No matter what make or model vehicle you drive, it has door handles. You have a door handle located on the inside of your car, as well as the outside. While we don’t often think of this as a big important part of our car, the fact is that without a door handle we wouldn’t be able to get into our vehicle. The exterior door handle takes quite a beating. Not only are we opening and closing the door constantly, the exterior handle is exposed to all kinds of weather conditions.
Over time it's no wonder that the exterior door handle can fail and become broken. It may not even be the handle, rather the door latch that has broken down. Either way this isn't a problem you can ignore. Repair isn't usually possible, instead you'll have to replace the exterior door handle. As far as a timeline goes, every vehicle is different so there is no set mileage that it is meant to last for. If you have your vehicle for an extended period of time, there's a good chance the replacement will need to be done at some point.
Here are some classic warning signs that your exterior door handle has reached the end of its life expectancy and needs to be replaced.
You can't get your door to shut. This can signal a problem with the actual door handle or the latch assembly.
You can't get your door to open. This again signals a problem with the door handle, or the latch assembly.
Some people resort to entering and exiting their vehicle through the window if the door handle is broken. This is clearly not desirable and can even be dangerous, as it's not uncommon to fall out rather than climb out gracefully. At the same time you don't want to be driving around, especially at high speeds, with a door that isn't able to close properly.
The exterior door handle is an important part of your vehicle’s door system. Once this part fails you may not be able to get the door to open or close, and you’ll have to resort to entering and exiting through the window of your car. This is far from ideal. If you’re experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms and suspect your exterior door handle is in need of replacement, get a diagnostic or book an exterior door handle replacement service with a professional mechanic.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does an Exterior Door Handle Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.