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In order to be roadworthy and safe, your car needs to stay buttoned up. The hood needs to latch securely, and the trunk should close and latch. All car doors should also close securely. This protects you while driving, and it also ensures that items in the car aren’t able to roll or fall out of the vehicle while moving. If your car door will not shut, there’s a problem that needs to be diagnosed. It may be one of several different issues.
While all car doors are cosmetically different in terms of length, width, height, color and even thickness, they all work in the same basic way. There’s a latch on the inside edge of the door that’s designed to connect with a cable to the handle of the door on both the inside and the outside. On the inner edge of the doorframe is a catch that the latch secures to.
As the door closes, the latch encounters the catch, and closes around it. This holds the door securely closed until you pull the handle. This opens the latch, and the door swings open on a hinge (or a set of hinges).
Of course, this only works if the latch is in good working condition and the catch is likewise in good shape. The door hinge also plays a role – it not only allows your door to swing open and closed, but helps align the door with the catch so that opening/closing is as smooth and easy as possible.
Closed Latch: One of the most common problems here is that the latch has been accidentally tripped and has closed while the door was open. Attempting to close the door with a closed latch will not work. The latch can be popped open again, and the door should close on its how. However, if the latch won’t close around the door catch, then there may be something wrong with the latch itself.
Worn Latch: Door latches are very high-wear automotive components. While they’re designed to last the life of your car, wear and tear can be immense, particularly if you get in and out of your car often. Significant wear and tear can render the latch too worn to properly secure the door.
Damaged Door Catch: If the door catch is damaged, missing or bent, you’ll find that the door won’t close. Both the catch and the latch must be in good condition and properly aligned or they will not work.
Broken Door Handle Cable: Your door handle connects to the latch via a cable. If that cable is bound or broken, it will not open the latch.
Misaligned Door: If your door is not aligned properly, it will not shut. It’s just like the door in your home – the latch and catch must line up properly. Otherwise, they just hit one another without the latch being able to close and lock in position.
The mechanic will inspect your door’s alignment, as well as the condition of both the door latch and catch. It may be necessary to remove the door panel to access the cable that runs from the handle to the latch.
If your door won’t close, it is unsafe to drive your car on the road. It may swing open, allowing items in the car (or you or your passengers) to fall out. It also makes driving unsafe because you will physically need to hold the door closed while the vehicle is in motion. One of our expert mechanics can quickly determine the problem and repair your door.