Car Door Wont Open From Inside Or Outside

  1. Car Door Won't Open From Inside
  2. My Car Door Won T Open
  3. Car Door Won't Open From Inside Or Outside
  4. Car Handle Won't Open Door

We’ve all been there. You head out to your car, only to find that the doors are locked and you don’t have the key. Whether you’ve locked them inside the car or lost them altogether, losing the ability to access your vehicle can be a real disruption.

Fortunately, there are quite a few different ways you can regain access to your car, and some of them don’t even cost money. In this post, we’ll cover some of the top ways to get into your car that has a door that won’t open from the inside or outside.

When a car door won’t open from inside or outside because the door itself has been damaged it is almost always a bodywork issue. Though the car is not deadlocking and the lock is in working condition, the door cannot escape the door frame. This issue can be obvious or rather subtle. If the door handle is free and can operate without too much issue, the problem is likely on the inside of the door where the locks and moving parts are located. If this is the case, you can try pouring warm water over the door to raise the temperature enough so that the door’s internals can get moving. Deadlock Issues. Some cars are addressing this issue due to a security feature installed in them.

1. Unlock Your Door

This sounds simple, and it is, but there may be times when you’re unable to unlock your door for one reason or another. That said, the door locks should be the first thing you check . If, for some reason, the door locks have become jammed or are malfunctioning in some way, it’ll be helpful to know that so that you can direct a locksmith to fix the right problem.

If you don’t think there’s a problem with the door locks themselves, the issue could be with your key fob or unlocking device. Since they’re battery powered electronic devices, they won’t work at all if the battery is starting to go. Some car brands’ key fobs have warning lights or other ways of letting you know that the battery’s about to die, but others won’t give you a clue until it’s past time for a battery replacement.

2. Disengage the Child Safety Lock or Deadlock

All modern cars have child safety locks on the rear doors, which prevents children from opening the doors while the vehicle is in motion. Some even have what are known as deadlocks, which act as a safety mechanism, protecting the vehicle’s occupants after a crash.

Sometimes, these systems can malfunction and cause the doors to become stuck shut. In the mildest cases, you can unlock the door yourself by working with the door handles, but in other cases you’ll be left to find professional help. Since the child locks and deadlocks are part of a vehicle’s safety systems, it’s best to let a professional deal with the issue to prevent damage to the vehicle.

3. Thaw the Car Door

Those of us that live where the air hurts our faces for part of the year will instantly recognize this one. Sometimes, the door just freezes shut, which is sometimes very obvious and sometimes can feel like a complete mystery. If you’re looking at a frozen door and can’t immediately tell where the ice is causing problems, don’t just start hacking away at the door with an ice scraper.

If the door handle is free and can operate without too much issue, the problem is likely on the inside of the door where the locks and moving parts are located. If this is the case, you can try pouring warm water over the door to raise the temperature enough so that the door’s internals can get moving. If you have the option and a little time, moving the car into a garage can also help thaw the door enough to get it open.

If the problem is with the door handle or lock itself, you have a few other options. In these cases, you can pour warm water over the handle to free it, or you might be able to lightly press on the door to break the lock or handle free. In these cases, it’s important to not yank or pull on the door handle too harshly. Modern cars are made with plenty of plastic and other breakable materials, so you’ll just end up with a broken door if you pull too hard.

Also, you might see videos on YouTube or elsewhere that suggest using a blow torch or other extreme heating element to thaw a car door. This is a bad idea, again because of the plastics in doors, but also because you could damage electrical components inside the door or even the paint in some cases.

4. Check the Seat Belt

Seat belts used to be more involved with door locks than they are now, but they can still be a source of problems in modern cars. Because of their design, seatbelts can sometimes end up “locked” while extended all the way or can end up triggering safety warnings in the car’s computer system if someone attempts to ride unbuckled.

Because of this, the seatbelt might cause an issue with the door locks if there is some sort of malfunction between the seatbelt, the door, and the car’s safety systems. If the car, for some reason, thinks that there has been a wreck, it might inadvertently lock the doors to prevent injury or further damage, which can cause a real hard time when it comes to unlocking and opening the door.


5. Try Another Door

Car Door Won't Open From Inside

Many modern cars feature what is known as central locking, which means that all doors tend to lock and unlock together when the system is activated. Even so, you may be faced with a situation where one or more doors are locked while the rest are unlocked. Before throwing in the towel, check all four doors to make sure that there isn’t an unlocked door before calling for help.

