Why is My RV Door Hard to Close?

Contributor

Tucker Ballister

Favorite Trip

5 Months Solo on the Road

Home Base

Hendersonville, NC

Favorite RV

2008 Fleetwood Bounder

About Contributor

Tucker Ballister is our Content Strategist. He’s a lover of the open road and the proud owner of a 2021 Sunlite Classic travel trailer (his 3rd RV to date). Check out more of his RV adventures, gear reviews, and outdoor advice at thebackpackguide.com.

Your RV entrance door should close with reasonable force. You should never have to slam the door, nor do we recommend this if yours won’t close. But over time, some RVers find themselves asking, “Why is my RV door hard to close?” Luckily, you’re in the right place if you’re struggling with door-related issues in your RV. 

Here are some of f the most common issues with RV entrance doors.

Potential Reasons Why Your RV Door is Hard To Close

Technician examining RV door hard to close
Photo by Camping World

There are numerous reasons your RV door isn’t operating as designed. The first step is to identify the problem. Here, we’ve listed common issues and will cover the process for fixing each.

You may need to simply adjust the door’s hardware. Check for the following:  

  • Misaligned strike plate
  • Overly tightened door hinges

A part of the door may be broken. Check if any of the following parts need replacement

  • Broken or loose main door latch
  • Broken or loose screen door latch(es)
  • Broken door lock

The problem may not be directly related to the door. Consider possible causes related to f leveling and stabilizing your RV:

  • Your RV isn’t level
  • Fold-out steps are in the way
  • Overextended leveling jacks

Start by visually inspecting your RV door to determine which of these problems you need to address. If necessary, explore available door catches for a compatible replacement part. You can also contact a retail specialist at your local Camping World with your RV’s year, make, and model to ask about part availability.

To correct the issue making your RV door hard to close, you’ll need the following in your RV toolkit

  • Screwdriver
  • ⅛” Allen wrench
  • Dry film silicone lubricant
  • Replacement door parts (according to your RV’s owner’s manual)
  • Leveling blocks
  • Jack pads

Ways To Make Your RV Door Easier to Close (and Open)

Let’s revisit that list of possible RV door problems and provide troubleshooting tips for each. 

Technician Tip: If you need to replace any of these RV door components, consult your owner’s manual for part numbers when ordering replacements. If you aren’t comfortable replacing door components on your own, contact your nearest Camping World service center. 

Misaligned Strike Plate

Example of misaligned strike plate when RV door hard to close
Photo by Camping World

The door’s strike plate and latch must be aligned for the latch to catch when you close the door. 

If it’s relatively easy to close the door, but it struggles to latch and stay closed, you may have a misaligned strike plate. 

To inspect it, slowly close the door and look at the orientation of the strike plate relative to the door latch. If the strike plate and door latch are misaligned, loosen the screws and realign the strike plate until the door latches closed smoothly. 

You may also consider adding washers behind the strike plate to move it closer to the latching mechanism. Some models have a backing plate inside the door frame that will fall to the bottom if the strike plate screws are completely removed.

Overly Tightened Door Hinges

Example of RV Door Friction Hinge (and 4 Hex Screws)
Example of RV Door Friction Hinge (and 4 Hex Screws)

Many modern RVs are built with friction hinges to eliminate the need for an exterior door catch. Traditionally, that exterior catch was responsible for keeping the door from flying around and slamming shut on windy days – an important safety feature. 

However, modern designs now incorporate friction hinges to serve the same purpose. As a result, however, they can make your RV door harder to close. Fortunately, there’s a way to adjust friction hinges on some RV doors. 

If yours are adjustable, there will be obvious set screws on the side of the center hinge bracket. The typical Allen wrench size for these screws is 1/8″. These screws help you increase (by tightening) or decrease (by loosening) the friction supplied, making your door harder or easier to move. 

Loosening them will make it easier for you to close your RV door, but beware of loosening them too much. Doing so can cause the door to swing freely on the hinges on windy days and increase the risk of damage to the door, door frame, latch hardware, or any human or animal RV inhabitant going in or out of the door.

Most friction hinges, however, are non-adjustable. If they get too tight, they may require some dry film silicone lube, and if they become too loose, they may need replacement. The non-adjustable friction hinge is also available as an aftermarket option from Lippert (LCI).

Broken (or Loose) Main Door or Screen Door Latch(es)

If your visual inspection of the strike plate and door latches reveals broken or loose parts, you’ll need to tighten or replace the latches. Begin by checking the screws on your door latches and handles. If found to be loose, tighten as needed. If any screws are missing, replace them with screws of the same length and diameter.

Noting your RV’s year, make, and model makes it easier to find a replacement part for broken latches. However, measuring the broken door latch (when possible) will also help you identify a compatible door latch replacement.

Additionally, you can lubricate the latch mechanism if it’s not broken or loose, but simply sticking. Spray the latch with a dry film silicone (not silicone grease or silicone with additives like graphite). WD-40 is also perfectly acceptable and effective for lubricating door latches and locks, but use it sparingly. Then, close and open the door several times to work the lubricant in.

Broken Door Lock

If your inspection reveals a broken door lock, consult your owner’s manual to find the model number for the replacement lock. This model number can be conveyed to a retail specialist so they can order a compatible replacement or help you find an alternative that matches your RV. 

With your new lock in hand, remove the screws securing the broken locking mechanism. Remove the old lock and install the new lock. Then, replace the old screws with new screws of the same length and diameter to complete your RV door lock installation.

Your RV Isn’t Level

Failing to properly level your RV from front to back and side to side can also make your RV door hard to close. To check your setup, place a 24” bubble level kitchen floor. If the bubble is outside the center circle, move your trailer or add leveling blocks under the tires to level it out. For trailers with a Lippert auto leveling system, use this tutorial to learn more about operating and troubleshooting that system. 

Fold-Out Steps Are in the Way

Folding Lippert SolidSteps
Photo by Camping World

This issue is more common on travel trailers and fifth wheels with folding steps like the Lippert SolidStep. If the steps aren’t able to fold out far enough, they can impede your door’s ability to open and close. Typically, this happens when your RV isn’t high enough off the ground. As a result, the steps block your entrance door from opening and closing.

To solve this issue, you’ll need to raise your RV by re-parking on leveling blocks or using your automatic leveling system. If your RV has folding steps, it’s smart to check they fold out completely and your RV door opens and closes easily before completing your leveling and stabilizing routine.

Overextended Stabilizing Jacks

Another less common issue, but one that should undoubtedly be taken seriously, is an overextension of your stabilizing jacks. Remember that these jacks should be used to stabilize your RV, not to lift it! Using RV stabilizer jacks to lift can twist the door frame and cause issues with opening and closing your entrance door. 

RV Door Care Tips

After you’ve resolved your RV door issues, use these tips to care for it and maximize its operative lifespan: 

  • Open and close it gently (no slamming!).
  • Check the screws on the door latch and strike plate prior to each trip.
  • Clean and lubricate the latching mechanism after each trip. A soft rag and mild detergent work for cleaning. A silicone lubricant and a 3-in-1 oil are recommended for lubricating the door latch. This is absolutely the most effective most overlooked solution. Its importance can’t be overstated.

Do you want to learn more about troubleshooting RV issues? Here are a few more resources: 

Do you have other questions about your RV door’s operation? Let us know in the comments below.

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