Jammed Car Lock: Causes And Fixes For A Stuck Car Door Lock

Fatima Buzdar

October 12, 2022

A woman with red hair wearing a white sweater and sunglasses is opening the door of a white car in a parking area, as if she were an experienced locksmith. Several other vehicles are visible in the background.

While most Torontians will shrug off car door lock problems, we know first hand that a car door lock left unchecked can easily turn in to a nightmare. For example, in Ontario, we are facing a ‘staggering’ spike in auto thefts, and be assured that a faulty car door lock will make it easier for a thief to open your car door and drive away with your property.

Equally worrying, locking yourself out of your car in the middle of the night can lead to hefty emergency services surcharges as well as endanger your well—being while you wait in the dark for help to arrive…

Additionally, turning a blind eye to your car door lock problems does not just endanger you and your car, but it also stacks up the costs you will have to incur in the end. Save yourself further costs and headache, waste no time in getting your car door lock issue resolved.

So, what can you do to fix your stubbornly jamming car door lock? And what might be causing this hassle, anyway? Read below to learn the causes and how you can deal with them, as well as how an automotive locksmith can help.

Common Issues Behind A Car Door Lock Stuck In Opened Or Closed Position

Your car door lock is more intricate than you may think, and there can be countless issues that can leave your car door lock stuck open or close. Trying to pin down the right issue can be a hassle for someone without the proper expertise. Here are some of the common reasons why your door lock just won’t open or close properly.

Malfunctioning Key

Before concluding that the door lock is malfunctioning, you need to ensure that the problem is not due to a malfunctioning car key, rather than a stuck door lock. A malfunctioning key can be a very likely scenario in this case. As such, you should test out the key first before disregarding it as being the root of the issue.

In order to test out this possibility, you should try unlocking the door with a spare key if you have one (it is highly recommended that you keep a spare key!). If the spare key unlocks the car, then obviously the problem is not underlying the car door lock but the key. An automotive locksmith can repair the key in that case, or craft a new spare key, whether it is a mechanical key or a key fob.

Alternatively, if you do lack a spare key to test this theory, you may simply try the other car door locks. If other locks open, but just one does not, then the problem is not within the key.

Faulty Lock Actuator

An actuator is connected to the solenoid, a component that connects the latch and plunger. It plays a big part in locking and unlocking the door, so if it fails to function, then the whole locking mechanism is unable to function properly.

The replacement would entail having to remove the door panel. If the door lock is stuck in locked position, then it gets more complicated. This would then require removal of the seat and door panel from the interior. Then you will need to take out the door cables and old actuator, and purchase a new one to replace the old one.

As you can tell, the process of diagnosing the issue in the actuator and then replacing it can be complex. It may be best left to a locksmith.

Dried Lock

If you have not lubricated your door lock for a long period, then the problem may be coming from the friction because of lack of lubrication. The friction can hold the car door from latching or retracting properly, resulting in a car door stuck in an opened or closed position or making it a hassle to open or close.

Lubricating the lock components can unjam the lock. Preferably, you should avoid WD—40 for this; or at least, you should use it in a very moderate amount. As handy as it is in general, it is generally not recommendable for car door locks. It can allow grime accumulation inside the car door lock, aggravating the issue.

The best lubricants for car door locks are dry and graphite lubricants. Before lubricating your car door lock, make sure to wipe away any dirt with a clean cloth.

Rusted Lock Components

A lock mechanism could have accumulated excessive rust, which can lead to a jammed car lock. Carefully inspect your door lock components for rust. If you notice any rust build—up on the components, you can remove it by wiping with kerosene and then scrapping with a wad of steel wool.

Sometimes, the rust may even lead to broken door lock mechanisms. This may either entail having to replace the rusted lock component or even replacing the lock entirely. An automotive locksmith would have access to the right components, as well as the tools to implement these.

Accumulation of Dirt on Lock Components

The lock components could garden excessive dirt and dust, leading to blockage in the interior of car door lock assembly. You can try to wipe the build—up off from the components with a clean rag. You can also make use of lubricant to help with the process.

