In order to drive from point "A" to point "B", you have to first open the driver door. However, nothing is as frustrating as arriving to your destination only to discover that your interior door handle is not allowing you to exit the vehicle. Asking about how to fix door handles is not among the most frequently asked questions here on YourMechanic.com, but it is one of the most critical. A malfunctioning interior door handle can be a tremendous safety hazard; especially if you have to exit the vehicle in case of fire or another accident.
Even if a vehicle is equipped with automatic doors, United States vehicle ordinances require a manual interior door handle to be installed on any vehicle that legally drives on city, county, state of federal roads. The interior door handles are put through a lot of abuse over the years, which will eventually cause them to wear out and potentially break. If they need to be replaced, it often requires the skills of an ASE certified mechanic to complete the repairs correctly.
Noted below are a few of the warning indicators that a problem with the interior door handle exists. When the signs of repairs with these handles arise, you will need to act quickly in order to reduce other mechanical or electrical damage of components inside the vehicle's doors.
1. The door handle is loose
Door handles are manufactured out of plastic or in some cases a metallic coated polymer. They are attached to the door panel and connected to either a cable that operates the door lock mechanism or an electric relay that opens doors electronically. Most of the door handles are still connected to a manual cable. As they are continually operated, they can become loose over a period of time. When this occurs, it becomes more than just an aesthetic issue. A loose door handle will also loosen the cable that is attached to the door lock. If this issue goes unrepaired, it can lead to the cable breaking and rendering the door latching mechanism useless.
To avoid this serious issue, make sure you contact a mechanic is your door handle starts to become loose. In many cases, this is an easy fix for an experienced mechanic to make that can save you a tremendous amount of money in the long run.
2. More effort required to open the door from the inside handle
A solidly mounted interior door handle will open a door with relative ease. However, as the door handle hinge gets used, it can slip or become loose; which can cause the door to open requiring more effort. This added effort is often caused by a kink in the linkage and can lead to the door handle snapping off the interior door panel. As soon as you start to notice that there are issues with opening and closing the door, you should be proactive about replacing the interior door handle.
3. The door will not open at all
If the interior door handle has broken on the inside, it's very possible that the door latch on the inside is also broken. This will cause the door to not open. Most of the components on the inside of a door will need grease to keep them lubricated. As time goes by, the grease on these parts will begin to dry up, which can cause the parts to seize up. In order to reduce the potential of this happening to you when you least expect it, contact a local ASE certified mechanic so they can inspect and replace the interior door handle before it causes more damage.
Most door handles will last a lifetime without ever causing you stress or frustration. However, until they create the everlasting door handle, there will be times when the interior door handle breaks. If you notice any of the above warning signs, be proactive and contact one of our local mechanics here at YourMechanic.com to determine whether the interior door handle should be replaced.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Symptoms of Bad or Failing Interior Door Handles and was authored by Timothy Charlet.