Car Door Won't Open From Inside Or Outside

Car Door Won’t Open From Inside Or Outside – 6 Reasons Why

Our car is the second highest investment we make after our home. It is also one of the investments that stay with us longest, provided we care for it regularly and efficiently. Our vehicles are an important part of our lives. Thus, why problems like your car door won’t open from inside or outside needs to be solved right away.

They don’t just make accomplishing everyday tasks far easier, they also become one of the centers where we make memories and take on challenging journeys that mold us into who we are. Just like the home is the heart of the family; our cars also play a crucial part in our lives.

Similarly, just as our homes will go through fixtures and repairs, so will our cars. Preventive maintenance is an essential routine for ensuring a long life for our car.

While preventive maintenance can help resolve most issues, we still come across unexpected repairs that we need to learn about. One of the most common issues that may come as a surprise to most, is the issue of a jammed car door, sometimes the car door won’t open from inside or outside.

This means that the car door does not open either from the inside or the outside. There are many ways to resolve this issue. But first, let us take a glance at understanding why this happens.

Car Door Won’t Open

Car Door Won’t Open From Inside Or Outside, Causes #1: Connection Issues

A common reason for car locks to get jammed is a damaged connection to the car door latch. While diagnosing the issue, you will have to check all internal and external connections, the door lock cylinder, and the interior locking switch. The car door will be stuck in one of these positions.

Car Door Won’t Open From Inside Or Outside, Causes #2: Rust And Dirt Accumulation

Accumulation of rust and dirt is another way because of which car doors can get jammed. Rust gathers in the lock assembly of the door and jams the door latch. This may also happen because of any interior broken parts.

Car Door Won’t Open From Inside Or Outside, Causes #3: Core Structure Damage

This kind of damage generally occurs post an accident. The door latch may get damaged in this case and lead to the lock getting jammed. The door latch may get disconnected from the door lock assembly. Structural damage can occur in an accident, irrespective of the severity.

Car Door Wont Open From Inside Or Outside

Car Door Won’t Open From Inside Or Outside, Causes #4: Deadlocks

This is an issue that occurs because of a feature (deadlock) that has been installed in certain models of cars. It may be caused because of a button on the remote that activates the lock.

Car Door Won’t Open From Inside Or Outside, Causes #5: Broken Lock

Here, the car won’t open from inside or outside because of a single lock being broken. This issue can be resolved easily if the door lock is working and we can still get into the car. A broken lock could also be a sign of weak car parts. This should be checked at your local auto repair shop.

Car Door Won’t Open From Inside Or Outside, Causes #6: Damaged Door

Finally, when the issue is not with the lock system, move on to check the next obvious possibility for the car door to not open from inside or outside – a damaged door. This is not the same as deadlock. The entire lock system may be working properly, and you still find your door not opening from inside or outside.

How To Open A Car Door That Won’t Open From The Outside Or Inside

Now that we’ve diagnosed what might’ve caused this problem where your car door won’t open from inside or outside, we can thus move on to fixing it permanently. But, before we can begin fixing it, you’re still going to have to get the door opened, in the first place.

So, how do you open a door that won’t otherwise open from the outside or the inside? Here’s a quick list of what to do that might help if your car door won’t open:

How To Open A Jammed Door, Method 1:

If it’s not opening even with the key in the door locks, the locks might be stuck. Grab a can of compressed air and try to blow out any debris that’s stuck inside the physical door locks.

Then, spray some lubricant (such as WD40 or PTFE spray) straight into the keyhole, as well. That should help to loosen up the lock. Finally, re-insert the key into the keyhole and try again.

How To Open A Jammed Door, Method 2:

Should the earlier method not work, try opening the other doors. It might be the case that only one door (such as the driver’s side or passenger’s side door isn’t working). If your car has locks for the rear passenger doors, maybe try those ones.

Or, if you have an SUV and could somehow unlock the rear tailgate, it’s worth trying that out and crawling through it to get into the passenger area. Once you’re inside, see if you’re able to open the doors from there.

How To Open A Jammed Door, Method 3:

While you’re doing that, you should also consider changing the keys. It’s possible that after years of use, your physical keys have worn out. Therefore, it’s not able to make a secure connection to the keyhole’s tumblers to unlock it.

