What Does the Door Open Warning Light Mean?

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Cars have been equipped with door switches for quite some time now. The car’s computer monitors the switch and alerts the driver when it thinks one of the doors isn’t closed all the way through. This is a safety measure to prevent any doors from opening while you are driving.

Although this is a relatively simple system, there are a few odd faults that can occur with the switch causing the door open warning light to come on and stay on.

What the door open warning light means

As mentioned before, when the light comes on, the computer thinks one of your doors isn’t closed all the way. Every time you start the engine, take a quick glance at the dash before you start moving to make sure this light isn’t on. If it is on, close any doors that may not have shut all the way and the light should turn off automatically. Keep in mind that the trunk and hood may be included as a door so check them if closing the cabin doors doesn’t turn off the light.

Some cars also indicate which specific door it thinks is open to help you figure out which one you need to close. If you start driving and then notice the light is illuminated, you should pull over safely before trying to close the doors. Opening any doors while on the road can be risky and dangerous.

Typically, the issue may be with the door switch as due to repeated use, the mechanical parts of the switch break. A replacement switch should solve this problem. Dirt from the air can also get trapped inside the switch preventing it from opening and closing. Spray some lubricating oil, such as WD-40, on the switch to try and clean the dirt out. Opening and closing the door a few times should also help dislodge any dirt. If cleaning or replacing the switch doesn’t shut the light off, have the associated wires and connectors inspected for any damage.

Is it safe to drive with the door open warning light on?

Most cars have 2 “stages” to their locks. Even if the door is slightly ajar, it will still be locked down to prevent it from swinging open. As mentioned, pull over somewhere safe to check all the doors.

While the light doesn’t affect driveability or performance of the vehicle, it can cause some other issues. For example, some cars won’t let you lock the doors if one of them is open. Many of us keep valuables in our cars and not being able to lock them in is very risky. If you are unable to lock the doors, you should only use the vehicle if absolutely necessary, but be sure to remove any valuables beforehand.

If you are experiencing any issues with your door open warning light, enlist a certified technician from YourMechanic to help you diagnose any problems.


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Matthew

31 years of experience
659 reviews
Matthew
31 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala - Warning Light is on - Norfolk, Virginia
First off he was on time....actually 30 mins early which was great. Everything he described was what I was going through and he knew exactly what I needed before he even looked at the car. Other mechanics i feel were trying to take advantage because I am a woman but he made me feel comfortable. Still have to get work done on it but at least I know exactly what the problem was.
Chevrolet Tahoe - Warning Light is on - Norfolk, Virginia
Very detailed and takes the time to explain what is being done. Willing to answer any questions you may have. I would definitely use his services again and have already been telling my coworkers about this site. I have a unique electrical situation going on with my truck that none of the dealers could assess. Just by Matt doing some general maintenance , my truck is already driving smoother. Matt asked that I monitor things to make sure we don't need to troubleshoot anything else. I feel quite confident.

Travis

11 years of experience
56 reviews
Travis
11 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz C230 - Warning Light is on - Charlotte, North Carolina
Travis came out to determine cause for the Check Engine light. He did so and told me what needed to be done and the cost.

Juan

7 years of experience
26 reviews
Juan
7 years of experience
Suzuki Grand Vitara - Warning Light is on - Durham, North Carolina
I won't go into details about the actual work performed - the result was completely satisfactory. Juan is knowledgeable about how these computerized engines work . He's very personable, polite, patient with my questions, and when I need service again, I'll request Juan. He put in more time than originally scheduled and seems to want to see things through and honest enough to tell you if the job is beyond his expertise and suggests taking car to dealer for more extensive diagnostic tests. I am well pleased.

Robert

11 years of experience
4 reviews
Robert
11 years of experience
Buick Encore - Warning Light is on Inspection - Manteca, California
He was great because I didn’t have to go anywhere I just stayed at home and he took care of everything

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