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Heat will not help and can damage the door lock mechanism further.
You can try lubing the door lock, but I do not thing it will help. I think there may be something wrong with the mechanism, or you will get the same problem from outside and inside.
If the door is opening from the inside , then the door lock mechanism My still be working. On VW the outer handle is connected to the lock by a steel wire, or by a metal shaft.
To access the door lock you need to remove the internal door panel.
The door panel is held by hidden screws located on handles and by a set of clips located behind the panel near to the panel border.
I have service manual for several VW models, I will see if I can find the manual for 1995-1997 Passat and I will eventually send the diagrams to undo the door and access the lock.
remove the inside door trim and remove the weatherproof plastic that covers the holes in the door behind the trim.
You should have access to the door handle nuts and rods to remove the handle.
re assemble in the reverse order and make sure the weatherproof plastic is put back on and sealed or your door may let water enter the car via the door
on this car there should be a black strip cover on the inside of door handle. take small screw driver and remove it starting from near lock cylinder, pry very gently and cover should come off, then gently peel the cover towards the front of the car until it is off. phillips screw is located in the rear of the door and at the front of the handle.
The hunting and clicking is caused by a stuck vapor canister purge valve. The valve is on a vacume line. When it gets stuck open too much air enters the engine at idle or low rpm. This will cause the engine to hunt and stall as soon as any load is put on it if you do not rev it hard. The engine will over-run when coming to a stop and probably stall. It can come and go putting the chack light on. The quick fix is to just un-plug the solenoid. facing the enginebay it is located on the left hand side just infront of the suspention mount it is half balck half blue on every lupo i have seen. unpluging it will mean the car is driveable again but the check light does come on. It is 100% safe as long as nothing else happens that goes undetected because the light is already on. The part is about £70/80 from VW, they may or may not know what you are talking about but i would not bother going to VW. The part is easy to find at a scrapyards if there are Lupos / Polos. A number of other VAG cars share the part as well. Any other problems come along to clublupo.co.uk
If this is the 3 cylinder Lupo then it could very well be the timing chain getting noisy.
Its around about a 3 to 4 hour job if I remember rightly, so at a VW main dealer labour costs would be over £200 ($400) plus around about £120 ($240) or so for the parts (chain and tensioner).
These are English prices though, so although I've put dollars in brackets, prices may still differ.
Just as a matter of interest, the main cause of chain stretch is lack of servicing, oil changes to be exact. If the service schedule is kept up then a timing chain will last several hundred thousand miles.