So, if you have a set of spare keys, see if the door could open now (assuming that the underlying issue is faulty door locks). If you’re using a keyfob, maybe the battery might be dead. So, swap that one out and try again to see if it works.

How To Open A Jammed Door, Method 4:

Is it snowing or just generally pretty chilly outside? If so, then your doors might not be opening because the door lock actuator (or a part of the door locks) is frozen shut. There are plenty of off-the-shelf products that you could try using to de-ice it.

Most of the time, they come in a bottle with a nozzle. You can then spray the de-icer straight into the keyhole, which can help to warm up and loosen the tumblers inside. Some folks have even tried warming up their car keys by putting the metal tip of the key above a lighter or a match, before inserting that back into the keyhole.

How To Open A Jammed Door, Method 5:

If none of the above-mentioned methods work, then you might have to call some professionals over to help you out. However, knowing who to call is just as important. If you suspect that your car’s door is stuck shut because of faulty locks, you should call a locksmith. They have all the tools and expertise needed for this task.

But, if you’ve (for example) recently been in an accident, it’s possible that the accident may have impacted something structural within the doors. This is what might’ve caused the doors to be stuck shut. If so, a body shop mechanic or bodywork specialist is a more suitable option than a locksmith.

How To Fix A Car Door That Won’t Open

Option 1 – Repair The Broken Connections:

Open the door and troubleshoot the lock assembly. Use replacement parts if needed and mend the broken connections.

Option 2 – Lubricating:

Lubricating the door latch is one of the ways in which doors that won’t open from the inside or the outside can be fixed. Begin by checking the keyway for blockage. Next, open the door and try to adjust the lock assembly to see what is stuck. Lubricate the assembly and move again. Repeat this process until all blockage is removed.

Car Door Wont Open From Inside Or Outside

Option 3 – Remove The Door Panel:

Use your tools to detach the door panel. Once the screws from the door panel are removed, it will be easier to identify the issue. Next, disconnect the electrical connections that are attached to the door panel. Once the panel is removed, you will notice a plastic cover inside the panel.

Remove this cover and look for issues that are preventing the door from opening. Now, check whether the issue is with the mechanisms or the inside shafts. Attach a nut at the end of the shaft to tighten the grip, thus allowing the door to open from the outside.

To resolve the issue of not being open from the inside, check for issues in the power locking system. It may require repair or replacement.

And finally, check the lock assembly for broken parts and double-check the door lock motor. This entire process is easily done with the door panel removed.

Vehicle getting in and out diagnose troubleshooting fix DIY guide

Option 4 – Get A Locksmith:

Car doors that won’t open from inside or outside may have a failed lock assembly. These issues are easier to diagnose and resolve once we are able to get the car door to open.

Thus, a simple solution for this is to turn to a professional auto locksmith. They can help open the car while ensuring a minimum level of damage done to the door. Once the door is open, based on assessment, lock parts can be repaired or replaced.

Car Door Won’t Open From Inside Or Outside: Final Tips…

While working on your car, ensure to take all the necessary precautions to keep yourself safe.  Some of the precautions you can take are

Switching off car alarms when the car door is stuck. This is because the car alarm may turn on any time while you are working on the car and startle you. This is not safe when you are working with any kind of tool.

Also, inform your neighbors to prevent them from getting startled.

Carry all vehicle documents with you at all times! This is not needed when at home. It is more important when there is a sudden breakdown and you are working on your car in the middle of nowhere.

FAQs On Car Door Won’t Open From Inside Or Outside

What Causes A Car Door Not To Open

This can be lots of things. Rust and dirt accumulation, connection issues, mechanical failure, water damage, damage to the door, handle breaking, etc.

How Can I Break Into My Car

Car doors that won’t open from inside or outside may have a failed lock assembly. These issues are easier to diagnose and resolve once we are able to get the car door to open. Thus, a simple solution for this is to turn to a professional auto locksmith.

