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Lock Blog

A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals

4 Steps To Find Your Car Door Lock Fix: How To Fix Car Door Latches

by Ralph September 15, 2021

If you are looking for how to fix a car door latch, what you need to know is the process for finding your problem and what a solution is likely to look like. We cannot cover every specific car door lock fix, but this information can be used to help with any car door latch repair.

There will often be cause for calling a professional locksmith to assist with your car door lock fix. These problems may result in a car lockout that requires professional tools, or security screws may require specialty screwdrivers. In any case, if you run into any snags, reach out to a locksmith.

The basic steps for how to fix car door latch are as follows:

  1. Troubleshoot
  2. Disassemble
  3. Diagnose
  4. Repair


Can you fix a car door latch?

How to fix a car door latch may come down to spraying a bit of lubricant, or it could require the replacement of broken parts. The more extensive the damage, the more parts will likely have to be replaced. If the latch is stuck, try clearing the debris or lubricating the mechanism directly.

What keeps a car door latch from catching?

If your car door latch is not catching, it is most likely due to the latch jamming. Many modern car door latches are plastic, and they can distort during sudden or extreme temperature fluctuations. The latch can sometimes move freely again with lubrication and direct manipulation.

How much does it cost to fix a car door latch?

The cost to change car door locks has a starting cost of $120, but there may be a cheaper fix that does not call for the lock to be replaced. You can lower the cost of labor by doing the work yourself, or if the problem is not severe enough to the point where the door needs to be disassembled.

Why is my car locking itself?

Some cars have a self-locking feature triggered by unlocking your vehicle with your remote. This is a security feature to make sure the car does not remain unlocked if it is accidentally unlocked. If this is a bug and not a feature, there might be an issue with the solenoid or actuator.

How do you get a car door open when the latch is stuck?

When you have a car door latch stuck in the lock position, try to open the door from both sides. Use the physical key, remote, and interior locks. If this does not work, you will need access to the lock assembly inside the door via a slim jim type item that can slip inside the door without removing the panels.

How To Fix Car Door Latch

There is no universal car door lock fix because every car is different. Even with cars from the same manufacturer, different models and the year of those models will have procedural variation. What will stay the same is the general steps.

If you want to know how to fix a car door latch yourself, you will need the ability to see these steps through for your particular vehicle and situation. This means consulting with a manual or video that details these processes for your car.

1. Troubleshooting

The first step in troubleshooting is seeing if there are any circumstances where the car door lock works properly. Try the physical key, press the remote unlock, use the interior locks, and check when the lock opens and when it does not.

Before you find out how to fix a car door latch, you need to know if your car door latch is the issue. If your problem is just with your physical, manual manipulation of the lock should work. If the remote is the problem, the lights on the car should not flash when you click the button.

Most commonly, there is an issue with the key fob not working. Quick ways to test this are by using another remote or changing out the remote’s battery. But stop before you replace car remotes, as this is a bit too costly without knowing if it will solve the issue.

A car door lock fix that might work during troubleshooting is applying some lubricant to the problem area. However, if you have a car door latch stuck closed, you may not be able to reach all the relevant areas of the lock assembly.

Key Takeaways:

  • Test to see which ways the lock is failing.
  • Lubricate troublesome parts.
  • Check that your car key and car key remote are working properly.
  • You may discover the car door lock fix you need requires no further steps.

2. Disassembly 

From the troubleshooting stage, you will have already solved or narrowed down your possible issue. But if lubrication or car key replacement was not the car door lock fix you needed, you are going to need more information, and that is going to come from accessing the lock assembly.

Access requires disassembly of the door to evaluate the various parts of the door lock. Disassembly begins by unlocking the door. This may require you to find a car unlock service near you if you have a car door latch stuck closed.

With the door open, it is time to remove the door panels and covers. This is likely going to be the most time-consuming aspect of how to fix a car door latch. If you are doing this work yourself, you will need a manual or video for your car.

Documentation on the disassembly process will give you your order of operations. It will also help to locate hidden screws, find the snaps on panels, and know if any special tools will be needed. While you are disassembling the car door, be very careful with the wires you encounter. These wires can trigger airbags, lights, alarms, etc., as well as affect remote unlocking.

Key Takeaways:

  • Your door must be open to disassemble the side panels.
  • Look for video or written documentation on how your door is meant to be disassembled.
  • Be careful not to disconnect or damage any wires inside the door.

3. Diagnosis

Now that the car door is taken apart, you can assess how to fix the car door latch. If you already invested in hiring the best lockout service near you, they may have already given you an idea of what to look for. Often when a professional locksmith is opening a car door, they will get a good idea of what is broken.

Diagnosis can be relatively straightforward. Try to use whatever open procedure is not working, and with the lock assembly fully exposed, locate any breaks or blockage. If the assembly is working fine, your car door lock fix may be to replace the car door lock cylinder.

However, even if you suspect the car door lock cylinder, you should still check the connection between the cylinder and the actuator. Door lock actuator repair means a lot of things, but in this case, we are talking about looking at how the rotation of the lock cylinder interacts with the lock assembly.

I would highly recommend that a trained auto locksmith give the diagnosis so that you can get access to replacement parts faster. Also, the removal of door lock assemblies and door lock cylinders can be tricky at times.

Key Takeaways:

  • Try normal opening procedures as you look at the exposed lock assembly.
  • Take note of any parts that are broken, disconnected, or blocked.
  • If you cannot find the source of your issue, contact an automotive locksmith.

4. Repair 

Repair is what most people are thinking about when they are looking for how to fix a car door latch. But this is the last step in how to fix a car door latch because it is truly the most variable. If you are skipping to this step, I would recommend going back to the troubleshooting section for information on potential quick car door lock fixes.

In most cases, if you have gotten to this point, car door lock repair is going to involve full or partial replacement of the lock assembly. Depending on how replacement parts are sold for your vehicle, you may not be able to just purchase the component you need.

Even in cases where you only need car door latch repair, the latch may not be available by itself. This is another reason a locksmith or mechanic can be useful, as they might have spare parts from previously removed door lock assemblies.

If how to fix your car door latch ended in lock cylinder replacement, you may also want to look into rekeying your car lock so each lock functions with the same key. Any repair that decreases convenience and ease of use is not ideal.

Key Takeaways:

  • Based on the diagnosis, clear blockage, reconnect parts and replace any broken parts.
  • Smaller components may not be available without the purchase of the larger assembly.
  • To save money with any replacement, contact a professional in automotive lock repair.

In Closing

Troubleshooting allows you to see if there is a fast and easy car door lock fix. If that doesn’t solve your issue, the door will have to come apart. Using the information from troubleshooting, you can then better diagnose the problem with your car door lock.

Finally, when it comes to the final car door latch repair, you are most likely going to be replacing a broken part. You can look up “best professional car door latch repair near me” for assistance with any part of this process or see if you United Locksmith services your area.

Category: Automotive, How To's

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