The exterior door handles are the handles responsible for opening and closing the doors from the outside of the vehicle so that passengers may enter the vehicle. The handles are mounted on the exterior of the vehicle’s doors and are attached to the door latch mechanism, which locks and secures the doors shut. When the handle is pulled, a series of linkage rods pull on the latch mechanism, so that the door can be opened. Due to their high frequency of use, anytime the vehicle is entered, the exterior door handles can sometimes be prone to heavy wear, which can cause issues with opening the vehicle doors. Usually bad or failing door handles will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential problem.
1. Loose door handle
One of the first symptoms of a problem with an exterior door handle is a loose door handle. A worn or damaged exterior door handle can sometimes become noticeably loose in the door. The handle may hang noticeably loose when it is pulled on, and may require more force than normal to open the door
2. Door will not open
Another common symptom of a problem with the exterior door handle is a door that will not open. If the door handle breaks, either internally or externally, or any of the linkage rods or clips break, it can cause problems with opening the door. The handle may require additional force to open the door or will have no resistance when pulled on if broken.
3. Door does not shut or has trouble staying shut
Another common symptom of a problem with the exterior door handle is a door that does not shut, or has trouble staying shut. If the door handle or any of the linkage components break, they can cause problems with the door latch mechanism when closing the door. A broken latch may cause the door to require slamming, or multiple tries to close, or may not stay latched closed when shut.
Exterior door handles are a simple component, and problems with them can usually be detected quite easily. However, due to their location in the door, they can be difficult to service. If you suspect that one or more of your vehicle’s exterior door handles may be having an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if the exterior door handle needs replacement.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Exterior Door Handle and was authored by Eduardo Ruelas.