I don’t know about you, but I just hate it when people slam my car doors. So, I’ve decided to dedicate today’s article to figuring out ways to prevent that from happening.
In today’s world of Ubers, Lyfts, and ride-sharing apps, we’ve become increasingly comfortable with having strangers in our cars. Therefore, we’ve also had to become comfortable with telling our passengers, whether they’re friends and family or complete strangers, not to slam the doors. However, sometimes issuing a preventative warning simply doesn’t cut it. So we need to resort to other measures.
Before I tell you about two of the best ways to stop people from slamming your car doors, we’re going to talk about the consequences of slamming doors. I’m also going to teach you how to identify exactly which part of your car is making the noise, in order to deal with it the best way you can. So without further ado, let’s get into it.
Does Slamming a Car Door Damage It?
Because many car manufacturers do stress tests on every part of their products, you may think that such a powerful machine should be able to withstand a bit of roughhousing. However, that’s not the case. In fact, I’m sure that we’ve all slammed our trunk lid shut on occasion. And we’ve seen how easily we can bust the latch on a trunk — so what makes you think that a car door is any different?
Sure, while we’re slamming trunk lids, gravity does quite a bit of the work for us. However, car doors are also easy to mishandle. On top of that, it’s not as though the inner mechanism of car doors is much different than the one inside trunk lids. If one can get busted, you can be sure the other can be too.
All it would take is to slam the door at just the right moment. If you’re just getting out of a car and you accidentally leave your metal seat belt latch hanging right where you slam the door, you can even dent the metal and cause the whole system to malfunction.
So, automotive companies do have “fatigue tests” on their doors that involve opening and shutting them tens of thousands of times. However, these tests don’t involve the human variable, like slamming the car door over another metal part. Still, while slamming the doors shouldn’t break them — it will weaken them.
Soon enough, you may even hear loose parts clanking around inside the car doors. Trust me, you don’t want to have to go in and fix your car doors. If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t want to have to pay someone to tell you that your car is busted, especially when the damage could’ve been prevented.
Why Do People Keep Slamming Car Doors
If you’ve got an older car model, you might find yourself thinking that you need to slam your doors in order to have them shut properly. However, you really shouldn’t do that.
As someone who’s driven a busted old car before, I’ll tell you why people tend to be more aggressive with them:
- The habit was formed before the door broke. Whoever’s slamming the door could just be used to doing it in their own car. In that case, I recommend reminding them not to slam the doors every time before they come in or out of your car, or even having a sign. After all, it’s basically muscle memory by now.
- Once the inner latch mechanism of the door breaks, you begin to slam the door in order to have it fully shut. This isn’t great, but a mechanic may be able to fix it for you. Or, you could even try your hand at fixing it yourself.
- If you or your passengers have ever had to pull the door down as you were getting into the vehicle, this may have caused it to sag. That would also affect the ability of a car door to close properly without force. Older and heavier people tend to do this a lot, especially when they’re getting in and out of taller vehicles, such as pickup trucks.
Whatever the reason you or your passengers keep slamming the car’s doors, I can assure you that the situation can only get worse. I recommend trying to figure out how you got to this point in the first place. After all, most car doors come with rubber gaskets that should make metal-to-metal contact impossible. So if possible, try to find the exact spot of the doors that is chafing against the car.
What Part of the Door Is Making the Noise
After a recent visit to the dentist, I figured out a great way to find out which part of your car door is slamming against the body of the car. You see, inspiration can strike anywhere!
Anyway, if you’ve ever had a filling put in, your dentist will have used something called articulating paper on you. It’s a thin film they’ll have you bite and grind your teeth against. Essentially, it helps them mark the parts of the filling they need to shave off in order for it not to touch your teeth on the other side of the paper.
Something similar could help you figure out where your doors are touching the metal frame of the car. Once you know where you need to concentrate your work, it’ll be easier to either correct the doors or pad them. So, here’s how you can figure out whether your doors have shifted and what they’re actually slamming against.
My plan involves putting paint on the car doors and shutting them roughly enough for it to transfer. Don’t worry — this won’t be permanent. In fact, I recommend using ground chalk or any other loose pigment you might have around your house. You could even dust some flour over the inside of the door.
The most important thing is to see where the doors are making contact. Additionally, you might also put water or grease on the interior metal parts. That will cause the pigment to stick, so you’ll be able to see where the doors connect to the body of the car. Wherever you can see the biggest pigment deposit is where you need to focus most of your solutions.
Car Door Slamming Prevention Tips
Alright, so now we can talk about some ways to fix the slamming car doors. However, I should begin by saying that if your test reveals that the doors are sagging (or you can visibly see the misalignment), you ought to take the car to a mechanic right away. They may be able to reset your car door, so you’ll stop having to slam them.
On the other hand, if your car doors are perfectly aligned, you can either put some padding on them or install a latch that doesn’t allow you to slam the doors. So let’s talk about both of these options.
1. Pad the Door with a Rubber, Butyl Gasket
Most cars already have rubber or butyl gaskets along the inside of the doors, and sometimes on the car body too. These materials are there to protect the metal from damage as well as to weatherproof the car. However, if you’ve been abusing your car for long enough, you may find that the motion has damaged the original gasket.
In that case, switching out the gasket might make the noise more tolerable, at least. Simply remove the existing gasket, clean the space with alcohol, then install another gasket. I can recommend two products:
- MAGZO Foam Seal Tape is a solid rubber foam product that will certainly provide plenty of padding. It also comes in various thicknesses and lengths. So you can measure the amount of space you have on your car doors and purchase the appropriate tape.
- Trim-Lok D-Shaped Rubber Seal will allow your doors to close more tightly. After all, the hollow core will be able to easily squeeze into the crack between the metal.
Both of these also have self-adhesive backing, so you’ll be able to peel and stick them easily. Also, butyl products might work just as well if you find one that’s thick enough to pad the door but thin enough to fit into the tight space.
2. Install a Smooth Car Door Closer
When researching this subject, I also found a company called Slam Stop that makes Universal Automatic Smooth Car Door Closers. This product makes it physically impossible to slam your doors. Essentially, the mechanism stops it from happening at the last second and takes over until the door slides shut.
Even if you close the door softly, the Slam Stop product will retract the door and close it automatically. It also works on both regular and sliding doors, which is a huge plus in my book.
All it takes is a notch in the door and an attachment in the frame of the car. Better still, both of those components should be easy to install. On the other hand, you can also ask a mechanic to do it if you find it difficult.
However, I should say that this product is certainly pricier than buying a couple of feet of gaskets. Still, according to my research, it’s one of the most worthwhile products you can buy to prevent car door slamming. But, if you’re not ready to commit to a purchase like this one, you can always put up no-slamming signs.
Close Your Car Door Without Slamming It
Honestly, slamming the doors once or twice may not do a lot of damage to your car. However, doing it repeatedly and forcefully will have consequences. If you don’t want to put up with that kind of treatment, you can also refuse to drive aggressive passengers. But if that’s not an option for you, rubber gaskets or door closers are the next best things.
And, hey, if nothing else works, you can always glue all doors but your own shut. That way, everyone will have to enter and exit through the windows. I bet that’ll teach them!
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