Does your car door seem stuck when you attempt to open it, or does not fully lock upon closing? If so, you likely have an issue with your vehicle’s door latch. The door of your car comprises several mechanical components that work in conjunction to ensure seamless functioning. A standard car door includes handles, hinges, latches, locks, anchors, and mechanical or electrical parts that link to the circuitry of your vehicle. But this article will only focus on a car door latch and how to fix it.
What Is A Car Door Latch?
The car door latch is a mechanical clasp holding two rods together in the locking system of a car door. In simple terms, it’s essentially a mechanical lock that allows the car door to close or open.
If you end up with a broken latch, the door will no longer open or lock smoothly. Forcefully opening or locking the door with a damaged latch can result in more damage. If you have a damaged door latch that requires replacement, check out Reid Supply and other online sources to know more about the types of latches available.
How To Deal With A Broken Car Door Latch
There are various reasons why your vehicle’s door latch can end up stuck. Luckily, there are a few measures you can take before calling a mechanic.
- Assess Which Door Is Inaccessible
The initial step when dealing with a possible broken door latch is to figure out which door or doors are inaccessible.
If you cannot open one door, check another if it opens. When all the doors stay locked, it may be an issue with the remote lock. If only a single door is stuck, it’s likely due to a damaged latch and will require a replacement.
If you’ve used your car for a long time, it may incur minor defects, such as a faulty door handle. With this in mind, regular maintenance will ensure your vehicle stays in good form.
2. Open The Door From The Inside
If only one door in your car is stuck, you can try opening it from the inside. If you can open it, there may be an issue with the external door handle. Opening the door from the inside will often free up the door mechanism and enable it to work properly. In this case, try opening and closing the door a few times to ensure the issue is resolved.
3. Apply Lubricant
A faulty car door latch may be a result of rust. A simple remedy is to clean the door latch using WD-40 rust remover or apply lubricant. If you want the best outcome, consider contacting a mechanic to know if the mechanism requires further repair or a replacement.
4. Manually Deal With A Stuck Door Latch
If you’re dealing with a stuck door latch and no matter how much force you apply, you cannot open the door. A stuck latch can be due to rust formation, damaged handle cable, dirt buildup, or circuitry malfunction. You can manually deal with these issues if you prefer a hands-on approach with your vehicle, albeit having adequate mechanical skills.
The first step is to utilize all available tools to open your car’s door, including the key, remote, and interior lock. If none work, access your vehicle using another door and inspect the lock.
Locate the screws in the door panel and remove them. The objective is to remove the panel to gain access to the door lock. Once you have access to the lock, look for any issues. Move the latch using a screwdriver to open the door. Sometimes, a repair job requires replacing a damaged cable or using a cleaner to remove debris. However, if the root cause involves the vehicle’s circuitry, it may be best to consult a professional.
5. Warm Up A Frozen Latch Mechanism
A frozen door latch may be rare, but it can happen, especially if you leave your vehicle exposed to extremely cold temperatures. If you live in an area with harsh winter conditions, you might’ve encountered this problem. Once this happens, the latch mechanism freezes, so the jaw will no longer open or latch when closing the door.
Warming up your vehicle may be a solution. Access your vehicle using another door, switch the front windshield defroster, and adjust the heat to the highest level. Doing so will warm your vehicle’s interior, including the door components.
A precautionary measure to remember is to avoid slamming the door since it can damage the latch jaw. The ideal approach is to pull the door opening handle and let it snap back a few times while the door is slightly open. In most cases, the action is usually enough to loosen the solidified latch mechanism.
A broken car door latch can be due to various causes. It can end up stuck due to an issue with the mechanism, the formation of rust, or freezing up due to cold temperatures. Regardless of the cause, the door latch must always be functional. Knowing these insightful tips on what to do with a possible malfunctioning car door latch will be helpful in resolving the issue at no time.