Door striker plates are the U-shaped clips that serve as the anchor for the door latches. The door striker plates are installed in the door jambs, and precisely aligned with the door latches so that the latches catch onto the striker plate when the doors are closed. The door striker plate is made of hardened steel to resist wear as it is subjected to constant contact with the door latch. Usually striker plates last for the life of the vehicle, however, they can sometimes develop problems and cause issues with the doors. Usually a bad or failing door striker plate will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential problem that should be serviced.
1. Door rattles or is loose
One of the first symptoms of a bad or failing door striker plate is a door that rattles or comes loose. If the door striker plate somehow becomes damaged or worn, the latch will not be able to grip it as securely and the door will rattle as a result. The rattling may become especially pronounced when the vehicle is in motion.
2. Door moves up and down when shut
Another symptom of a problem with the door striker plate is a door that moves up and down when it is shut. If the door moves up and down then that may be a sign that the striker plate is damaged or perhaps come loose This can also be a sign of a problem with the latch so closer inspection is recommended.
3. Door is difficult to shut
Another symptom of a possible problem with the door striker plate is a door that is difficult to shut. If the door’s striker plate comes out of alignment with the door’s latch, it can cause difficulty closing the door. The door may require a slam, or multiple tries in order to stay closed. A bad striker plate can also cause a door to unexpectedly come open, which can be a safety hazard if the vehicle is in motion.
While door striker plates are made of hardened materials to resist wear, they can still go bad, and cause issues with the doors. If you suspect that your door striker plates, or latches, may be having an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if your car needs a door striker plate replacement.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Door Striker Plate and was authored by Ed Ruelas.