How To Fix A Stuck Door Latch
With a door latch stuck, your privacy is diminished and your daily routine is unnecessarily complicated. You need to fix your stuck door latch as quickly as possible, but also in a way that will make sure to prevent the problem from recurring. Whether the door latch stuck open or the door latch stuck closed, you need a way to get your door functioning properly. Though your security comes more from your deadbolt than from your latch bolt, you will get no security from a stuck door latch. Find out why your door latch is stuck, how to diagnose the issue, and how to fix some of the most popular issues.
The most common reasons for a stuck door latch are:
It is important to get to the root of this problem, and find a solution for your stuck door latch because this is certainly a lock issue that you should not ignore. Do not leave your locks in disarray, and get your security working properly.
Find A Replacement Handle
To find the perfect replacement handle, make sure you know the exact model, year, and make. Remember that no car handle is universal, or can be used for any type of car.
Contact your dealer, look for resellers, or check the scrap yards for parts similar to your vehicle. If you’re lucky, you may find a similar car in the scrap yard, take all of the handles so you would not have to worry about future supplies.
How To Fix The Car Doors That Wont Open Either Side
Cars! We love them and we hate them when things go wrong. We can go for long periods of time without having any problems, but then something happens that we have to deal with or ignore. If your car door is stuck and you’ve ignored it, then it will feel good to finally get it working again.
To fix a car door that is stuck you will need tools and patience. The first step is to figure out what is wrong and proceed from there. Here 5 ways to fix a door that won’t open on either side:
- Lubricate the lock if it is sticking.
- Use a new key or install a new lock.
- Remove door panel and inspect for issues.
- Check to see if the latch is broken or malfunctioning.
- Get a lock smith to help out.
Most of the complaints about stuck doors arise from car users that have older car. If your car is reaching seven plus years old, then this problem may be more likely to occur. We’ll discuss some remedies for fixing stuck doors that wont open from the inside or the outside.
To save money you can try fixing it yourself and improve your car fixing skills. Here are some things to try below.
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How To Fix A Car Door That Can’t Be Opened From The Inside
When a car door cannot be opened from the inside, there are less than a half-dozen possible reasons why. This repair is a good project for those who like to do their own repairs and have a few simple tools.
Check the child safety lock if the problem door is a rear door. If it is engaged, the door will not open from the inside by design.
Remove the window crank in cars with manual windows. There will either be a screw in the center of the handle or a retaining clip on the back side of the handle.
Remove the inner door handle. Look for a screw in the bezel, under the handle lever. Some models have handles that have no screw but are held on by locks, which are disengaged by sliding the bezel either forward or back. Check to make sure the handle is not broken. There should be a cable or rod attached to the handle. If there is not, you found the problem and need either a new clip or handle.
Remove the inner door panel retaining screws. These are generally along the bottom and each side, but one or two may be in or under an armrest, depending on make and model of the car.
Remove the door panel. The method for this will vary by make and model, but start by trying to slide the panel upwards. If it does not move, gently insert a screwdriver or small pry bar between the panel and door and gently pry the panel away from the door to determine if there are any retaining clips. Be very careful on a cold day to not crack the door panel.
Video On How To Diagnose Why Your Car Door Locks Are Stuck: Bad Door Lock Actuator Or Door Latch Cable
How to Diagnose a Door Lock Actuator and Cable for Stuck Door Locks
Remove the door panel. If you cant open the door because its stuck in the locked position, you might have to remove the seat and remove the door panel from inside the vehicle, like in the video above
With the door panel removed, unlatch the inside door latch cable and door handle cable
Press the remote and watch the door latch cable for movement. If the cable has difficulty pulling, it could be the cable or door lock actuator that is causing stuck door locks
Remove the door lock actuator and the cables attached from the door
Check if the latch cables are connected to the door lock actuator. If the door lock actuator works as intended, the cable might be stretched
For a better look at the actuator, remove the cover of the actuator, press the lock or unlock button, and watch the internal parts for loosening, breaking, or binding. If there is a problem with the internal parts, replace the actuator.
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Why Is The Door Latch Stuck
With the door latch stuck, you want to know how to fix the issue, but in order to do that you must find out the reason it is stuck. There are several different ways a door latch can be stuck. There can be a door latch stuck open or a door latch stuck closed, but the reasons for each can vary quite a bit. The first step is to troubleshoot the issue and get a sense of what the symptoms are with the door latch stuck in its position.
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How To Open Frozen Car Door Latch
Opening a frozen car door latch can be a hard job. If you belong to a cold region, a frozen latch is a problem that might frequently occur in winters.
In case your car door latch is stuck in a locked position, you need to confirm first that it is the latch or the whole door lock is frozen. The low temperature can allow ice to form on the latch spring or hinge and jam it in its place.
These simple and easy-to-follow steps will help you, to fix a frozen car door latch:
- Check for problems in other car doors. All you need is one door to at least work so you can get in and turn on the heating system, but if all doors are affected, then try:
- A heat gun or a blow dryer to heat the door latch area.
- A deicer spray on the latch using a pipe.
- A straw to blow warm air in the frozen latch area.
- A warmed-up key can also help in melting the ice on the latch area.
Why Wont My Door Close When Its Cold
Swollen Wood Factors like the changing of the weather and humidity can prevent a door from closing properly or cause it to stick in its frame. The swollen wood may be a part of the door or the door frame either way, your door wont close properly. Wood has been known to shrink in cold weather and swell in hot weather.