Frozen Lock Mechanisms

A freezing cold weather can cause the door lock mechanisms to be frozen. This can impede the door lock from functioning properly. For example, you may notice that the door lock struggles with moving when an attempt to lock or unlock is made.

In this case, you can try to warm it up to thaw it. You will need to utilize tools like a lighter, hair dryer, lock deicer, etc. in order to generate warmth towards the lock and allow it to thaw.

Worn Out Solenoid

A solenoid is an electromagnet that works as the connection between the latch and plunger. As it gets put to work whenever the latch goes under use, it can wear down over time due to constant usage and the lock may stop functioning properly due to that issue. In this case, it will need to be replaced with a new solenoid.

In order to replace it, the car door panel will need to be removed. Then the solenoid will need to be located and taken out. Finally, a new solenoid will need to be bought and added in and then the car door panel can be installed back.

This can be a complicated matter for a layperson. So if you are not confident with conducting this kind of DIY repair, then calling a locksmith may be the best choice.

Latch Wrongly Stuck in Closed Position

Especially due to being worn down because of constant usage, the car door latch may be erroneously stuck in the locked position. For example, the latch jaws may be already closed before catching the door jamb anchor, resulting in a car door latch stuck open. If the issue is not in a bad condition, then you might be able to get it out of the lock position by trying to open the door lock from both sides—the interior and external.

If you find that the car door latch is stuck in a locked position even after that, you can use a screwdriver to gently correct the alignment of the stuck car door latch, while trying to pull the door handle. However, even this attempt may not work if the latch is significantly faulty, requiring you to seek an automotive locksmith to repair or replace it.

Faulty Lock Wiring

The wiring for the locks could have gotten loose or even damaged, requiring repair or replacement. The repair can entail tightening or repositioning the wiring. If these solutions do not fix it, then the wiring would be beyond repair and need to be replaced.

This procedure can be complicated and hard for a layperson to navigate. Instead of wasting your time over it on your own, a professional may be able to better assist you.

Blown Fuse for the Lock

Car door locks opening or closing are dependent upon the command from the fuse. If the fuse blows out, then this can render the locks out of function. The fuse might blow out due to a surge of high voltage. In this case, it would be necessary to replace the fuse.

You should not give a try at trying to repair the electrical issues unless you are proficient. That is beyond a layperson’s capability and best left to a professional so that you do not end up aggravating the problem.

Broken Connections

Your car door lock is an intricate mechanism with countless components that connect with each other to make it function. Hence, if a connection between certain components is hindered, then this can cause the lock to malfunction and result a car door lock stuck in open or close position. With that in mind, broken internal or external connections can be the reason why your car door lock is stuck. The parts affected by damaged connection can be the latch, lock cylinder, and various other parts.

This would require taking apart the whole lock assembly and inspecting it, and then repairing or replacing the components as needed. Obviously, such a tricky endeavor is likely to be beyond a layperson’s capability. A locksmith for cars on the other hand would be proficient with navigating their way around it.

How Can An Automotive Locksmith Help?

As a layperson, attempts to repair the lock issues can lead to aggravating the problem and damaging some components along the way. This is why it is best to call a professional locksmith for cars to fix the lock. An expert automotive locksmith has the expertise to promptly diagnose what is wrong with your car door lock and repair your car door lock without posing any damage. They can open a jammed car door or close it without causing damage.

Additionally, they can get the right door lock components in case old ones require replacement and install them into your lock properly. They can also help with replacing your lock or key entirely. If you are having any issues that appear complicated, then it is best to call a locksmith as soon as possible.

Is Your Car Door Lock Stuck? Our Locksmiths In Toronto Can Unjam It in No Time

There are countless possibilities that result in a car door lock stuck open or close. Resolving them might not be as simple as lubricating the door lock, and can be as complicated as replacing faulty mechanisms while ensuring not to cause further damage. Hence, facing such an issue and having your day—to—day commute disrupted can be highly bothersome. An automotive locksmith can save you the hassle.

Our expert locksmiths in Toronto can diagnose the issue with your door lock and optimally resolve it. Whether it is repairing or replacing the parts, we can get your car door lock back to functioning smoothly in no time!

Safeguard your property with our expert locksmith solutions. Get in touch with our approachable, knowledgeable team.