Car Door Won't Open From Inside Or Outside

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

There could be many reasons why your car door won’t open from the inside or outside, be it the door mechanism is frozen shut, or perhaps the locks are faulty. Regardless, there are easy ways to get yourself back in, such as using a can of compressed air to blow out any debris that might be jamming the door locks. Or, crawling your way from the tailgate of your SUV or wagon.

Of course, the safest way to do this, without potentially causing damage to your car’s door or locking mechanism… Or even, being mistakenly identified as a thief trying to brute-force their way into someone else’s car… Is to simply call in a locksmith to help get you back in your car. Otherwise, if you’re willing to expense a bit of elbow grease, you could do this yourself.

How To Open A Stuck Car Door

With that in mind, here are 5 easy ways how to open a car door that won’t open from the inside or outside:

Method 1: Using Compressed Air To Blow Out Debris

If your car doors not opening, even with the key in the door locks, the locks might be stuck. This could simply be due to debris jamming the door lock or its respective mechanisms. To solve this, 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 further loosen up the lock, and also wash out any loose debris that might still be in there. Finally, re-insert your car keys into the door’s keyhole, and try again. If this doesn’t work, let’s try the next method…

Method 2: Try Going In From Other Doors Or Openings

Should the earlier method of blowing out stuck debris 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. See if you can get in from that side, and crawl over to the driver’s side.

Or, if you have an SUV or station wagon, 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 inside. Otherwise, if you can somehow get in from an open window or even the sunroof, it could be worth trying, too.

Method 3: Consider Grabbing A Spare Or Replacement Key

Car Door Won't Open From Inside Or Outside

While you’re doing that, you should also consider changing the actual car keys. It’s possible that after many years of hard use, your physical car 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 lying around, see if the door can open now using the spares.

On the other hand, if you’re using a keyfob, maybe the battery might be dead. So, swap out the key fob’s battery and try again to see if it works. Alas, if you neither have spare batteries for your key fob, nor a spare key, my best advice at this point is to call in a mobile locksmith. They’ll come over to where you (and your car) are, and help you unlock the car doors.

Method 4: Spray Some De-Icer On The Frozen Door Locks

Is it snowing or is it just generally pretty chilly outside? If so, then your doors might not open or have issues with 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, so you can spray it into the keyhole.

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. Some folks recommend using a heat gun, but I’d avoid it, since it could damage your paint.

Method 5: Consider Calling In A Local Car Locksmith

If none of the aforementioned 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, and they can help you unlock your car.

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. They can make some repairs and fix your car’s door or door locks.

How Much To Fix A Car Door That Won’t Open

Now that we’ve figured out how to get into your car, whose door won’t open from the inside or outside, let’s assume that repairs need to be done… How much would fixing a broken car door or door locks cost? Well, here are some rough figures to give you an idea:

1. A Door Handle Replacement

A new door handle will cost anywhere from $50 to $200 (labor costs will add another $50 to $150). Otherwise, if it’s just a loose connection on or around the door handle, tightening the screws or bolts should do it. Labor costs to have someone do this would tally to around $50 to $100.

2. Repairing A Damaged Door Cable Or Rod

Car Door Won't Open From Inside Or Outside

A damaged door cable or rod needs a full replacement. This should cost around $20 to $100 (add another $100 to $200 on top, for labor costs). Note that these estimates may vary depending on your car’s make and model.

3. Replacing The Entire Car Door

If your car’s door is the problem (such as residual bodywork damage after an accident), it’ll probably need to be replaced. If you can get used doors that match your car from a salvage yard, it might cost you around $200.

Or, for a brand-new door that you can get from dealerships or aftermarket suppliers, it might cost you up to $1,000. However, this doesn’t include labor costs, which could range from $200 to $500, depending on the complexity.

4. Paint Matching The New Door

Since you’re replacing your car’s door, you might want to match the paint on the door with the rest of your car. The cost varies from $200 to $600. Not to mention, factors like the quality of the paint or how much painting is required.

5. Car Locksmith Fees

We mentioned calling in a locksmith earlier to help you out. If you’ve been locked out of your car, a locksmith might charge you $50 to $100 or more to get you back in. Extra fees might also apply, depending on the complexity of the job and the time required. If they need to use special tools or replace the door locks, it could add another $50 to $200 or more.


  • 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
    • 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 …. ?

    • 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?


    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.

    • 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.

    • 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

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

  • 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!

    • 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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