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Imagine getting to your favorite spot after a long drive only to find out that you’re stuck inside your car and can’t get out.

Why Won’t My Car Door Open From the Inside?

If your car door’s not opening from the inside, these could be some of the reasons why.

Jammed Door Latch

Door latches have small claws that keep the door open or closed while the vehicle is moving. These claws are normally open to catch the door jamb anchor and rotate it to close the door.

Over time, mechanical wear, defective latch components, and torn cables can prevent the door latch from doing its job, and you might even find yourself unable to get out of the car.


Exposure to the elements can cause rust to form in the door’s lock assembly, latch, and other interior components.

In some cases, this problem can be resolved by lubricating the affected parts with WD-40. But if this solution doesn’t work, it might be time to replace the affected components.

There’s Structural Damage to the Door

Structural damage to the door usually happens after an accident.

Metal rods might have bent after the impact, obstructing paths of motion for the door to open.

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The Safety Lock Is Engaged

If you’re unable to open your car’s rear doors, you might want to check if the child lock is engaged.

Child locks are usually installed in the rear doors because in some states, children are legally required to sit in the back seat.

In most vehicles, the child lock safety switch can be found on the edge of the door. There are, however, some vehicles that have a key-operated child lock safety mechanism.

You’re Deadlocked

Deadlocking is a security feature that you’ll find in a lot of luxury brands and high-end vehicles.

An activated deadlock feature prevents the passengers from getting out of the vehicle unless it’s unlocked from outside using a master key.

The method of activating this security feature can vary, depending on the vehicle’s make and model.

Usually, pushing a few buttons in a certain order or pressing the lock button on the remote can activate this feature.

Damaged Interior Door Handle

The interior door handle is linked to the door latch, disengaging it from the latter and letting the passenger push the door open.

The interior door handle is usually made from plastic. After some time, the handle or latch connections can break, preventing you from getting out of the car.

Defective Power Door Lock

Electric power door locks usually use a permanent magnet (PM) reversible motor and a control switch to lock and unlock all doors.

The electric motor uses a built-in circuit breaker to operate the lock-activating rod.

A blown fuse or wiring issue can prevent you from unlocking the car door from the inside using the power door lock mechanism.

The Door’s Simply Frozen

car door handle frozen
Staying in an area with extremely cold temperatures can cause ice to form on the door from outside.

Staying in an area with extremely cold temperatures can cause ice to form on the door from outside.

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Once this happens, you might have trouble getting out of your car even when you’re sure that everything’s working as it should.

How to Get Out of a Car That Won’t Open

If stuck doors are preventing you from getting out of your car, here are a few ideas you might want to try.

Honk the Horn

Nothing’s more alarming than a vehicle that won’t stop honking its horn.

Honking the horn can draw attention to your car, and you might be able to find someone to help you out.

Call for Help

A charged phone and cellular signal can come a long way during an emergency. If you’re unable to get out of your vehicle, you can try calling a friend, relative, or even a locksmith to provide some assistance.

Break the Glass

Attempting to break the window glass might sound a bit extreme, which is why you should only consider it if you’ve exhausted all the possible ways to get out of your car.

So before breaking the glass, try to roll down window and open from outside or from the passenger front door.

Before breaking the glass, try to roll down window and open from outside or from the passenger front door.

Anthony Harlin, ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician

You’ll only be able to break a window using the right tools like a hammer-like product or a glass-breaking device.

It’s also advisable to go for the side windows instead of the windshield because they’re tempered, which means they’ll shatter and you’ll be able to get out.

Trying to break the front windshield will only leave a crack, and leave a spider web pattern.

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Keep in mind, however, that there are some vehicles that come with laminated windows. You might have to kick these down to get out of your car.

Wiggle Out of the Trunk

Vehicles built after 2002 have a mechanical release lever inside the trunk as standard equipment. Some late-model cars also have a collapsible back seat that you can pass through to get to the trunk while inside the vehicle.

Precautionary Measures

There’s no telling when or how your car doors will be inoperable from the cabin.

One way of steering clear from this dilemma is by checking your doors regularly and ensuring that all components are working as they should.

Even the slightest indication of a stuck latch can easily become a major issue if left unaddressed, so it’s best to stay on top of it and have a trained professional inspect your vehicle right away.

It’s also a good idea to have an emergency escape kit in your vehicle in case of major mechanical and electrical issues that will keep you locked inside the cabin.

Most emergency escape kits contain glass-breaking devices and seat belt cutters, too.

There are also six-in-one tools that you can buy. Each contains a cutter, flashlight, emergency signal, car charger, glass breaker, and a portable power bank. These tools can cost about $50.

About The Authors
Anthony Harlin, ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician
Reviewed By Anthony Harlin, ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician

Technical Reviewer at

Tony Harlin is a Master Gas and Diesel Diagnostic Technician with over 18 years of experience. He works full-time at a large independent automotive shop as a driveability and repair technician working on all types of vehicles with a focus on diesels. ASE certifications include A1-A9, L1 and L2, as well as X1.

CarParts Research Team
Written By Research Team

Automotive and Tech Writers

The Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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