I used WD 40 to "de-ice" my truck locks

My driver and passenger doors on my 2004 Chevy Silverado were frozen after a cold, icy, windy night. I used WD-40 to unfreeze them. After discussing this with my co-workers, I had three different answers… One person stated that I should clean out the WD-40 the best I could and use graphite in my locks. The second person suggested that I use a alcohol-based propellent such as a de-icer and then treat my locks with a silicone. The third did not see any problem with the WD-40. My problem is this- the next time it ices up I am unsure on what I should do. I shouldn’t have too many more days of icing up as I will be able to park in a garage in about two months (new house). Until then, what should I do?

I have purchased a can of compressed air, a tube of graphite, and a alcohol-based lock-deicer. I still have plenty of WD-40 around as well!

WD-40 Works great. Can also be sprayed around any door seals that want to stick shut in cold weather

Id stick with the WD-40 it cleans and lubes

Thanks for the advice…
I used WD 40 for 10 years on my Ford Taurus and did not have any problems. However, my co-workers seem to think the WD 40 will cause a build-up of gunk in the lock.

The WD stands for water displacement. Ideally it should keep the licks from re freezing in the first place.

Graphite is the best lube but WD-40 shouldn’t harm anything.

I just shoot them with WD 40. They say to use graphite but I never have. Afraid it would make a mess. The main thing is that you don’t want to gum it up with oil or anything.

I have heard folks on this forum state that WD-40 should not be used in locks.
However, last year, I had a master locksmith doing some work in my house, and I asked him this question.
His response was that WD-40 is fine to use in locks.

But, he advised me to stay with one product, rather than switching back & forth. He is of the opinion that using both WD-40 & graphite will “gum-up” a lock, but that using just graphite or just WD-40 is fine.

Although it is a rare occurrence for me, I have dealt with frozen locks with a cigarette lighter. Repeatedly heating the key and inserting it into the lock has always gotten the lock free. Of course, the latch is another issue and broken handles often result from impatience.

I have heard folks on this forum state that WD-40 should not be used in locks.

WD-40 is NOT a very good lubricant. That’s probably the reason why NOT to use for locks.

HOWEVER…it is designed to remove water (WD - Water Displacement)…this makes WD-40 an excellent choice for frozen locks.

"One person stated that I should clean out the WD-40 the best I could and use graphite in my locks. "

This is the best advice. Not that WD40 isn’t OK short term, but graphite, a dry lube works best. WD40 will attract dirt and gum up over time if the solvent evaporates quickly in heated areas later. it’s a petro product. You would not put oil in the lock for the same reason as over time it could cause problems. Initially it seems to do the trick, but not a long term solution. Ask a lock smith. Use a deicing compound that evaporates then apply graphite to the key and work it into the lock. I do believe that a combination of wd40 and graphite could be the worse as VDC alluded to.

If you’ve ever taken a lock apart to free up frozen tumblers, they have five or so round brass tumblers with springs that need to freely move up and down. I just have a hard time seeing how dry graphite will coat those tumblers in the cylinders, let alone prevent the oxidation that freezes up the tumblers. Maybe if you took them all apart and coated them first, but from my pinewood derby days, you had to mix the graphite with alcohol to be able to get the graphite to stick on the axle. Just spraying the dry lube on did no good. On one lock I tried to free up, I had to just plain eliminate one tumbler because it was so badly corroded. Just don’t see how spraying dry graphite in the lock would have prevented that.

Also ‘‘off label’’ for WD40,

Use WD40 to ‘‘wake up’’ old guitar strings between replacements.

WD40 tends to attract dust,
dusty WD40 gets gummy,
so a periodic cleaning will be needed for the locks.

I hear you Ken…that makes WD40 the self fulfilling perpetual cleaner. It must clean up after itself.
Bing…I don’t know how spraying anything can reach all the parts of a lock. I don’t see the comparison between axles and lock use.

Is CRC-556 still available? It was available long before WD-40 in my neighborhood. Both products will eventually dry to a gummy film but a quick spray revitalizes things. And I have seen a very small spray bottle available that is labeled to be a lock de-icer. I found this commercial but the brand name is not the product in local stores. It’s probably WD-40…

Well I guess I have a choice to make… either keep using the 40 or use an alcohol based de-icer followed up by the graphite treatment. Maybe I will test graphite in one door and WD 40 in the other…

I’ll try that de-ice link again.

I guess you know now that it really doesn’t matter what you spray into a lock cylinder as long as it isn’t water. People at work will tell you anything. Just try not to take random advice too seriously. After all, you don’t know which one of them is making it up.

My father has been proven right on most all things.  However since he was a locksmith, I tend to take his advice when it comes to locks. 

NEVER oil a lock.  Oils tend to evaporate and end up a sticky mess that attracts dirt. Locks are designed to work dry.  

 WD-40 is great stuff, but not in locks.  It will create problems.  Also most de-icers are almost as bad.   They both (WD-40 and de-icers) tend to fix the problem at first, but in the long run will only make it worse.  Once you get a lock clean, you can use some teflon based produce or a graphite based product.

 WD = Water Displacement.  It is nothing more than a light weight oil. 

 It reminds me of the plumber and the little old lady. After several letters back and forth he finally said "Don't use the acid, it eats the hell out of the pipes.   She caught on at this point.

Joseph - Everybody knows that drain cleaner is alkaline and not acidic.