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RV door won’t open or close? Why do these things happen? What can you do about it?
RV doors are one of the most used parts of your rig. Wear and tear is naturally going to set in because of this constant use. Left unattended, you can expect failure to happen eventually.
The good news is that this can be fixed. Oftentimes, this is just an oversight, and having an extra set of keys or simply jiggling the door can help open it. For more advanced cases, replacing the door parts can fix the problem.
And if the worst comes to the worst, you can always call a locksmith or a door expert to help you.
To prevent this from happening, you should always be mindful of your door when you get out and make sure you don’t lock yourself out accidentally. If there’s any damage, have it fixed or, better yet, have it replaced.
So, let’s discuss why your RV door won’t open or close and what you can do about it. Plus, we’ve added a section to care for other parts related to your doors in one way or another.
RV Door Won’t Close
If you’ve ever talked to an old RVer, you’ll find out that an RV door that won’t close is more common than instances where an RV door won’t open.
So why does this happen? Here are the common causes and what you can do about it.
Misaligned RV Door
This is one of the prime factors why an RV door won’t close. Doors are meant to shut flush against the door frame. Any deviation from its proper angle and your door won’t close properly.
There are three reasons this would happen: the door is damaged, the door is loose, or there is an obstruction preventing the door from operating properly.
You can try and lift it, so it aligns but this should only be treated as a temporary solution. If you don’t repair it, it will only get worse.
There Is An Obstruction Preventing The Door From Fully Closing
Your doors, being entry ways, are constantly exposed to the elements. Rust, dust, and grime can build up on the exposed surfaces. In some instances, this can weaken door latches and hinges and cause them to break. Your door springs can also fall victim to the effects of corrosion, so keep those protected as well.
To prevent this from happening, always check the door hinges. Check for any buildup of dust, grime, and rust. You should also keep these parts lubricated. You’ll need a can of lubricating oil and WD-40 to accomplish that task.
Loose RV Door
This is still related to misaligned doors but is an easier fix.
Constantly opening and closing the doors will loosen the points where the hinges connect between the door and the door frame. All you have to do is constantly check the screws securing the latches on the door and door frame. Tighten the screws, and you should fix the problem immediately.
Take care not to tighten the screws too much because that might shear the heads off.
Your Door Is Damaged
A lot of things can damage your door. Not only that, damage to your door frame and door hinges can lead to the RV door won’t open or close properly.
What causes this?
A direct impact on your door can lead to misalignment. Blunt force applied to your door will deform the surface, pulling and pushing everything in different directions. Even a small ding can lead to a misalignment so take care of your door.
At this point, a simple repair can alleviate the situation but don’t expect your door to operate like it used to. The best option is to replace your door with the right one from the same manufacturer. You should also check if the door frame is damaged. If it is, then you will need some body repair done by a professional.
There’s a Factory Defect Detected
Although this is a rare occurrence, it can happen, and it has happened several times in the past. To fix it, all you have to do is report the occurrence to your manufacturer and ask for a replacement. This is easy especially if you’re still within the warranty period.
RV Door Won’t Open
Ok, so let’s find out why your RV door won’t open. You’ll find that most of the reasons why this happens can easily be solved. Simple vigilance is one way to ensure this doesn’t happen. For others, simple repairs can prevent it.
Accidentally Locking The Door
This is a head slapper and a very common reason why RV door won’t open. Be thankful if this is just the issue you’re facing. You can easily open your RV door by locating your extra set of keys.
Can’t find your keys? There are locksmiths trained to pick RV doors to open them without any intrusive measures.
Many modern RVs have doors designed to automatically lock for increased security.
Child Lock Is Engaged
You should also check if you have the child safety lock engaged. This is another easy fix because you can always disengage the child safety lock to free the door from its locked position.
Seat Belt Caught In Between The Door And Door Frame
If you’re one of those who are always in a hurry to exit the cab, then this might have already happened to you. This usually happens if you have an older vehicle with worn-out seat belt mechanisms. When the seatbelt is left hanging, it can get caught between the door and the door frame.
Sometimes it can catch onto the latch preventing the locking mechanism from locking completely or jamming it into place.
So make sure you wait for the seatbelt to fully retract into position before closing the door. It will only take a second to complete the process. Better yet, replace your old seatbelts. If it does happen to you, you can jiggle the door gently to loosen the caught parts.
This usually happens if you live in a colder area. The cold can make the metal expand, leading to an RV door won’t open properly.
The internal mechanisms inside your door can also freeze, which could lead to sticking. Lubricating these parts are one way to prevent that from happening.
You can thaw these parts out with warm water. You can use antifreeze but be mindful of the pink stain it will leave. Alternatively, you can use a blow dryer. Just be careful as this might damage the paint. One solution is to place a layer of cloth against the surface you want to warm up and blow the hot air onto it instead of directly onto the metal.
