Frozen door locks/latches on my '97 - Toyota RAV4 Forums
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#1 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 12:16 PM
bsurfer
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Frozen door locks/latches on my '97

Hi, first time posting on here, so "hello" everyone.

I came across these forums while searching for a solution to an all-too-common problem w/ older RAVs. We have a 97 4-door which we bought in 2002 and we have had this problem EVERY winter. The latches on the front doors freeze up and the doors will not stay closed - usually when the air temps dip into the teens or below. I have researched the topic and found (as confirmed in discussions here) that no one seems to have a solution to this problem.

Well, it happened again this morning and after trying (to no avail) the usual trick of spraying lubricant in the lock and onto the latching mechanism, I resorted to a tried and true "solution." So here goes ...

If you hit the latching mechanism with a hair dryer for 30 seconds to a minute it will thaw out the latch and "presto" your doors are working again. You can actually hear it "unstick." This has worked EVERY time I have tried it, but I am always loathe to do it because it's a pain in the butt to go upstairs and get the hair dryer and then go down to the basement to get the extension cord and then ... you get the picture. Well, after today, this is going to be my first order of business from now on. In fact I am ordering a portable hair dryer that plugs into the lighter and I'm just going to keep it in the glove box.

Anyway, I figured this might be helpful to those experiencing the same problem and I would also be interested in hearing what others have done to combat it.

Happy Holidays!

Bsurfer
 
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#2 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 01:47 PM
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Welcome to the forums...

Do you have power locks ? do you have an alarm system installed?

I have manual locks but someone installed an aftermarket alarm and installed power locks with the alarm... I found in winter time the lock mechanism was freezing and the power lock button on the alarm wasn't functioning properly... In order to lock and unlock the doors I would have to do it manually from the inside or use the key on the outside...

I solved my issue by disabling the alarm relay for the power locks... Haven't had a problem since...

Sometimes it's nicer to have manual options instead of the power options, as you don't tend to have issues with electronics... :P

Just my .02 cents...
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#3 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 01:54 PM
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I have original power locks. No alarm.

If this were a newer car I would look into a permanent fix. But w/ 176,000 miles if I can take care of it w/ a $11 hair dryer that's fine w/ me.

But I agree. Sometimes the more "options" you have the more trouble you can encounter.
 
#4 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 06:25 PM
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I have had the same sticking problems as you have had also, and on those really cold days its no fun outside trying to fix it, but someone on this site mentioned about a deep white penetrating oil, and I tried it, sprayed it on really thick, in every possible hole I could find, and I havent had any more problems since.It was really cold todaty , and I was worried when I went outside, but it opened right up, and I had no problem closing the door either. I will try and find the name for you, but I do remember it was a white lubricating,penetrating spray oil.So far so good, ...Josef....
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#5 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 08:13 PM
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yep, me too...1997 4 door, power locks with an aftermarket code alarm system. The front doors seem to hate the cold, either not locking, or unlocking or sometimes when I go to close the door, it just bounces back, and I have to do it a few times before it will catch and stay closed. I haven't tried the lubricants, I have heard graphite may work. The hair dryer is interesting, never thought of doing that, I wonder what is it about Ravs that make this an issue?
 
#6 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fyrewalker
yep, me too...1997 4 door, power locks with an aftermarket code alarm system. The front doors seem to hate the cold, either not locking, or unlocking or sometimes when I go to close the door, it just bounces back, and I have to do it a few times before it will catch and stay closed. I haven't tried the lubricants, I have heard graphite may work. The hair dryer is interesting, never thought of doing that, I wonder what is it about Ravs that make this an issue?
Hmm.. have any of you considered checking/adjusting the door latch mounted in the door-frame, so that it mates with the locking mechanism more smoothly?
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#7 (permalink) Old 12-18-2007, 10:47 AM
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penetrating spray

Peppster, thanks very much for looking into the name of the spray. That sounds like it could do the trick (obviously has for you ... knock on wood).
 
#8 (permalink) Old 12-18-2007, 06:29 PM
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Hi guys, I checked in my garage, and it was a Teflon, white lithium grease,comes in a spray can with the little red plastic pipe for spraying into small areas, the one I bought was made by Dupont, but I am sure there are other brands out here, I just sprayed it in every possible hole from up above and down below, on my door ,there is a rubber grommet just above the locking mechanism, I removed this and sprayed it in there heavily. this particular type of grease is excellent for this because it does not freeze, it repells water and moisture and will also stand up in very high heat.It really did solve this problem for me, and I hope it will help you also, the spray can was only about $6.00, so it was well worth it. anyways, let me know how you make out with this,, thanks, and take care,,,,Josef,,,,
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#9 (permalink) Old 12-23-2007, 03:10 PM
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O.K I'm curious
How does having a hair dryer in your glove box help you
if your does are frozen and you are on the outside trying
to get in

I had frozen doors a couple of times but it was actually the door
seal that was frozen , not the latch .
I never tug on the door as I don't want to tear/rip the seal .
What usually works is to try a door on the other side of the
Rav or use the rear one .
This usually works as it is the blowing cold wind that makes the
doors stick and there is usually more blowing from one direction then
the other .
If you are having problems with your seals , lube them up with a non
water based lubricant (Armour All , no good) .
Oil seems to work best .
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#10 (permalink) Old 02-29-2008, 09:35 AM
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Me too, exact same problems. I live in Ohio, our winters are cold and lately, just about every morning the drivers door will either not open or it will open but will not latch closed, instead just bounces back. I usually open the passenger door and slide in, however, it makes me feel stupid and I always hope no one is watching me. I will try the spray mentioned and give feedback asap. It seems like this is a problem with these vehicles. My Rav is a 1997 with a code alarm on it.
 
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