Car Troubleshooting

Car Door Won’t Shut in Cold Weather | What To Do

Cold weather can be hard on any item that has to live outside. Not all of us can keep our car in a garage, and there might be an occasion where the cold weather will lead to issues with your car door or car doors not working properly.

You will probably take your car doors for granted while they are working correctly, but if they stop working properly you will be likely to notice immediately.

Your car door might refuse to shut in cold weather due to a stuck mechanism. Ice and other issues might also be to blame. There are many moving parts that are required to make your car door operate smoothly and you will find that cold weather can cause damage to all of them. Depending on the temperature, the lock might not even be broken but is instead frozen.

There is nothing worse than driving to work or a friend’s house and finding that you cannot shut your car door when you get here! If this has happened to you, you need to read on!

What Are the Parts of a Car Door Latch Mechanism?

Car doors do not actually have the simple internal workings that you might expect. There are many small parts that make it possible to open and close your car door.

If you have been trying to figure out why your car door is not working, there might actually be more than one part that is to blame for your struggles.

Your car door needs the following parts to work properly to make it close readily:

  •         The hinges
  •         The inside door handle
  •         The outside door handle
  •         The latch itself
  •         The anchor that locks the door shut
  •         The lock mechanism
  •         The electronic parts that make the door lock shut

All of these items need to work properly to allow you to open and shut your car door whenever you need to do so.

When it is cold, any of these parts might be the reason for your issues with closing your car door. You will have to look at all of these parts to diagnose what is wrong that is leading to your car door not shutting.

Common Solutions to Car Doors That Will Not Shut

1.Latch is Stuck

If the latch is stuck, you can put some lubricant into the latch. This might be silicone spray or WD-40. You should let this substance rest for about 5 minutes and then try the door again.

If the latch works, wipe off the excess lubricant and rub it into the surfaces that you can reach readily. You should try the door more than once to be sure that it is working now.

If you are worried about your car stranding you with a door that will not close, you can take your lubricant spray or other lubricant material with you during the cold weather. Remember that sometimes you will need to replace a latch that is not working right.

2.The Hinges Are Sagging

While it might seem like sagging hinges would affect your car door closing at all times, if the sag is slight, you might find that the cold weather is all that is needed to make the door stop working.

Make sure that you check to see if the latch is aligning properly with the door before you start fighting with the latch itself. You can easily adjust your hinges if you need to, but you might also need to take the car to a mechanic to have the door realigned.

Even if you have bumped into something gently at some point, your car door’s hinges might be knocked just far enough away to cause major issues for your door’s operation. You will need to check this part of the door assembly anytime that the car door will not latch.

3.Check the Handle Cables

Sometimes the handle cable can be stretched or broken. You might need to check that the handle cable is not the reason for your latch issue versus the cold weather.

This is a more common issue than you might think and many people are surprised that this is the reason for their car door malfunction.

Car door latches take a lot of abuse in a given month or week and this is not as uncommon an issue as you might think it is.

You might have more issues if someone has been pulling on the handle to open the door fully rather than switching their hands up higher onto the door frame itself.

4.Lock is Frozen

If the weather has been the true culprit of the entire problem, you will need to warm up the latch so that your car door will shut. You can boil some water or warm it in the microwave to take care of this fix.

Pour the hot water over the latch assembly and then try the door again. In most instances, this will take care of your issue.

Always make sure that you do not get hot water onto the window glass because it will shatter from the change in temperature! You should have no trouble avoiding this, but it is worth mentioning.

If you are worried about spilling hot water onto the glass and you can reach your car door with a hairdryer, this will take care of your troubles as well.

5.Ice Has Caused Your Issue

If you have left the door open for too long and ice has formed over the entire door, you might need to de-ice the door. You can get a de-icer from Home Depot or another homewares store.

You can spray this onto the frozen door and that should take care of your ice issue. Be sure that you are cautious about using hot water to solve this issue due to the aforementioned risk to your glass.

A hairdryer will work in this situation just as well as hot water and you will not have to worry about the risk to your glass. Make sure that you close your car doors fully in cold weather or moisture can lead to ice between the doors and the frame very easily.

6.Damaged Seals

If you have tried to diagnose issues with the latch itself and there is no ice impeding the function of the latch itself, you might have bad seals in your car door. Bad seals can lead to moisture getting into the latch itself and this liquid can freeze inside the lock if it gets cold enough.

It is not a big job to replace your door or window seals, but if you are not confident in your skill in this area, you can always get a mechanic to take care of the job for you.

Replacing your damaged seals will also make your car far more comfortable to ride in during cold or wet weather and you might find that you can stop running your defrost constantly to deal with the extra moisture that has gotten inside your car’s interior.

How Can I Prevent These Problems?

The best way to prevent any issues with your car doors in the cold is to keep all of your car doors in good repair at all times.

During warmer weather, you should make sure that you operate all the doors at least once a week and listen for squeaks and squeals. You can also test how the door latch is working by slamming the door and seeing if it closes easily.

If you feel like there is something that is sticking in the door assembly, or the process of opening and closing the door does not feel smooth, you will need to make sure to lubricate all the moving parts in your car door.

If you are not sure what is wrong, you should always take your car to a mechanic before you cannot get into your car or you can’t close your car door in the winter.

If the cold weather is solely to blame, you might not have to worry about a repeat experience with your car door.

You should always be suspicious of any issues with your car door that happens more than once, however. Car doors as a whole are well-designed and should not have issues with their operation just because it is cold.

Diagnosing the Reason for Your Stuck Car Door Matters

You should always make sure that you know exactly why your car door is sticking or won’t close. You could be thinking that you are fixing the issue but you might just be missing that there is a more serious problem that needs attention.

Taking care of a car involves making sure that all the parts are working right both big and small, at all times.

There is nothing worse than getting to your destination and then realizing that you cannot close your car door when you get out of the car! Make sure that you avoid this fate by using these tips and tricks to keep your car door in the best condition possible.

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