Car doors have multiple roles. First, they protect passengers from debris entering the car from the road. Second, they ensure that you, your passengers and your belongings don’t fall out into the roadway. Third, they play a role in providing comfort during summer and winter. Fourth, they help protect against thieves. However, they’re not foolproof, and problems can occur. If your car door won’t open, it needs to be inspected and repaired.
How this system works:
When you pull the inner or outer handle, a cable attached to a rod moves. Depending on the setup, this either pulls or pushes the door latch mechanism, tripping it open. The latch unclasps from around the metal catch in the door frame, and you’re able to push or pull the door open, depending on whether you’re seated in the vehicle, or standing outside. All the inner workings are safely tucked away behind the door panel, though, so they’re not visible or accessible.
Common reasons for this to happen:
- Stuck Door Lock: This happens more with manual locks than with power locks, but it can happen with either system. If the door lock is stuck in the locked position, it may be because the lock rod has come detached.
- Damaged Handle Cable or Rod: If the cable or rod that connects the door handle to the latch assembly is damaged or has come loose, the door will not open. This is usually only on one side (either the inside handle won’t open the door, or the outside handle won’t open the door, but the other one will work fine). You’ll also notice that there is no resistance on the affected handle (this may also occur to both handles at the same time with some vehicles).
- Damaged Door Latch Assembly: It’s possible that the door latch assembly itself has sustained damage. This could be rust and/or corrosion, or another problem that forces the latch to stay in the closed position. If this is the case, neither door handle will open the door.
- Loose Latch Screw: On some vehicles, a latch screw can work its way loose. When this happens, it jams into the inner doorframe and won’t allow the door to open.
How important is this service?
If your door won’t open, it can be a serious inconvenience. You’ll be forced to enter the vehicle through another door, climbing over the seats to get to the driver seat. It can also be a safety concern if the latch is damaged, it’s possible that the door will suddenly open (and not be able to be closed) while driving. We recommend that you have the car checked to diagnose and repair your car door problem as soon as possible.