One reason why we always advise people to winterize their RVs is to prevent this from happening. Read more about that here: Can You Winterize RV Without AntiFreeze?
Your Locks Are Broken Or Damaged
Most people take RV doors for granted simply because they work most of the time. But when an RV door doesn’t open, that’s when people sit up and take notice.
Loose or broken rods, cables, springs, and other internal mechanisms can knock your lockout of commission. A misaligned bolt can lead to an RV door won’t open because it can’t fully retract into its housing.
You’ll need to contact a locksmith to help you fix or replace your locks for this issue. This isn’t just for fixing your current issue but also for increasing your security.
Door Handle Issues
Some reasons why RV door won’t open is because of the door handle. You need the handle to unlock the lock mechanism. This is hard to do if it is not working properly. Therefore, your RV door won’t open if you have door handle issues.
This problem can exist with either your inside or outside latch. It can even be present in both. Common culprits can be worn-out or broken springs. Because the connection is compromised, your RV door won’t open like it’s supposed to.
You’ll have to replace your door handles if this problem exists.
There’s A Reason Why You Shouldn’t Slam Your Doors Shut
If you have this bad habit, stop it immediately. RV doors are meant to shut close by simply pushing it into place.
Constant door slamming isn’t only bothersome, it’s also potentially damaging to your doors, leading to RV door won’t open eventually.
This violent action can put unnecessary stress on your door hinges and the metal surface your door is made of. It can cause the screws holding your panels to the door to come loose. It can also damage the door frame as the edges of the door hammer into it.
If your RV door has a window (like most RV doors), this could knock the glass panel out. That presents a new set of problems if that happens.
So the next time your RV door won’t open, think about how many times you’ve slammed it shut in the past and try to stop that habit.
If Your RV Door Rattles, Take Action Immediately
Is your door rattling? Well, don’t wait for that to lead to bigger problems. Take action immediately.
Your RV doors are designed to shut flush against your door frame. The rubber seal acts not only to keep the moisture out but also to dampen the vibration while driving your RV. The rubber seals also exist so that the metal surfaces don’t come in contact. Because of that, there shouldn’t be any rattling while you drive.
But this isn’t just related to the rubber seals. Your hinges could also be a reason why your door rattles. Loose hinges lead to misaligned doors. Since your doors are off-angle, the extra movement will lead to excessive stress on the hinges and rubber seals.
A less-serious issue could be your door panels. If they’re loose, you can easily fix them. But before you do that, check inside the door cavity for any loose parts, collected dust, rust, and other foreign objects. You can easily solve this issue by vacuuming these objects out.
While you’re doing that, you could also add dampers, which will absorb the excess vibration your door will naturally experience while you’re driving. These damping mats are readily available at any hardware store.
Clean the surface that you’re going to attach these damping mats on and cover as much area as possible to reduce the vibration noise. You might also want to attach it to other parts of your RV to further minimize the noise level inside your rig.
Here’s a related article to help you stop doors from rattling: How To Stop Truck Doors From Rattling?
Other RV Maintenance Tips
Aside from RV doors won’t open, there are other things on your rig that you have to care about to ensure that everything is working properly. Every little thing can lead to bigger problems. The first ones you should look after are the moving parts to ensure everything is lined up properly and working smoothly.
Keep Your RV On Floor Jacks If You’re Parking It For An Extended Period
One of the unique things about RVs is that even when it is parked, it is still in use. Most of the time, RVs are parked for an extended period of time. This is also a good way to relieve the pressure off of your tires and extend their usable life.
Use these floor jacks to get your RV off of the floor whether in your garage or a trailer park: Lift The Biggest Vehicles With The Best Floor Jack Professionals Use
Keep Your Batteries In Good Condition
RVs need batteries. Not just one. And you can’t just have any old, regular battery in your RV. You’ll need a deep cycle RV battery. We’ve listed options and maintenance tips in this article for you: The Ultimate Car Battery Replacement Guide Shootout
Turn Your RV Furnace Off
Do you travel with your furnace on? Well, you might want to reconsider that next time you drive off. If you’re living alone, it’s always best to turn everything off if you’re not using it. Not only does this increase the safety inside your RV, but it’s also practical because you’ll be saving on the added expenses.Table could not be displayed.
So before you drive off, read this article: Can You Drive RV With Furnace On?
Keep Your Plumbing Clear
Your RV has plumbing that you need to care for. The most important aspect is your toilet. Are you using your stock toilet, or do you have an aftermarket toilet installed? Are you planning to install an aftermarket toilet?
