Door bounces open in cold weather | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

Door bounces open in cold weather


April 4, 2009
Reaction score
City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
2002 Limited
OK folks, with the cold weather starting to arrive I am left worrying about my car (02) door problems again. When it gets cold, the door just bounces back open until it is warmed up sufficiently. Obviously this causes a problem when I am stuck trying to close the door for 10 minutes before I can go on my commute in the morning. Usually only happens when it has rained or snowed and below 32F--therefore water has somehow frozen in the latch.

I think I need a new latch mechanism, but don't know the part number or how hard this is to replace.


Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

Im not gonna lie, thats kinda funny. The rear hatch on mine froze in a snow storm in March, 10 minutes with the steam cleaner followed by the WD fixed it for me.

Have you tried to grease/lube the latch in the past? The PO of my '02 must have used about 5lbs of grease on the drivers door alone.

My '02 did the same thing until a liberally sprayed it with an eletrical contact cleaner followed with regular applications of WD40 every couple of months.

I was going to replace mine until I saw how much old grease, that the PO had packed in there and had collected dirt, was in around the latch. I guess there was so much crap in there, that it would make the latch hang up and not operate correctly.

YMMV, but I have not had a door bounce back open for the past couple of winters, just wanted to share my experience.


using WD 40 actually caused this to happen in my 01 taurus. Sprayed it with silcone and hasnt happened since.

Sticky Door latch

My explorer did the exact same thing when it started getting cold. I was able to get it to stay latched by pulling the outside door handle a second time after i initially opened it. Driving down the road trying to hold your door shut is not very fun in the freezing weather.

Yeah, I tried WD40 before and not only did it not work it made it worse. I was thinking off using Silicone spray, but I think I may need to take out the whole latch from inside the door panel. Possibly the lube on the latch mechanism is worn out?

I never actually tried to drive with the door open :D I just called and said I would be late. It's definitely funny to think about now, but getting stuck in the morning I start swearing at the door and it really ruins the morning.

Explorer Door Bounce Back / Wont Stay Closed

Here's what worked for me:

Explorer door bounce back happens in cold weather when water freezes in the latch. Normally, when the outside or inside door handle is pulled, the mechanism to the upper left of the latch actuates, then is released by a return spring after the handle is released. This latch mechanism gets stuck in the “Pulled” position when ice gets into this area.

I Made a shield from a food container lid. and taped it to the
inside of the door using carpet tape. Its positioned directly above the
Latch at an angle to redirect any water from dripping on the latch from above.
Make sure it doesn’t interfere with the raising/lowering of the window.

Some of the water that drips on to the door release handle conduit or lock rod will run rearward and downward along the conduit or rod and end up in the latch to later freeze.
I put zip ties around each of these just in front of the latch to interrupt the path of the water and deflect the water to the drain holes at the bottom of the door.

We've had some rain/freeze cycles since doing this and the door worked perfectly.

No guarantees and I'm not a mechanic, but this worked for me.

Pictures at the following link.

Have you checked to make sure that your door isn't sagging at the hinges? My gen1 explorer had this issue after many years and I had to lift on the door a bit to get it to shut. The hinges had just worn out and the door sagged and didn't line up with the latch quite right any more.

If that is the issue, I'm not sure why the cold would matter other than that steel changes size a bit with temp changes. To check, just slowly close the door from the outside and see how well it lines up. You can also check the latch and look at the wear on the parts. You may be able to see if the door is coming in a bit low.


Unfortunately with winter, this happens. The Mrs. has a Cadillac CTS, same problem always the rear door passenger side. A hair dryer fixes the problem. I wouldn't rush into replacing parts; I don't think you have any worn or malfunctioning parts. I belong to several car forums and you always see this type of issue in the winter.

Fortunately, I did find the solution. I head down south for 3 months, the locks work perfectly.