The power sliding doors on a minivan are a useful feature---they allow small children to enter the van without having to pull the handle, they open with a click so you don't have to let go of your groceries and they're extremely useful for disabled individuals. However, these doors often experience problems (sometimes to the point of recall), so it's best to be aware of some of the problems and solutions associated with this mechanism.
Check the Fuse
If a fuse blows on a power sliding door, you can forget about opening or closing it on your own. The good news is that a blown fuse is easily detected and replaced. Simply look for the fuse panel (usually located beneath the dashboard) and locate the fuse that is responsible for powering the doors. Your owner's manual will show you which fuse must be replaced. Replace it with a fuse of the same type, and your doors will be opening and closing again.
Look for Blockages
Van doors run on a track that might become blocked by any number of objects, such as rocks, sticks or even toys. When your door opens to a point and then stops, try closing it again and check the track for any buildup or blockage that might exist. Use a little WD40 along the track if the door continues sticking on its own.
Check for Power to the Motor
Look for any loose wires at the motor, including bad connections or residue buildup. If the contacts at the motor aren't touching, the van door won't open. Run your hand lightly along the wire to switches and outlet holes to check for kinks or bends. Power sliding doors can't work without a functioning motor. Don't try to repair such a problem yourself: it might be best to take it to a mechanic or dealership.
The Door Won't Latch
Issues such as doors not staying tightly latched or not staying closed usually have less to do with a power motor and more to do with a faulty door latch. Diagrams for door and latch assemblies can be purchased from auto parts shops, and repairs are usually fairly easy to do (whereas paying for a professional may cost a small fortune). If after looking at the diagram you notice that the problem is simple go ahead and try to fix it yourself. The right tools and a little bit of work should have the door shutting properly in no time.
Doors Open Unexpectedly
Unexpected opening and closing is one of the most dangerous issues with these doors. If this is the case, make sure that you're not accidentally pressing buttons that could cause doors to open while you're driving. If this isn't the problem contact your dealership---recalls for several types of vans have been issued because of this dangerous malfunction.
- Photo Credit "Forum side" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: Mike Babcock (Mike Babcock) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
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