Drain your holding tanks when you park your RV for an extended period of time and add antifreeze when the cold winter comes in.
Here’s an article to help point you in the right direction: The Best RV Toilet To Get For Your Camper
And if you’re wondering if RV toilets have P traps, here’s an article explaining that: Do RV Toilets Have P Traps?
If you have issues with your water pump, here are some tips for handling that: RV Water Pump Won’t Stop Running? Here’s What To Do
Keeping your plumbing system in good condition is a good way to ensure a hassle-free trip when you go on vacation in your RV.
Protect Your Tires
Your tires provide your RV contact with the road. This is why it is crucial to protect your tires at all times. This also applies to your spare tires.
A good way to do that is to use RV tire covers.
RV tire covers keep your tires away from excessive exposure to UV rays. This is the main reason why tires prematurely age. Too much exposure to UV rays can make your tires brittle. Losing their pliant qualities make them extremely prone to blowouts when used on the road.
Another thing that could damage your tires is exposure to the elements. Dust, dirt, grime, and other pollutants can also contribute to premature aging. So keeping them inside RV tire covers is an effective way to shield it from most of these damaging factors.
We have an article discussing how useful RV tire covers are for RVers: Do RV Tire Covers Really Help?
Keep Your RV Clean At All Times
No one likes a dirty RV in the same manner as no one likes a dirty home. Your RV will be subjected to a lot of abuse on the road. The least you could do is keep it clean to reduce the risk of damaging it any further due to neglect.
Dust, dirt, grime, the elements, environmental pollutants, all of these things can cause a chemical reaction to your paint. When left unattended, corrosion can spread to other unaffected parts.
Consider owning professional cleaning tools if you own an RV. This will make the cleaning process easier.
Here’s a related article to help you learn how to clean your RV properly: How To Wash Luxury Car Properly: A Step-By-Step Guide
Take Care Of Your Paint
RVs have the most resilient paint jobs in the world. That’s because manufacturers have considered the fact that these vehicles will sit, most of the time, exposed to the sun and rain. Therefore, a durable layer of paint is needed to protect the metal underneath.
Applying a layer of wax on your paint is a good way to keep it in good condition. The wax provides an extra layer of UV protection to keep your paint in top condition. It will also help excess moisture, and other contaminants slide off and not pool on the surface.
That doesn’t mean there’s no more need to care for your RV’s surface when you know you have wax on. You should still give it a good wipe down to prevent any build-up from occurring.
Treat or repair your paint immediately if you find any peeling, scratches, or damage. If there’s extensive damage, bring it to a professional painter to have it repainted.
At the very least, protect your paint by keeping your RV out of the sun or rain. Use an RV cover when you’re parked, and keep it in your garage when it is not in use.
Here are some tips on how to keep your RV paint in top condition: The Nautical Reason Most RVs Are White
There are a lot of reasons why an RV door won’t open or close. Learning why these things happen can help point you in the right direction to fixing it without damaging your doors. You’ll find that these reasons range from the simplest to the most complex.
Before doing anything, you should thoroughly inspect your door to identify the underlying cause.
Having a locksmith’s number is also very important because they have the tools and skills to handle the most difficult cases. For other cases, a simple lube job is enough to loosen the hinges so you can open or close your doors smoothly.
Always take the time to make a critical assessment and call for help if you’re unsure of what to do to prevent causing any damage to an otherwise perfect door.
What Other Things Should I Expect If I Decide To Live The RV Lifestyle?
There’ll be a lot of challenges along the way. But these challenges are nothing compared to just how fun it is to see life while on the road and enjoy the type of freedom most people won’t be able to experience. Learning about the RV lifestyle in this day and age is important if you’re planning on RVing.
Want to learn more about the RV lifestyle? Read this article: Living In An RV: What To Expect In The New Normal
My Mechanical RV Awning Won’t Extend Or Retract. What Do I Do?
Check the physical condition of your mechanical RV awning. This is usually the case for all types of RV awnings, whether we’re talking about mechanical or electrical RV awnings. All of the components have to be straight to function properly. Once the arms are twisted, you’ll find it hard to retract or extend your RV awnings. This is usually caused by wind damage. So, once it gets too windy, shorten your RV awnings.
Here’s a related article about RV awnings and what to do: Can You Shorten RV Awning?
What About RV Slide Outs That Won’t Open Or Close?
RV slide-outs are notorious for having these issues as well. You should always check the railing for any obstructions if your RV slide outs don’t function properly. Another cause for this could be power delivered to the mechanism extending or retracting it. Check your wiring and have it replaced if it is faulty. Lastly, regular preventive maintenance is one way to ensure your RV slide outs open and close effortlessly.Learn how to take care of your RV slide-outs here: Should RV Slide Outs Be Supported?