Why Does My Car Door Not Open From Outside

Part of the mechanism could be loose. Use your tools to detach the door panel. Once the screws from the door panel are removed, it will be easier to identify the issue. Next, disconnect the electrical connections that are attached to the door panel. Once the panel is removed, you will notice a plastic cover inside the panel. Remove this cover and look for issues that are preventing the door from opening. Now, check whether the issue is with the mechanisms or the inside shafts.

How To Fix A Door That Won’t Latch

If you stumble upon a car door that either won’t latch properly or wouldn’t close at all, it could be caused by two key issues. Either the door itself has sagged and isn’t making proper contact with the door latch. Or, the door latch mechanism itself is faulty. To fix it, you can start by measuring the alignment of the affected door(s) against the body of your car. You could then start by examining the door latch. Usually, a door latch would rotate downwards when the door handles are pulled. If it’s instead rotating upwards, you can try pulling the latch to make it rotate down. Otherwise, you could try adjusting the striker between the door latch and the doors. Push and wiggle the striker around until it can latch properly.

How To Fix A Door That Won’t Stay Open

When you open your car’s doors, they should always remain open. Most of the time, the door’s hinges have notches (aka the door’s brakes) that keep them held in place. However, you might experience a moment where the notches or brakes feel like they’re gone. Thus, your car’s doors would no longer stay open. The key point of failure if your door isn’t staying open is likely a bar that’s mounted on the door hinges. This bar hinges on one end and slides at the other. Other than making sure your car’s doors don’t open more than they should, this bar also holds them in place. Check for signs of physical wear, damage, or lumps on that bar. If so, fixing a car door that won’t stay open often requires you to replace the hinge assembly. In some cars, you might be able to adjust it, instead.

How To Open A Jammed Door From The Outside

Should your car’s doors remain jammed from the outside, your first task would be to try and open it. One common cause for older cars would be that the locking mechanism is sticking, and your keys might have trouble unlocking it. Getting past this is as simple as lubricating the door locks with WD-40, and wiggling your key around to unlock it. If that doesn’t work, you might have to open up the entire door panel to see what’s wrong. Carefully check all wiring and connections, including the components inside the door. In particular, look at the connections inside the door. Specifically, connections leading to the door latch, lock cylinder, or interior locking switch. See if there’s any sign of damage on them. If you’re not confident with this type of work, try ringing up a locksmith to help you out.

How To Unlock A Frozen Car Door

In wintertime, it’s easy for your car’s doors to get stuck. Usually, this happens as water and moisture seep between the door’s seals and the frame of the car. As this freezes, your door gets stuck in place. To unlock it, you can first start by pushing into and putting force onto your car doors. This added pressure might break the ice that’s holding your door in place. If that doesn’t work, try scraping away any ice on the door seals or the handles. You might also consider pouring warm (not hot or boiling) water around the rubber seals of your car to try and soften or melt the ice. An alternative to the latter would be using commercial de-icing products, instead. Similarly, you could bring out a hairdryer to heat up and soften or melt the ice, as well.

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31 Comments

  • That’s amazing! It’s really helpful to me. Thanks

  • JackCarFanatic Says

    Quite a good tip. Thanks for the insights! Big fan.

  • terry Says

    Had this problem I push handle in and bump the handle with other hand or bump it below handle and it opens.

  • Josh Says

    Dude how the hell do you OPEN the door in the first place? You’re talking about a car door that won’t open from inside or outside, then you continue on to say “To fix this, first open the car door”. Do you not see the problem here? How are you supposed to work on the door if it won’t OPEN? Dude literally what the f***

    • Matt Says

      hahaha i feel your pain, been looking online for hours. every tutorial has step one open the car door…. THE DOOR WONT FCKING OPEN!!!!!! like its pretty frickin easy to fix the problem if the door is open…

    • Mark Bridges Says

      I was wanting to post the same question!!

    • Pete Says

      My problem too. Door won’t open and they say, open the FN door

    • Ron Says
    • Jp Says

      Thank you… You said exactly how I felt after reading some of these morons post non answers

    • David Says
    • Avatar photo
      Zack Norman Says

      Thanks for the comment, Josh!

      Ooops, our bad… We’ve entirely skipped out on discussing how to get the doors open in the first place. Apologies for that. We’ve since updated this article with an entire section dedicated to steps that you can take to try and open the doors, before you can try fixing/repairing it.

