Why Won’t My RV Door Shut Properly?
Your RV door is the first line of defense against intruders, bugs, dirt, and anything else that might try to make its way into your space. It’s difficult to find peace of mind if the door is always swinging open and refuses to latch properly. Unfortunately, this is a fairly common problem that many RVers have to deal with.
Finicky doors can cause all kinds of problems such as pest infestations, leaks, loud banging and clanging, and a feeling of unease. If you don’t feel safe and secure in your own space, that’s definitely an issue. Lots of factors can make doors difficult to close, but there are also a variety of solutions you can try.
Below we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common door-related problems and solutions. Some of them are easy fixes, while others might require some replacement parts and elbow grease. If you’re dealing with a door that doesn’t cooperate, rest assured that plenty of RVers have been in your shoes. There’s lots of great advice on how to fix this issue, so let’s get started!
Uneven parking spot
The first thing that might make it hard to shut your door is the parking space you choose. There are tons of campgrounds and RV parks across the country. Some have paved and level sites, but others are much more uneven. If your RV is tilted at a strange angle, this can make it hard to close the door and keep it shut.
Rust is another enemy of RV doors. This builds up naturally around the hinges, latch, doorknob, and other metallic parts. It’s especially common if you travel through particularly humid areas. Oxidation is also common around the ocean, so be careful if you camp close to the beach! It can usually be cleaned away, but severe rusting can permanently damage your latching mechanism to the point where it needs to be replaced.
Sometimes the door isn’t the issue, but the surrounding frame is. RVs are built to be pretty sturdy, but they can become warped and bent out of shape over time. This will happen even more quickly if you frequently use your leveling jacks, have uneven tire pressure, or if the RV has been in a collision.
If the frame is warped, you’ll usually need to get professional help to shift everything back into place. You might also need a new door because the doorframe can warp anything that’s trapped within it.
Through everyday wear and tear, things in your RV can become misaligned. Sometimes screws come loose or hinges become weak. In these circumstances, the door and the frame may no longer match up perfectly. If this is a problem you’ve encountered, you’ve probably had to jiggle, lift, or push your door in a certain way to make sure it latches. Misalignment may not be the biggest issue, but it’s annoying and it can become worse over time.
It’s important for every RV door to have a functioning latch. If they can’t close, they really aren’t serving their purpose as a door! But everything can become old and worn out over time and door latches are no exception. Most of the problems with faulty latches come from treating them too roughly. If you regularly slam your doors, this can wear things out and cause the latch to become weak. Some components might even break off!
Misaligned strike plate
The strike plate is a vital part of the locking mechanism. It’s the metal component that is embedded into the door frame and has an open space for the door latch to fit into. If this element is damaged, blocked, or misaligned, the door won’t be able to open and close properly. Check the strike plate for any signs of cracking, obstructions, or loose screws.
Physical obstructions are usually pretty easy to see, but they’re another factor that can make it difficult to close RV doors. Items such as rugs, curtains, shoes, and hanging decorations can slip in between the door cracks. Once there’s a blockage in the way, the door won’t close properly (or it will be difficult to close and reopen).
Check your faulty doors for anything that might be getting in the way. Sometimes the solution is as easy as scooting your rug back a couple of inches.
Loose weather stripping
Finally, your door might have problems opening and closing if the weather stripping along the edges has come loose. Weather strips help insulate your vehicle and protect you from drafts. However, it can wear out over time and loose pieces of this lining might get caught between the door and doorframe.
Regularly inspect and replace your weather stripping so you can keep your RV well-insulated. This practice will also help you avoid door jams that come from old pieces that have come loose.
How to maintain your RV door
Now we know a few of the most common causes for faulty RV doors. In most cases, you can fix this issue pretty easily. But proper maintenance will help you avoid some of the most common issues. Follow along with the tips below if you want to keep your door in great condition.
You can also check out RV forums for advice because plenty of other travelers have had to deal with faulty doors!
Choose level parking spaces (whenever possible)
First off, you should always choose leveled-off parking spaces if you can. Slanted or uneven ground can make it difficult to keep your doors closed. Your jacks can help compensate for rough ground, but it’s also dangerous to overuse these. If you rely on your jacks too much, they can warp your RV frame and ultimately make it harder to shut your doors.
Close doors firmly, but do not slam them
Although doors can sometimes break on their own, you have a role to play in their wear and tear. Slamming doors will ultimately cause more damage, so you should avoid this practice whenever possible. Close the doors firmly behind you and make sure they latch properly, but try to avoid leaning against them or slamming them shut.
Oil the hinges
Hinges are also important for the overall health and performance of your RV doors. Make it a point to regularly oil the hinges and check them for any signs of rust or damage. As an added bonus, forming this habit will help you avoid the annoying squeaks or squeals that come from unlubricated hinges.
Regularly clean the door and latching mechanism
Inspecting and cleaning things in your RV on a regular basis will help you avoid all kinds of problems. This includes your door and latching mechanisms! Take some time to wipe off any dust, grime, or debris that has formed around the door. You should also check for cracks, holes, or warping during this time.
Clean off any rust that may be accumulating and make sure that everything is fitting together properly. If you can catch issues before they become severe, you can usually correct them pretty easily.
Tighten up the screws
Finally, make sure all the screws in and around the door are properly secured. Loose screws can cause all kinds of issues with misalignment. When you clean your door, bring along a screwdriver so you can secure anything that looks like it’s coming loose.
Track your RV maintenance
Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance and repairs with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance. Not only can you keep all of your documents in one place, but you’ll also receive timely reminders when maintenance is due to help you avoid costly repairs and potentially serious accidents.