . . . get some hand towels from the restroom also . . . and dry the water from the door, inside and out . . . as best you can. The lubricate the moving and sitcking parts (when you get home) with a silicone spray or whatever you find will lube sitcky parts. Rocketman

“get some hand towels from the restroom also”

That is–IF you are lucky enough to find a McDonald’s (or any other fast food joint, for that matter) that actually has paper towels!

Most places nowadays have those ridiculous blow dryers that take so long to work that you are forced to give up and dry your hands on your pants leg.