What Does the Door Open Warning Light Mean?

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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Travis

12 years of experience
412 reviews
Travis
12 years of experience
Volkswagen Beetle - Warning Light is on - Stillwater, Minnesota
Unbenoest to me when you change a battery on a 18 yr. old car you also need more than a code reader to reset the new battery.
Audi A8 Quattro - Warning Light is on Inspection - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Very helpful and very knowledgeable will be using this service again thank you Travis for everything trumbs up

Nicholas

10 years of experience
349 reviews
Nicholas
10 years of experience
Chrysler 300 - Warning Light is on - Durham, North Carolina
Excellent diagnostician. Knowledgeable and caring. Created a desire for him specifically, to do the job. Hope we get him every time!
Honda Accord - Warning Light is on - Garner, North Carolina
I was very happy with Nicholas and his knowledge and expertise about diagnosing the issues with my car. He is honest, reliable and professional. He is now my Mechanic that I will call on for all my car's needs.I will also recommend him to my friends whom have been taken advantage of by other car shops as I have been, and are looking for someone honest , that will not take advantage of them Thank you so much Nicholas for resolving my issue with my car. I feel relieved and happy with the outcome

Lee

37 years of experience
134 reviews
Lee
37 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala Limited - Warning Light is on - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Lee is very good at explaining everything and offers helpful information in maintaining my car. This was my first time using MyMechanic and he was able to fix my problem. I will definitely use this service in the future.

Bryant

11 years of experience
395 reviews
Bryant
11 years of experience
Dodge Avenger - Warning Light is on - Indianapolis, Indiana
Bryant knew exactly what was wrong with my Dodge Avenger which was the Throttle Body. He ordered the part for me and booked my appointment. I really appreciate his knowledge and hard work. Highly recommend him!

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