How to Adjust Car Door to Close Tighter


The most common problem with the doors not closing properly is the door striker, a metal bracket attached to the car body that holds the door latch assembly and helps hold the door in place. If the striker has been bent or damaged in any way, then you will need to adjust it using this method. Unfortunately, many strikers have become useless over time; even if they look okay from outside, they still won’t work correctly. Sometimes this problem can be resolved by adjusting just a few bolts, while other times, it may require a complete replacement of all parts in the entire strike assembly. Today I am going to discuss a technique on how to adjust car door to close tighter.

How to Adjust Car Door to Close Tighter

Step-wise Guide on How to Adjust Car Door to Close Tighter

It Would Be Best if You Had the Following Items Ready:

  • Screwdriver
  • Rubber hammer (if necessary)
  • Hammer, if necessary
  • Gloves to protect your hands from getting scratched by sharp edges of paint as you work on both sides of your car door hinges while adjusting them
  • T-handle Allen Wrench or for Saab and Volvo owners, a set of small Phillips head screwdrivers (normal-sized will not get into small spaces without scratching), available at Walmart or a toolbox with various sizes
  • Tape measure and marker tape or chalk
  • A support person is helpful to hold the door in place
  • Door lock
  • Pencil
  • Paper and writing utensils
  • Step ladder
  • Sand paper or metal file
  • Chip brush

Step 1:

Loosen the T-handle Allen Wrench inside the car door hinge. Usually, you will have to turn it 90 degrees counterclockwise to loosen, then turn it back by about a quarter turn. You may also need to raise your Step ladder a bit higher and pull on the outside of the door so that it opens farther for you to reach into the car door’s hinge area with an Allen wrench to loosen. * If there is no T-handle Allen Wrench available, use a set of small Phillips head screwdrivers (normal-sized will not get into small spaces without scratching). Open the inside panel of your car door if necessary by loosening from inside using your screwdriver.

Step 2:

Slip the chip brush into space between your car door and hinge where it meets, to remove any dirt or debris that may be stuck in there. Use a Step ladder if necessary to accomplish this part of the job.

Step 3:

Locate rubber cap on top hanger bar inside car door hinge (see photo for example). This is what holds the car door up while open, so you may want to cover it with tape, so it does not get scratched by your screwdriver or hammer.  This rubber piece needs to be loosened on both ends of the hanger bar (upper and lower) for it to slide freely along the vertical bar in your car’s hinge area as you adjust your door latch.

First, remove the top screw holding the rubber cap in place, and then remove the bottom screw and pull the centerpiece off of its hinge on both sides.  Do not lose this rubber piece (see photo).  If you do not have screws to remove, you will need to use a small hammer to tap around the edges of the rubber cap to loosen it from its place inside your car door hinge.

Using Rubber Hammer to Adjust Car Door

Step 4:

Pull hanger bar out with one hand while tightening T-handle Allen Wrench counter-clockwise 90 degrees or by 1/4 turn at a time with your other hand. Again, you may need to raise the Step ladder higher so that you can reach the hanger bar when loosening the t-handle Allen wrench. Ensure that the rubber bar moves freely all along the vertical hanger bar without being stuck on either end. If it is not sliding easily, stop loosening the t-handle Allen Wrench and tap the center of the rubber cap with a small hammer or a rubber hammer to loosen up both ends of the rubber cap along the metal hanger bar inside the car door hinge. Do not hit the metal part!

Step 5:

Check to see if your car door closes tightly when you first open it since you have already loosened the T-handle Allen wrench in previous steps. You can also use a friend’s help to hold the outside of the door in place while you check how well your latch works by pulling on the handle from another area, such as from inside your trunk area (see photo). If the latch is still sticking (does not release completely), then continue to loosen the T-handle Allen wrench by at least another 90 degrees counterclockwise or 1/4 turn at a time. Be careful not to over-loosen as you do not want the metal parts in your car door hinge to separate.

Step 6:

After adjusting your car door so that it closes tightly, replace the rubber cap on top of the hanger bar with screws and tighten.

Step 7:

You can use sandpaper or a metal file if you have dents in your hanger bar, as it will make this part easier to slide freely along the vertical hanger bar when closed. Wrap up any loose wire from step 2’s chip brush with electrical tape.

Using Sandpaper On Car

Precautions While Adjusting Car Door to Close Tighter

Before adjusting the doors of your car, make sure that you are working on a smooth surface (preferably flat ground) and there’s no one in front or behind the car. You may also take help from someone to ensure all is well while you adjust your door. Remember: Never attempt to work on your wheels and tires when they are still attached to your vehicle!

When driving at high speeds, don’t let the wind hit the side windows with great force as this can damage them. If you must keep them open, then cover them with protective sleeves first. Use only recommended products and parts for any repair job.


A well-adjusted car door should be able to close tightly and slide gently without any problems when driving at high speeds or passing through puddles of water. Proper handling of your car’s door latch will help prevent accidents on highways and streets where sudden weather changes may occur, causing slippery conditions. Wearing seat belts at all times while driving is also among the important safety precautions you need to take every time you get behind the wheel. I hope you have obtained all the necessary information about how to adjust car door to close tighter from this article. Thank you.

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