Causes of a stuck car door & how to deal with it

Updated Oct 15, 2020 | Same topic: Handy Maintenance Tips

Desperately experiencing stuck car doors? This is a guide to determine the causes of a stuck car door and take different procedures to address each problem.

Solving the issue of a stuck car door can require more than just a few tools and bolts. Before you proceed to the actual fixing procedure, you would first need to determine the cause of the problem.

Why is the car door stuck? Is it from the deterioration of quality that happens over time? Or maybe you just left your keys inside your car? Well, whatever it is, made sure we got you covered with our tips below:

1. Deadlock

This is the most common situation amongst all stuck car door scenarios. It isn’t complicated and chances are, you might have already experienced it too. Before the invention of fob keys and keyless entry, drivers used to forget their keys inside the car.

This deadlock situation is usually experienced by the elderly and those who are busy. This was later solved by technology and a few innovations. However, before technological advancements kicked in, vehicle owners had to deal with the deadlock in some other ways.

driver who left keys inside the car

This deadlock situation is usually experienced by the elderly and those who are busy

So if you drive a classic car then you may have already experienced this. It’s a good thing if you have a spare key so you can gain access to the vehicle again.

However, if you haven’t got one then you’re stuck to choosing between two options – one is to get professional help regarding the matter, and the second one is tried and solve the problem by yourself and improvising as most people did before.

Solution A: Asking for help from a professional locksmith

If you don’t want to compromise the security and quality of the door lock, some expert locksmiths also offer a particular key-cloning serving without the actual original key.

They use some kind of wax or clay that they insert into the keyhole to get the right shape of the key. They can then shape the new cloned key according to the shape of the mold. It only takes a few hours to do and the price can vary from different service providers.

Man opening the car door

One solution is getting the help of a professional locksmith

Solution B: Relying on yourself with your own abilities

It would be easy if you had left your keys somewhere. However, you would also feel safer knowing that it’s just locked up in your car inserted there in the ignition.

You can attempt to get your key back by unlocking the car by yourself but only do this if you know how. You may damage the interior lock system and make it harder for yourself in the future.

2. Broken Lock

A broken lock is definitely a stressor and it can also be expensive to replace. If your car’s door has a broken lock, our best bet is that it can’t be opened from inside or out. The issue of being unable to open one or two particular car doors isn’t too hard to bear – as long as there is still a working door you can get through.

broken car door lock

A broken lock is definitely a stressor and it can also be expensive to replace


Having access to the car interior via the other doors can let you fix the faulty ones. If you know a thing or two about car door assembly, then you can go ahead and tinker with the mechanism, but only if you have the right tools with you.

If not, you can always go to your trusted auto-mechanic shop to get the job done as one of many ways to economize your car maintenance expenses.

a Parked car

Having access to the car interior via the other doors can let you fix the faulty ones

You can also choose to just tolerate the inconvenience of having one or two inaccessible doors. However, this can be terribly annoying, especially if you are getting in or out of your car in a hurry or in a small parking space.

Although you can just eventually build the habit of getting in and out through the car door that works, having stuck doors do pose a lot of safety hazards.

3. Door Damage

If your car has been in an accident like a collision. For example, there’s a chance that the door hit in the accident sustained damage that broke the locking system.

This may cause it to be stuck and access may be restricted from both sides – inside and out. You can tell that a car lock may be damaged by the looks of the car’s exterior bodywork.

A bad sign is if the exterior is crumpled near the door’s keyhole or the part where it meets the rest of the car when it closes. However, you can still try and use your key to open the door just as you usually would. This is just to make sure if the bodywork is just dented or if the door is really damaged.

Damaged car door

You can tell that a car lock may be damaged by the looks of the car’s exterior bodywork

This problem can be addressed by having it repaired along with the rest of the car that also received damage from the collision. When accidents usually happen, it damages a few parts of the vehicle.

Most road accidents that usually take place damage either the front or the rear of the vehicle. These usually don’t harm the door’s locking mechanism, but if the collision happened sideways then there’s a chance the door can be stuck shut or stuck open.

The overall damage of the vehicle will help you assess if the repairing the car door will still be worth it. Some accidents can leave a car salvageable but sometimes it is best that no one drives them ever again.

>>> Read more: 4 ways to unlock your car without key in an emergency.

4. General tips

We hope you find the answer to your problem with the solutions above. If you’re still not sure as to the condition of your car door and what to do next, here are some general ideas to reassure. You can go ahead and use them regardless of what type of stuck car door situation you have.

Open car door stuck

Opening a stuck door requires more efforts than you thought

  • Check if the door can be opened from either the outside or the inside.
  • If you’ve decided to perform a DIY fix, make sure you don’t damage the plastic latches when you take off your car.
  • Actuate the lock when you try to open it from both sides. Observe its movement closely as you do this.
  • When making diagnostics and repairs on the inside of the car door panel, make sure you don’t harm the fragile wires that are concealed there. These could be for gauges, alarms, speakers, etc.

>>> Click here for more useful tips and advice for car owners

Hanna Sanchez

Hanna Sanchez


Hanna is one of the most competitive swimmers in the country during her day. It was not long before she discovered her passion for the automotive industry as well. Nowadays, she balances her passion through writing as well as coaching.