6. Use a Spare Key or Make a New One

If you have the option, using a spare key or having a new one made is one of the easiest ways to gain access to your vehicle. You might have to call someone to bring it to you, but a spare is almost guaranteed to get you into your car.

If you don’t have a spare, or if both keys have been locked inside the vehicle for some reason, you’ll need to have one made. New cars have electronic key fobs that send complex electronic signals to your car, which can require a dealer or company-authorized service professional to replicate. Even older vehicles that still have a physical key may require a pro to laser cut or specially size the keys to fit the vehicle.

7. Clean Any Rust or Dirt Build-Up

This is probably less of a concern with the newest vehicles, because many don’t have physical locks on the outside of their doors, but dirt and grime can still cause problems if left unchecked. This can be true for physical exterior locks as well as the inner workings of the door. If you take your vehicle off-road or spend a notable amount of time driving in snowy weather where the roads are caked in sand and salt, you might find that you need to clean the doors and door parts more often.

8. Lubricate the Door Hinges


Over time, dirt and road grime can get into the doors’ hinges and cause issues with the way they open. This is most common in older cars, but all vehicles have door hinges and all of them can experience some sort of malfunction.

Take care to find the appropriate lubricant here. You won’t be able to slap on some WD-40 and move on without a second thought. The lubricant or grease that is used on door hinges is specially made to stand up to the rigors of life on the road and that can lubricate the door over several openings and closings.

9. Repair or Replace the Door Handle, Lock, Latch, or Connection

When all else fails, you may be facing the prospect of having part of your door replaced. This is a tricky situation, because you’re already feeling the pressure of not being able to open the door and the addition of needing to have a part replaced can feel like a real rush.

You can get the door handle, lock, or other parts replaced by the dealer, but you’ll do much better if you shop around to find a shop that can do it for less. Just don’t let the pressure of being locked out of your car make you feel desperate enough to overpay.

10. Remove the Door Panel

This one will take some time and effort on your part, but if you’re handy enough it can be a real lifesaver. The interior door panel hides the window mechanism and conceals all of the internal lock hardware as well. If you’re having trouble unlocking the door, your best bet to figure out what’s going on is to remove the door panel on that door and take a look. Of course, this assumes that you have access to the vehicle’s other doors.

11. Call a Locksmith

Admitting defeat isn’t easy, but it’s sometimes your only choice. If you can’t get into the car, don’t have a spare key, don’t have the ability to unlock the car by thawing it out, and feel like you’re out of options otherwise, your only real option is to call a locksmith.

Many locksmiths offer automotive services, but some do not. You may be feeling desperate to get in your car and get on your way, but make sure you’re looking for help in the right places. You may have roadside assistance available through your vehicle’s manufacturer or even through a credit card provider, so be sure to understand all of the options available to you, free or otherwise.

12. Identify Where Mechanical Failure is Happening

This is a second step to removing the door panel or inspecting the hinges, but you’ll be able to save some time and money if you can at least partially diagnose the problem yourself. This can be more easily said than done, especially if you’re not at all mechanically inclined, but it doesn’t hurt to take a look.

13. Replace the Damaged Door

If you can’t get in and a locksmith or mechanic can’t unravel the problem, your only choice may be to replace the whole door. Sometimes, you can head to the local pull-a-part or junkyard, but in many cases your best choice is to have a dealer or body shop replace the door with a factory-blessed part. Keep in mind that if you do decide to go the junkyard route, you’ll need to make sure that it works with your vehicle’s security and safety systems. Color matching is less important, but can make a big difference in how great or silly your replacement door looks.



Losing the ability to access your vehicle for any reason can be frustrating, but it’s not a reason to panic or lose your temper. If anything, getting upset will only make the situation worse. Keep your wits about you, and be sure that if you decide to call a professional, you’ve got an understanding of what you need and what it should cost. Don’t get taken advantage of to solve a temporary problem.

On the driver's side of the door, the door will not open from the outside. When I get into the passenger side, I can use the door handle on the driver's side of the door to open door from the inside.

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Isai Rodriguez

Hello. This is a common issue. The door handles are linked to the latch assembly via metal rods. The rods are inserted into the door handle which is made of plastic. Over time, the plastic part of the door handle where the rod is located breaks. The repair is a complete door handle replacement. Some vehicle have updated parts where the stress point of the handle is now metal. A mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, will be able to inspect the door issue for you and confirm if this is in fact the issue.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see ourterms of servicefor more details

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