      TL;DR – most of the DIY steps can sometimes help with minor issues, but for the most part, it’s best that you call over a locksmith or a mechanic (mostly those who specialize in bodywork damage) if the doors are still refusing to open.

  • Todd Says

    the door doesnt open ….. you start by showing on open door …. ?

    • Avatar photo
      Zack Norman Says

      Thanks for the comment, Todd!

      Cheers for pointing that one out. We’ve completed skipped out on discussing how to get the door open in the first place if it’s locked you out, so we’ve updated this article with some troubleshooting steps on how to get it open.

  • Audra Matthews Says

    How do you open a car door that is closed and will not open from the inside or outside? I’ve been able to remove part of the door panel from the inside but I can’t see inside the door to find the problem. Is there a lever to pull, a button to push, some way to release the mechanism to open the door so I can remove the broken actuator and replace it with a new one?

  • CECILIA FOX Says

    My lock doesn’t even unlock all of the way. I can’t open the door from the inside or from the outside. None of these videos addresses that situation. I suppose I could give the lock a drenching of WD40 and see what happens. 23 year old Toyota Avalon with 217k miles.

  • Lewis Fletcher Says

    My advice to the other people who are reading this. If your car won’t open from inside or outside, better take it from a car shop near you or a locksmith/technician that can go into your place, than watching videos and imitating what they are doing. It can cause you a lot of money if you do it wrong, especially you don’t have knowledge and ideas about that kind of problem.

  • Commercial Cleaning Says

    Very useful post. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. Really its great article. Keep it up.

    • Ivory Scott Says

      I’m with Josh,the door doesn’t open with neither handle. How do you get the open to check locking mechanism. Again, the is closed, 2007 Nissan Murano

  • SteveH Says

    What finally worked in my case: outside handle was busted off. Couldn’t open it from the inside either. I had the new actuator in hand so I tested a theory. If the outside cable was extended, as if someone was holding the outside handle open, would I be able to open by pulling on the inside cable? Nope. So I took some needle nose pliers and pushed the outside cable back down/in. It must have been a bit rusted and not retracting on its own. Tried opening from the inside and BINGO!!!

    Just sharing because I was pulling my hair out trying everything to get that door open. Maybe that will work for you.

    • Avatar photo
      Zack Norman Says

      Thanks for the comment, SteveH!

      Cheers for the added insight and for sharing your story! Hopefully, someone here will find out experiences useful in getting their doors unstuck, as well 🙂

  • Scott M Worden Says

    The article tells that the common problems when the door won’t open or closed. When I read the comment I’m very enjoying and I just laughed. I agree with the comment, Lewis Fletcher go to the shop near you with has an expert about the locksmith or I know to repair the car door won’t open or close

  • Sanji Polkas Says

    This is straight trash, it’s advertised as “6 instant fixes for a car door that won’t open…yet every “fix” is a process in which you have to open the door and remove the panel. Don’t waste anymore of your time.

    • Avatar photo
      Zack Norman Says

      Thanks for the comment, Sanji Polkas!

      Sorry about that, we’ve completed missed out on discussing how to open the door in the first place. We’ve since added another section discussing how to open the doors if it’s locked you out. Hope this one helps 🙂

  • Mark Neustedt Says

    I love your article! It’s really helpful to me. Thanks!

  • Roy Huron Says

    I have a 201 toyota tacoma and the passenger door does not open from inside or outside ..it

    Door switch only goes up 1/2 ways..with the clicker or manually…

  • aidybrks@gmail.com Says

    Some cars have ways to get the deadlocks off mine which is a vauxhall you have to lock the car then pull the handle on the inside of the offending door unlock the car then open it from the outside

  • Ed Says

    Same complaint here. Mine won’t open from inside or outside. Actuator isn’t working. BUT:::, every one of these people says ,first open the door!!! Yikes!

    • Avatar photo
      Zack Norman Says

      Thanks for the comment, Ed!

      Ooops, sorry about that. We’ve since updated this article to include another section dedicated to how to get the door open in the first place. Hope that helped 🙂

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