Car Door Won’t Open From Inside or Outside – 7 Causes & Solutions

Written by

Charles Bolte


Vernon Hoppe 

car door won't open from inside or outside

As a car owner, it’s a frustrating experience when your car door won’t open from inside or outside– after all, it’s your primary entry access!

Several factors can result in your car door problem, which may commonly include core structure damage, connection issues, rust, latch, or hinge problems. Such a problem will likely happen more frequently than you think.

So it is equally important to know how to diagnose its cause and how to fix it. Read on to learn more.

List of Reasons


It is understandably normal to deal with a few auto components problems when you’re a car owner. But you can’t deny the fact that it’s extra stressful when it’s your car door that won’t open from outside or the inside.

Here is a list of the most common causes why your car or truck door won’t unlatch.

1. Accumulation of dirt or rust


Over time, dirt particles and rust can accumulate along your car door panels and locks. This can deteriorate your lock components and other metal door parts to the point that it could ultimately result in the car door not opening.

When rust forms in the lock assembly, it can jam your door or wear down some important lock components. When this happens, the lock mechanism can fail and lock you in or out of your vehicle.

2. Faulty door handle


Door handles are equally susceptible to failure and damage as they’re constantly accessed to open the door. Sometimes the linkage connected to your door handle can loosen, resulting in a broken latch release mechanism.

In more common instances, the car door handle may just be stuck and can be quickly resolved by applying a lubricant. But it might need repair or replacement if it’s a more serious issue that can’t be fixed with key or lubrication.

3. Hinge/ latch issues


Another common malfunction in your car door mechanism can be due to some problems with the hinge or latch, which bear the constant force and stress when closing or opening your car door.

If there is a misalignment in the door hinge or latch, this could jam your door shut or prevent it from closing properly. An overlooked misaligned hinge and latch could be the culprit behind a car door unlocked but won’t open.

4. Deadlock activation


Modern cars are equipped with a deadlock, which is a car door security and safety feature that prevents the door from being opened either through the inside or outside.

This additional safety function is activated and deactivated by your smart key. When you can’t figure out what’s jamming your car door, try pressing your smart key buttons first as you might have unknowingly activated this feature.

Along with deadlocks, modern cars also experience keyless entry system failure or malfunction, like when you have a Hyundai car door equipped with biometrics security. Check if it’s your wireless connection that’s got some issues.

5. Core structure damage


Damage to the door’s core structure happens most commonly after an accident. The impact of accidents can cause the car door structure to bend, break, and misalign, resulting in a jammed or completely wrecked car door.

Sometimes, it’s the door latch, hinge, or anchor that gets damaged, causing the car door to not close properly or shut firmly.

Nevertheless, the structural damage obtained post-accident will either leave your car door needing serious repair or complete replacement.

6. Freezing temperature


You’ll likely find yourself on a winter morning asking, “Why won’t my car door open?” It’s probably because your car door is frozen shut due to the cold temperature.

When moisture builds up around your car door or in the hinges, it’ll most likely freeze when the temperature drops significantly, preventing your driver door or passenger door from opening.

You don’t have to worry, though, as a handy ant-freeze spray or a de-icer can easily fix it.

7. Other reasons


Issues with your key fob, smart lock systems, and other wireless connections can be the reason why your car door won’t open from the inside or outside.

Also, if an automatic locking system is activated and child lock is on can be the reason why you can’t open your car door.

How to Fix It?

Usually, you can easily control your car doors from inside driver side through the control or function buttons. However, several serious factors that are outside the button-clicking resolve can be the cause of your car door that’s not opening.

Here are the common fixes to such problems:

1. Lubricate your doors


Door hinge, latch, and door handle are susceptible to dirt accumulation and rust, which could jam them.

If this is the case, what you’ll need is a good spray of lubricant that will free these components from minor jams or stiffness.

You’d normally need to spray the joining components of the lock assembly while moving them repeatedly to remove the possible blockage and particles that are jamming your components.

2. Check and repair broken connections


You can either repair minor connection problems or replace them with new components if the damaged part is beyond repair or would be better off with a new one.

3. Removing the door panel


Detaching the panel lets you directly look at the lock assembly and the internal electrical connections. This way, you can effectively spot the physical damages and faulty connections that you can specifically address.

When you secure a nut through the shaft’s end for a tighter grip, it will allow you to open the door from the outside, though still not on the inside.

When everything is fixed, reattach your door panel while ensuring all connections and components are in place and the broken parts have been tended with.

4. Call in a locksmith or bring the car to a professional mechanic


Suppose you have diagnosed that the problem preventing your car door from opening is a faulty lock assembly; you better call in an expert auto locksmith.

It’s better to leave this issue to professionals to minimize and avoid further damage to your door components.

The failed lock can either be repaired depending on the extent of damage, but you can always opt for a new replacement for better confidence and peace of mind.

It wouldn’t hurt if you’ll ask for expert assistance so as not to do further harm to your vehicle.

How to Open a Car Door That Won’t Open From the Inside or Outside


Before you can start fixing your jammed door, you need to open it first to access and work on it properly. Here are some methods to open your car door that’s shut from the inside and outside.

  1. The first thing you should try is blowing some compressed air into your door locks or keyhole and spraying some WD40 to remove any debris and loosen the door lock. Re-insert your key and see if it’ll open on the second try.
  2. If the first method is to no-avail, try opening the other doors or the tailgate, crawl your way in, and see if you can do any better loosening the lock inside.
  3. You should also try switching keys and see if it’s a worn-out key that’s causing the problem. A duplicate key can do the trick, or changing your car key fob battery may help.
  4. If it’s winter, your car door may just be frozen shut. Try spraying your car door lock with a de-icer or ani-freeze product.

If your door still won’t open and you think it may be due to a faulty lock or key, it’s time to call an auto locksmith to do the job for you.

But if the issue is more on structural damage due to an accident, an auto body shop mechanic is more suited.

Preventive Measures to Avoid Car Door Issues


To help you avoid the hassle of a jammed car door, here are some measures to do away with your car door issues.

  • Regularly clean and lubricate your door locks
  • Protect and use your key fobs (or metal keys) properly
  • Be cautious in opening and closing your car doors
  • Ensure keyholes and locks are clean and free from any debris
  • Let professionals handle complex car door issues

How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Car Door That Won’t Open?


Fixing your car door can mean two things. One is fixing the broken or faulty parts, and two is fixing your car door problem by completely replacing the whole door/ components.

If you are DIY-repair ready, the repair cost will understandably be lower. The major cost you’ll be paying is the price of your replacement parts if needed. But, if the issue requires a more expert hand, be ready to pay more for labor costs and other charges.

Normally, USD 70- 150 will be the cost for lock replacement. But if your car door has more damage, a USD 500- 2500 price range can hurt your pocket.


In your years of car-owning or driving, it is expected that you’ll have to contend with one or a few car door problems.

When a car door won’t open from inside or outside be sure to properly diagnose the problem to arrive at the right solution and avoid further door damage.

Knowing how to diagnose and fix its cause is advantageous, but when the nature of the problem is more complex, never think twice about calling in your trusted mechanic to do the job for you.

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