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

We’ve all been in that situation. Your automobile door will not open no matter how hard you yank or shove it. It’s inconvenient, especially if you’re carrying a toddler or a shopping bag and are in a rush.

We’ll discuss how to open a car door that won’t open from the outside or the inside today. There are a surprising amount of plausible causes for such a simple problem. We’ll go over the most prevalent ones and how to resolve them.

Different Reasons Why Your Car Door Won’t Open

1. Rust and Dirt Build up

Rust or dirt accumulation on or within the locking mechanism may be the cause of your automobile door not opening. The iron in your car oxidizes, causing rust. There’s just so much you can do to stop it because it’s a natural chemical response.

Rust on the car door.

If you live where the roads are salted throughout the winter, you may find that rust spreads more quickly. The chemical reaction that causes rusting is accelerated by the addition of salt. Dirt accumulates on its own over time. It’s inevitable to happen because your car travels many miles.

🧰 Things You’ll Need:

  • WD-40 or another rust removal spray.
  • A screwdriver, examine your car to determine whether you’ll need a flathead or Phillips.
  • Pliers.
  • A wire brush.
  • A cloth.

🛠 How to Fix It:

To access the locking mechanism, you’ll need to remove the door panel. It’s not as difficult as you may imagine, and even novice DIY car mechanics can handle it. You should be able to pry up the panel’s trim pieces with a screwdriver. You can then remove any plastic covers that are hiding screws.

After that, you can finally put the screwdriver to its proper use. Before you can access the locking mechanism, different vehicles will require different amounts of disassembly, so be sure to obtain a guide for your specific make and model.

Clean the locking mechanism with the rust removal spray, brush, and cloth once you’ve gained access to it. To ensure that your job lasts a long time, look for a rust-inhibiting spray.

2. Faulty Lock System

If your door lock is broken, determining the specific cause of the problem may take some time. A problem with a wire, fuse, or the solenoid of your lock could be the cause. This could be the problem if you can open your car with your key but the power locks aren’t working. If that’s the case, it’s best to have some background knowledge before attempting to remedy it.

Woman opening the car door with a key.

🧰 Things You’ll Need:

  • Patience – Some testing will be necessary.
  • A replacement for the faulty part once you’ve identified it.
  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers

🛠 How to Fix It:

If none of your door locks are working, start by checking the fuse box. Then check the door lock switches to see whether they’re working. If all but one are, the solenoid on that door could be the source of the problem. If that isn’t the case, try to engage the lock by listening to it, the noise you hear could reveal a great deal.

To access the locking mechanism, remove the door panel once again. Determine which portion of the mechanism or the environment around it is malfunctioning. When you’ve figured out what’s wrong, replace the part and retest everything to make sure it’s working properly.

3. Wiring Issues

Wiring is probably not the first thing that springs to mind when you think of cars, but it could be the cause of your jammed car door. The wire harness surrounds your car’s frame and transports electrical impulses throughout the vehicle’s body.

Wiring inside the car door.

The wires in the harness flex when you open or close your automobile door. Wires can fray and become loose over time. Your door may become jammed if this occurs.

🧰 Things You’ll Need:

  • Stranded wire rather than solid, designed for use in an automotive.
  • Crimping tool or soldering iron.
  • An insulator made for automotive use.
💡 Note: Do not use regular electrical tape.

🛠 How to Fix It:

Find the faulty or broken connection. Because the wire harness is hidden within the paneling of your car, you’ll have to remove it to fix the problem. After that, crimp or solder the broken connection back together, then wrap or seal it with an automobile insulator. Because of the high temperatures in the location, normal electrical tape adhesive will wear out quickly.

4. Broken Handle

This is a rather self-explanatory situation. Because you apply the majority of the effort on your automobile door through the handle, problems can arise. A door handle can break in one of three ways.

In the first case, the handle may break. This will be clear right away. The rods and wires that make up the handle mechanism are the other two sections that could be impacted.

🧰 Things You’ll Need:

  • If the handle itself is broken, you’ll need a new one to replace it with.
  • If the rod or cable is broken, you’ll need replacements for those.
  • Painter’s tape.
  • A Phillips screwdriver. You might need to use a Torx driver or socket wrench instead.

🛠 How to Fix It:

Put painter’s tape around the door handle if you’re replacing it. This method reduces the chances of scratching the paint. Remove the original handle after that. Pay close attention to the way it was fastened.

Make the same electrical connections and other interconnections when installing the new door handle. Reattach the rod or cable if it has become disconnected. They’ll need to be replaced if they’re broken.

5. Structural Damage to the Door

Accidents are the most common cause of structural damage. You won’t have to guess if that’s the problem because it’ll be obvious right away. In most circumstances, you should seek expert help because the damage may be greater than you realize.

Damaged car door after an accident.

🧰 Things You’ll Need:

Depend on the amount and type of damage.

  • A screwdriver might not be necessary but could come in handy.
  • Potentially a replacement door.
  • Tools required to reconnect the wiring.

6. Deadlock

Some car types have a feature known as a deadlock. A deadlock prevents tampering with your door lock from the inside. It’s intended to deter would-be burglars from breaking into your vehicle. It can, however, pose issues if you don’t realize you’ve engaged it or if you’ve misplaced your keys.

Car door deadlock from the inside.

🧰 Things You’ll Need:

  • Your keys or key fob.
  • Alternately, a good locksmith.

