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Door Hinge Parts

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Door Hinge Parts

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What are automotive door hinges and where are they and other door hinge parts located?

Door hinges allow your car or truck’s doors to open and close, and they also hold them to the vehicle. They are located where the door attaches to the frame. There are two hinges for each door—an upper one and a lower one. Inside the hinge is a pin that allows the hinge to make its swivel motion.

In the hinge is a piece called the door detent or the door hold-open mechanism. A spring pushes a ridged plate against a roller at the bottom of the door hinge pin. The ridges in the plate make the door stick in that spot unless pushed or pulled further. This keeps the door from swinging wildly open, or closing in the wind. It usually holds the door at half open and fully open positions. 

Another related piece is the door striker bolt. The striker bolt is a bolt or hook inside the door frame on the opposite end of the hinge. On the side of the door opposite the hinge is a latch that catches on to the striker bolt when you shut the door. It holds onto that bolt, keeping the door closed while the vehicle is moving. If either of the hinge or the striker is worn or damaged, it can keep the latch and striker from lining up properly and keep the door from closing tightly. 

Many minivans have sliding doors rather than doors that open and close on a pin. These have rollers that allow them to slide open and closed.  

How do I know if my door hinges need to be replaced?

Automotive door hinges can wear out from repeated use. After all, you have to open and close the door every time you get in or out of it. The driver’s door is the most likely to experience a loose door hinge for just that reason. Leaning on or otherwise applying weight to the door can speed up this process. Sometimes the pin can wear out and make the hinge loose. Any of these parts wearing out will have much the same effect. The door will begin to sag and won’t line up with the striker. It will fail to close properly, or might come open during driving. You might not ordinarily think of your door hinges as a safety feature, but they do help keep you inside the vehicle. 

If your door begins to sag when it’s open, then it’s a good idea to check the door hinge. Likely you’ll just need to replace the pin, but you should inspect where the hinge is mounted. If there is a distinctly oval wear pattern around any of the screws, it’s a good sign that the hinge itself is getting loose.  

Failure of the door springs can keep the detent from working. The door may close on you unexpectedly, or may swing wide open when you push on it from the inside. A loose door striker might keep the door from closing properly. You might hear a popping or snapping sound coming from the door when driving over bumps or on a rough road. If you have sliding doors, signs you’ll want to replace the roller are that the door jerks or makes a growling sound when you try to open or close it.  

Can I replace door hinge parts myself?

Replacing automotive door hinge parts should prove to be technically easy, but may require a bit of help. In order to keep the door from falling and facing further damage or damaging the internal wiring, you’ll need something to hold up the door as you work on the hinge. You could use a jack or some boards or a friend with very good muscular endurance. If you are replacing both hinges, you should replace the upper hinge before the lower one. 

To replace a sliding door roller, you’ll have to pull loose the sliding door and support it as you work on the roller. Replacing a door striker bolt should prove the easiest of these tasks. Just be sure to keep the anchor plate in place as you replace the old striker and install the new one. Otherwise the anchor plate may fall inside the frame where it’s no use to you. A specialty tool called a “spring compressor” or “door spring tool” will prove a great help if you are replacing your door springs or doing any job that requires you to remove them. 

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