A door latch is located on every door on your vehicle. It is what keeps the doors shut while you are driving down the road. Each door has two handles, one on the outside and one on the inside. While the handle allows you to open the vehicle, the latch keeps the vehicle locked so no one from the outside can get in unless you let them. The doors can be locked automatically or manually, depending on the type of vehicle you have. Furthermore, most vehicles have a remote control that will unlock, lock, and even open the doors to your car.

Most modern vehicles are equipped with child safety locks. These locks are engaged by flipping a switch when the door is open. Once the door is shut, the door cannot be opened from the inside. However, it can be opened from the outside.

The door latch is operated by a tug, lift, or pull depending on what type of vehicle you have. You must use some force for this operation because it is a safety feature. This way, an object cannot hit the latch and accidentally open it while you are going down the road. Furthermore, a child or an adult cannot accidentally hit the latch because that would be hazardous as well.

Over time, the door handle may come off or the latch may become broken. If the interior handle of the door does not work, chances are the exterior does not work either, and vice versa. If the latch does not work, the door handle may still work, it just depends on what exactly has happened to cause the door latch to break.

Since they can become worn and break over time, it is important to know the symptoms of a failing door latch.

Signs your door latch needs to be replaced include:

  • The door will not shut all of the way
  • The door will not open
  • The door will not stay latched closed
  • The door opens while you are driving down the road

The door latch is an important safety feature of your vehicle so this repair should not be put off. A professional mechanic will be able to repair the door latch in order for your handles to work properly.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does a Door Latch Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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