🛠 How to Fix It:

Unlocking a deadlock can sometimes be as simple as pressing the unlock button twice on your key fob or manually disengaging them with your key. If your key fob isn’t working or you’ve misplaced your keys, you should contact a locksmith. It’s not worth the time, effort, or potential damage to try to fix it on your own.

If your key fob isn’t working, check the battery first before panicking or stressing about the cost of calling a locksmith.

7. Automatic Lock

Do you recall when doors had keypads? A keyless fob that opens your car when you’re within a particular distance or touch a button is the current version. They’re convenient till they don’t work anymore. It’s usually the key fob, not your door that’s at fault.

Driver locking his car with a button.

If the problem persists after replacing the key fob, go back to step three and inspect the wiring.

🧰 Things You’ll Need:

  • New batteries for your key fob.
  • New key fob.

🛠 How to Fix It:

Replace the batteries in your key fob if it looks to be dead. If it doesn’t work, get a new one and have it programmed by an expert. With an automatic lock, this will solve the majority of your problems.

How to Open A Jammed Car Door Without Visiting Your Mechanic

1. Lubricating

Check for an obstruction in the keyway. Adjust your automobile lock assembly after opening the door. You’ll be able to tell right away if something is stuck. Reassemble the lock assembly after lubricating it. Continue to lubricate until no more obstructions exist.

2. Repair the Broken Connection

After you’ve opened the door, troubleshoot the lock assembly. Use the new parts to repair all of the problematic connections if necessary.

3. Remove the Lock Panel

Detach your door panel using the appropriate tools. After removing the screws from the door panel, you’ll be able to easily locate the problem. All electrical connections to the panel must be disconnected immediately. Check what’s causing the door to jam by removing the panel and its plastic cover from the inside.

Determine whether the issue is mechanical or internal to the shafts. Attach a nut to the shaft’s end with a nut. It will strengthen the grip and make it easier to open the door from the outside.

If the door still won’t open from the inside, look at the power locking system. You can either replace it or repair it, depending on the extent of the damage. Check for any broken parts in your local assembly.

Don’t forget to inspect your door lock motor as well. Remove the door panel first before proceeding with the rest of the procedure.

4. Get A Locksmith

Due to a failed lock assembly, your car may refuse to open. That’s why you’ll need a locksmith to help you open the door. As a result, there will be no harm to the vehicle when the door is opened. It is considerably more pleasant to recognize the problem after opening the door.

5. Hair Dryer

If the lock has become stuck due to the cold, use a hairdryer to unjam it. Find an outlet close to your vehicle and plug in your hairdryer there. The hairdryer should then be set to the highest setting. Then, for a minute or two, blow hot air through the keyhole to melt any ice that may have developed on the locking mechanism.

Safety Precautions to Keep In Mind When Fixing a Car Door

It is relatively safe to repair your car door. There are, however, some safety measures you should be aware of.

  1. If your vehicle becomes stuck, turn off the alarms while attempting to repair the door, the alarm may go off. Startling anybody nearby, including yourself, before attempting to repair the door, you can also notify your neighbors.
  2. Consider what would happen if your automobile broke down in the middle of the highway. There’s a good probability the traffic cops may ask to examine your paperwork. Unfortunately, if you don’t have them, you may find yourself in trouble. As a result, you must always take identity documents with you when traveling.
  3. Because you’ll be working from the inside, be careful not to damage any wiring. Alarms, airbags, and even automatic windows are examples.
  4. It is OK to seek the locksmith’s services, as much as you would like to be a hero and save money. Unlike you, who may do damage to the vehicle while attempting to open it, the locksmith will guarantee that there is minimal or no harm.

How do I open my car door when both handles don’t work?

Don’t panic. Here’s how.

Grab a selection of different screwdrivers. Make sure you’ve got a window open, so you don’t end up locked in the car.

The first thing you need to do is remove the front seat on the passenger side in order to get to the door panel. You need to disconnect the seat from the floor by removing the bolts on both sides. Then disconnect the negative battery. Move the seat forward so that you can undo the bolts and fully disconnect the seat.

Once the seat is out of the way, you can get to the door panel. Find the section just above the handle and undo the bolts. Once these are undone, you can get inside the door panel. Hopefully, you will be able to locate the lock mechanism and unlock the door manually. This might involve a bit of trial and error.


Your car may become stuck for a variety of reasons. Rust or dust, connectivity troubles, broken or damaged doors, and other factors could be to blame. If you are able to repair the car, take care not to harm it. There’s no danger in getting locksmith assistance if you can’t handle it. You can also visit your mechanic for a check-up.

Repairing your own car is enjoyable, inexpensive, and a great way to learn new skills. It can also be difficult at times. Always take your car to a competent technician or contact a locksmith if you feel out of your depth.

Doing your own repairs isn’t always possible due to time constraints or a lack of ability. That’s OK. It’s what keeps garages afloat.

Hopefully, you’re reading this post because you enjoy vehicles, not because you’re locked out of your car in the rain. In any case, we’re delighted to have you with us today. We hope you’ve learned how to open a car door that won’t open from the outside or the inside.

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About Brock Rangel

Hi, I am Brock, and I am the lead editor/photographer for TheCarColony. I have been a mechanic for over 14 years now, and I am here to spread my car knowledge across the web!

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