There are few things more frustrating than not being able to get into your car. Whether you’re running late for work in the morning or trying to get home from a long day at the office, the last thing you want is to be trapped outside or inside your car.
Luckily for you, you’ve come to the right place for information. If you’re lucky, you might not even need to order any parts to get your door working again! So, what are these potential problems and fixes? Just keep reading to find out.
6 Reasons Your Car Door Won’t Open From Inside or Outside
While locked and jammed doors are two of the most common reasons you can’t get a door opened from either the inside or the outside, they’re far from the only potential causes. Below we’ve highlighted six of the most common reasons you can’t get your car door open.
- Locked Door
Believe it or not, the most straightforward answer is often the most common. For example, you might think that the door is completely unlocked, but it’s just a smidge off. Or maybe a kid came by after you unlocked the door and locked it again when you weren’t looking.
Another common problem is that the electronic car remote is no longer communicating with that door. The door itself might open just fine, but it might not be unlocked when you think it is. Take another look and double-check that the door is unlocked – that might just be your problem.
- Jammed Door
Another common problem for a door that won’t open is that it’s jammed. This can happen in a variety of different ways, but often it’s a seatbelt that’s stuck in the door. Take a look around the entire doorframe, on the inside and out, to see if there’s anything that’s stuck there that shouldn’t be.
If there’s anything there, you need to try and remove it. Pulling on the object might help, but you also might need to pull harder on the door. We recommend having someone push the inside of the door as the person on the outside pulls the handle open.
Do not pull extremely hard on the handle as this might break the handle, leading to even more problems. Another suggestion is to have someone pull on the door to try and open it as the other person attempts to remove the stuck object.
- Rusted Door
Over time chipped and scratched surfaces will rust, and that rust can lead to a stuck door. If this is the problem, it’s best to get some WD-40 or other lubricant and spray down the area thoroughly before attempting to open the door.
If you have a rusted door, there’s no guaranteed solution that won’t break the door. Exacerbating the problem is the fact that rust breaks down the integrity of the metal, making it easier to damage.
The best you can do is spray down the area and hope nothing breaks as you pull open the door – you’ll need to apply some force even after spraying down the area. Once you get the door open, you need to keep lubricating the area to prevent it from sticking again.
If you’re trying to fix the problem, you can sand down the affected area, but beware that if there’s not enough solid metal underneath, you might end up replacing the door. Of course, if you let the rust continue to spread, it’s only a matter of time until you need to replace the door either way.
- Frozen Door
It’s a common problem in areas with colder weather – once the cold weather hits the morning, dew can freeze, leaving a sheen of ice around your car that makes it difficult to open the door.
Sometimes you might be able to see the frozen ice, other times, the only area left frozen will be the hinge inside the vehicle. Sometimes, this might happen only on one side of the vehicle as the sun rises in the morning.
If one side of your vehicle is facing west or has a lot of shade, it won’t heat up as quickly, and the ice can last a bit longer.
While you can try yanking on the door to break the ice off, you risk damaging different components by doing this. The best solution is to heat the door up, whether with a hairdryer or some warm water. Pay special attention around the hinge, as this will need to thaw out too, and you won’t be able to see it.
- Broken Latches
Inside your door is a series of mechanical latches and bars that open the door when you pull the handle. If your door has a broken or disconnected bar or latch, it doesn’t matter how hard you pull on the handle you’re not going to open the door.
Unfortunately, this is one of the more complicated problems to fix if you’re not mechanically inclined. The first thing you need to do is take off the door panel to see what’s going on underneath. Once you find the defective component, you’ll need to replace it.
Even worse, often they won’t sell just the broken component, and you’ll need to replace the entire latch assembly – and this can run you a few hundred bucks.
- Damaged Door
If you’re having trouble getting your door open and it has visible dents or damage, this might be the problem. It doesn’t even have to be a large dent. A small dent in the wrong location can make it almost impossible to open or close a door.
If you have a damaged door, you’ll need to either replace or repair the door to get everything working again. Sometimes you might be able to accomplish this with nothing more than a prybar. Other times, you might need to replace the entire door.
Finally, if you’re planning on replacing the door either way, why not see what you can do by trying to pull out dents or pry everything back where it belongs? Of course, it’s unlikely to work, but if you’re scrapping the old door anyways, what do you have to lose?
Hopefully, after reading through this guide, we helped you track down what’s going on with your car door. But if you’ve ruled out everything on this list, it might be time to take it to a professional mechanic.
While we’re relatively confident that your problem is on our list here, it’s not an all-inclusive list, and sometimes a lack of experience can keep you from tracking down the problem. But if you do decide to take it to a mechanic, at least you’ve already ruled out the easy things!