Old Cars, Winter Cold, And Funny Door Locks: Deciphering The Problem

Old cars relied on locking mechanisms that rotated a c-shape component around a bolt as the door shut. If you currently have a car that is at least twenty or more years old, you probably have a car with this type of locking mechanism. If you are also experiencing doors that do not shut and hold tight in cold weather, you may need some auto repair assistance with this matter. Before you take your antique vehicle into the shop, however, do all of the following to the door locks first to make sure a visit to the auto repair shop is even necessary.

Pull the Doors Open

On very cold days, condensation will collect in the large cracks of these doors and inside the locking mechanisms of these old cars. (Oddly enough, it only seems to affect the front doors where the power lock controls are located.) The doors will make a lot of cracking, crackling and creaking as you pull them open. This is all of the ice and frozen moisture breaking and disengaging inside the doors and along the edges of the door frame. This is the first step to getting the moisture and ice out to make sure the locks are only temporarily "broken."

Slam the Doors a Few Times

Now, slam each door a few times. You may notice that one or more of your old car doors does not latch all the way. Instead, the affected doors just hang there like they are busted. It is pretty unnerving the first few times this happens, but you will figure out how to deal with it soon enough. Once you have figured out which doors are not going to latch, close the others and leave them shut.

Get Down and Manually Rotate The C-Shaped Component

Now, with one of the affected doors open, get down on your knees so that you are eye-level with the area where the door lock connects to a bold on the frame of the car. Put your fingers inside this area. You will feel a part that is shaped like the letter "c." Use your fingers to attempt to rotate the "c" toward you into what would normally be the latching/locking position of this component. Do not force it and let it rotate back naturally. Then play with the power locks a few minutes with the button controls on that door before slamming this door closed. Try to shut it all the way as much as you can. Repeat this process with all of the other affected doors.

Last but Not Least, Heat up the Car

When the cold affects the locks on these older autos, heating up the car is a good idea. Let the vehicle run until it is nice and hot inside. Then open and slam the doors a few times before turning the car off. If the doors latch, congrats! You do not have to take the car in for repairs. If they do not latch, take the car in to be fixed at a shop like Independent Transmission.