Car Door Won’t Open From Inside Or Outside? Here’s The Fix

Unlocked your car door, but it won't open? Or got stuck inside your car? Here are ways to fix a car door that won't open inside or outside.

Have you ever unlocked your car door, grabbed the handle, pulled, and failed to open the car door? Or worse yet, have you been stuck inside your car, unable to get out?

This certainly isn’t an ideal situation. The problem could lie with the electronic locking mechanism or the physical lock and its related components.

In this guide, I will show you five fixes you can try when your car door doesn’t open from the inside or the outside. One of them is almost guaranteed to work for you.

Let’s get started!

Table of ContentsShow

Automatic Door Lock Activated

Car Door Lock System

Most modern cars have a system preventing car doors from opening while driving. While your motor is on and the transmission is in Drive, all the doors are locked.

If this system malfunctions, your vehicle may remain locked even when you switch into Park or if your key isn’t in the ignition anymore.

This issue usually has an easy fix. Your car has an unlock button that deactivates the automatic door locking. The car doors should then open.

You might have to check your owner’s manual to find this button. Once clicked, you should hear an unlocking sound for all doors.

If you’re stuck inside and this doesn’t work, you might have to lower a window and unceremoniously climb out. Try using your key from the outside. If this doesn’t work, call an auto locksmith.

Deadlock Turned On

Car Door Lock

Most modern cars have a security system called a deadlock. Deadlocks ensure that your car doors can neither open from the inside nor outside. The reason for such a safety precaution is to prevent third parties from gaining access to your car.

However, this system is very dangerous when children or other people are still in the car, as they can’t exit it in an emergency.

Often double-tapping your key’s lock icon will enable a deadlock. Your car’s alarm should activate at the same time. If someone moves inside the vehicle, it’ll go off.

Make sure to read up on how your deadlock works in your owner’s manual. If you need to, there is also a way to disable this function.

On hot summer days, ensure the window is open whenever you lock the car. Never leave anyone inside! It will be fatal.

Again, if you’re stuck inside with closed windows, safely smash one. This is an extreme measure, but it might save your (or someone else’s) life.

Dust And Dirt

Man cleans car door handle with cloth and car detailing

Most modern cars are surprisingly flexible and can master most reasonable terrains.

However, taking your car off-roading or through particularly dusty areas can lead to excess dirt in your door. This, in turn, prevents your car door from opening both from the inside and the outside.

The door latch will need special attention as dirt can weaken the structure and cause the door to jam.

A good clean can work wonders. Use a lubricant spray to stop frictionGreasing the lock and hinge may also help open your car door again.

You might need help from a professional auto locksmith if you can’t remove the debris.

Damaged Lock

key in door

After an accident, you’ll have many things to think about. Your locks might be the last thing on your mind, but they could be damaged or broken.

Sadly, your keys will be useless in this situation. The only option you have is to get a new car door.

Go to a mechanic focused on structural car repairs to save costs. Attempting home repairs will often damage the door even more. As a result, your best option is to spend some money and get your car door fixed by a professional.

Issues With Your Door Handle

Car Door Handle

Over the years, your door handle could deteriorate.

However, once you know your handle isn’t in the best condition, it’s tricky to pinpoint where the issue is. Something as simple as a worn spring can prevent your car door from opening.

If you’ve had experience working with cars, get a handle online and replace the entire handle system of the car door.

It’s better to have your mechanic look at the issue and get it fixed by an expert. This option may cost you more, but it’ll maintain your warranty and ensure the job is done correctly.


Car doors are complex structures packed with modern technology. We’ve also looked at how this technology can malfunction and what to do. Occasionally your car door may also not open due to dust, dirt, or a broken lock.

In most cases, a home repair should only be done by an experienced handyman or woman. The costs for your local mechanic will differ depending on the damage done to the door.

simple lock replacement will cost you around $70 and $150. If your car door is damaged and bent, you’ll be looking at a price range of $500 to $2,500.

Don’t forget that you might also need assistance from a professional auto locksmith.

This kind of repair definitely isn’t cheap. But it’s worth it compared to being stuck in a car without a way out!

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Benjamin Kitchen

Ben is an IMI-qualified light vehicle technician from England with experience in a fast-fit garage. He aims to help drivers worldwide with common automotive problems. You’ll often find him working with his 1.2 Vauxhall Corsa. It may have a tiny engine, but in eight years it's never once let him down!