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How To Diagnose And Fix A Bad Lock Actuator
If you go to unlock your car door with the remote and find the interior car door lock is stuck in the unlocked or locked position even after pressing the button a few times, it can be concerning. Power door locks should work and a car door that wont lock or unlock is an obvious safety concern and nuisance. Even if the doors wont lock or unlock with a remote key or key fob, there are solutions and chances are in this case its a bad door lock actuator. This article will explain why this happens with defective door lock actuators, how to confirm a broken door lock actuator is the cause, and how to replace one to solve this problem.
How Important Is This Service
A door latch is responsible for ensuring that your vehicles doors stay closed. When this latch becomes damaged, your door wont be able to stay closed. A door that wont close is an extreme safety hazard, as youll have no way of securing the door and keeping it from flying open.
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YourMechanic will come to wherever your car is to perform any of a wide variety of car maintenance and repair services, and will charge you less than you’d normally pay if you were to drop your car off at a garage.
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Trunks And Hatches Are Doors Too
the design of your trunk lid, hatchback or suv rear hatch is very similar to that of your doors. they are all held on by hinges and secured by latches and anchors. the solutions listed above, relating to lubrication and releasing an accidentally closed latch, should work on these items as well. if your trunk or hatch doesnt have a handle, then turn the key to the open position, or hold the remote release open while trying to move the latch.
if your trunk or hatch wont close because the latch is out of alignment with the anchor on the body, try this: take a look at the anchor as you slowly close the trunk or hatch. if the latch is not properly engaging the anchor, it may need adjustment. grab the anchor and check if it is loose. this may be the problem.
get a screwdriver or whatever tool is needed to adjust the anchor, and move it to the spot where the latch engages it most easily. tighten the anchor just enough to hold it in place while you test different positions, then tighten it securely once you have found the ideal spot. that should do it.
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How To Diagnose A Car Door Lock Stuck In Lock Position
Finding your diagnosis for a car door lock stuck in the lock position is the first step to fixing the problem. Once you understand a little bit about each diagnosis, you can work out a troubleshooting method for a door lock stuck in the lock position. Because every situation has differences that dont allow for a one size fits all solutions, knowing all the problems creates an understanding needing to find which issue you are facing.
Check Door For Proper Operation
Test the new mechanism if the locks and latch functions are working perfectly. Test it several times prior to re-attaching the interior panel to make sure theres no faulty connection or loose mechanisms.
Do not just focus on the replacement interior door handle, but also test if the exterior handle still functions.
Often times we focus on whats being repaired and forget the other part, test the exterior and make sure the latch is working in perfect connection with the interior door handle.
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Why Are My Car Door Locks Stuck
If the remote or key fob wont lock or unlock your cars interior door lock and the lock is sticking, a bad door lock actuator or a stretched or loose door latch cable could be the cause.
Broken Door Lock Actuator
If the mechanism in the door lock actuator is binding and fails to lock or latch consistently, the cable that pulls on the latch is not going to have enough force to unlock the door.
Broken Door Latch Cable
A stretched or loose door latch cable might also not have enough force to unlock the door.
What To Do If Door Wont Open
If you find that you cannot even get your car door to open to work on it, you may have to contact the local locksmith. You may find that the lock assembly has failed in the vehicle if all doors do not work. Once the door is opened, you will be able to fix the problem and diagnose it much easier.
That is why you should call a locksmith. They will ensure that your car door gets open without causing too much damage. They will ensure that the vehicle goes through the least amount of damage possible. Keep in mind that the parts of the locking assembly can be replaced. It might be the best idea for them to be replaced.
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Removing The Old Door Latch
Step 1: Remove the outer door handle. The outer door handle is attached by two cross tip, or phillips, head screws in the outer edge of the door. The upper of the two screws are visible just above the latching mechanism and are partially hidden under the rubber door seal in the door.
Remove the two screws that hold the door handle to the door shell. Push the handle forward to release it and pull it away from the door.
- Tip: Be sure to examine the two plastic seals on the door handle and replace if necessary.
Step 2: Remove the inner door handle. Pry the plastic cover out from under the door handle. This component is separate from the plastic rim around the handle. Use a flathead screwdriver to remove the cover.
Underneath is a cross tip, or phillips, head screw which must be removed.
Once this is done, the plastic rim around the handle can be removed.
Step 3: Remove the window crank. Before removing the window crank, make sure the window is fully closed. Pry up the plastic cover on the crank handle .
Remove the cross tip, or phillips, head screw holding the crank handle to the shaft. Then pull the handle off.
A large plastic washer will come off with the handle. Take notes or a picture to remember which way it sits against the door.
Step 4: Remove the panel on the inside of the door. Gently pry the panel away from the door all the way around. A flat screwdriver or removal tool helps here, but be gentle so you dont damage the painted door around the panel.
Car Door Lock Stuck In Lock Position And Wont Close
Where you might be able to drive with a car door lock stuck in the lock position when it wont open, it is not advisable to do so when the car door will not close. Though your mobility may be reduced because of this issue, you will have a simpler time fixing the problem.
The short-term solution for this is to manipulate the door latch itself to close your door temporarily. Obviously, you need a permanent solution as to not have to do this every time you try to close your door, but for the time being you can:
Once the door is able to be shut, it would be advisable to not lock your door again until the issue has been resolved. A door lock that is stuck in the lock position only becomes more complicated when the door wont open. If there was nothing you could do to get the car door lock open when the door was open, then it is unlikely that you will be able to get it open when the car door locks in the closed position.
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Latch Jaw And Striker Misaligned
A sagging door may be the result of a prior mild collision which in turn causes the latch jaw to not align with the striker on the jam. Alternatively, the hinge fasteners may have loosened allowing the door to move out of proper alignment.
How to Fix
Corrective action will necessitate realignment of the door. This may be a difficult process for a DIY home mechanic. In most cases the car will need to be taken to a quality auto body shop for corrective action.