Car Door Won’t Shut: How Fix The Problem?

How shocking will it be when a door suddenly flows open while driving around a road turn? It must be annoying to stop in the middle of the road and discover with horror that the car door won’t shut. Using child safety locks is the easiest temporary fix but those will work only for the back doors, not the front.

Car Door Won’t Shut: How to Fix The Latch

Winter seasons could be another reason for car door won’t close as extreme cold freezes the door mechanism. However, if the issue persists even after thawing the vehicle, you have to look into the door latch. In fact, it is not a rare problem and the solution is also quick and easy.

car door won't close
Fixing the latch won’t take much time. Source: Youtube


1. Detailed instruction on fixing the latch

The latches are the most common culprit when the car door won’t shut. However, you can fix it in minutes with the help of a couple of tools. The following video illustrates the way to do it.

Step 1

The rotating latch will have prongs on the door edge. The rotation should be downward, not upward. Find out if the latch remains in the closed position when you lift the handle. In that case, ask a helper to hold the handle at that position while you push the latch with a screwdriver to make it rotate downward.

Step 2

If the door still does not remain closed, the problem could be with the door’s alignment to the car’s body. Ask your assistant to sit inside the vehicle and hold the door closed. Take a few steps back to examine the alignment. If it appears to be misaligned, place a small wood block underneath the lower hinge of the door to make it level. You can also bend the lower hinge by pushing the door from the outside. Stop doing it when the alignment seems to be restored.

Step 3

If the first two steps don’t work, you will have to work on the door frame’s striker to solve the issue. Loosen it with a wrench just enough to move it, not detach it. Press the striker and move it around until the latch seems to be working properly when the door is closed.

Step 4

Sometimes, the latch gets stuck because of dirt or rust. Use a low-viscosity oil or penetrating fluid to lubricate the parts. It will enable you to open the latch. But, if it still does not open, you have to replace the latch assembly.

car door wont shut
Lubricate the latch if its mechanism is stuck. Source: Youtube

2. What to Do If the Latch Fixing Does not Work?

In that case, you have to look to the components inside by removing the door panel. These are some control rods stretching from the car handle to the latch assembly. Check their mounting base to see if they are loose. If this is the case, reinstall the rods to stop the problem of car door won’t shut.

Other possible reasons for inoperative car door

1. Broken Lock Actuator

Actuator is the mechanical part that enable drivers to manipulate the door to open and close even without touching it, by ways of pressing a button on a remote control or on the side of driver’s seat. This electric powered motor sends signals to the lock at your command. Therefore, when car door won’t shut electrically, your actuator may not be working due to a broken wire or even an electrical block.

2. Broken Door Handles

Turning to operating the door manually, if the door won’t shut, the handle should be open to question. Then check if the handle gives you the feel of being about to come off, or at least not being firmly attached to the handle frame. Don’t forget to check both the interior and exterior handle part.

3. Loose striker plate

What keep the closed door in place is a hardened metal mechanism called the door striker plate. This plate represents in every car door. When it become loosen for some unknown reasons, you have to slam the door hardly for several time to do the manual shutting job, which is even sometimes to no avail at all. Please do not drive before fixing the flying door and quickly drive to a garage to replace one.

4. Tight hinge

Squeaking sounds together with a jammed door that prevent you from closing it should be signs of some needed lubrication on the hinge. To get back to the street immediately, some cooking oil can even get the job done temporarily before you get access to the machine oil at the garage.

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Wrapping Up

Leaving the open car door is extremely dangerous on the road. In this emergency, pull over and follow the guideline in this article on how to fix a car that won’t shut. However if your car door won’t close completely, after doing some temporary fixing, drivers had better to take the car to the garage for best maintenence.