Your Ram truck's door ajar light alerts you visually if any of your doors are open or improperly closed. However, if this telltale light stays on even when all doors appear to be closed, it can be frustrating. So why does the light stay on, and what should you do about it? We've done the research for your convenience.
Your Ram truck's door ajar light can remain on due either to failing mechanical door parts or malfunctioning components of the door's electrical circuit. If you want to diagnose the problem, then you will have to check several parts including the door latch, hinges, electrical wires, switches, and even the instrument cluster itself.
Would you like to find out more about how to diagnose and possibly solve your door ajar light problem yourself? If so, then do read on because you've come to the right place.
Why Does My Car Say The Door Is Open When It Isn't?
Before we discuss the problem with the door ajar light, we must first understand how the door sensors or switches work.
Ram and other automotive manufacturers equip their vehicles' doors with switches or sensors to monitor whether the doors are closed or open. These switches are often located inside the doors and are activated by mechanical latches.
The mechanical latch pushes or toggles the switch to one position when the door is open and to the opposite position when the door is closed. The switch sends this information to the vehicle's electronic control unit (ECU).
The ECU, in turn, turns the door ajar telltale light in the instrument console on or off depending on the door's position. If all doors are closed, then the light stays off. If at least one door is open or improperly closed, then the light comes on.
On some vehicles, the door ajar light can also indicate which specific door is open.
Moreover, on most vehicles, the dome light also acts in tandem with the instrument cluster's door ajar telltale light. Just to be sure that we're on the same page, make sure that your dome light is set to "door" and not to "on."
Now that we know how the door ajar light works, we can understand that it can malfunction due to either mechanical or electrical reasons.
Dirty Or Failing Door Latch Mechanism
On many occasions, we can expect that a system's moving or stressed components are the ones most prone to breaking down. In our case, the most abused component linked to the door ajar light is probably the door latch mechanism.
Modern cars often use either jaw-type or rotating tooth latches. When a car door closes, its mechanical latch hooks onto a striker, which is mounted on the door jamb or pillar. This coupling secures the door in its closed position.
The door latch has a few hinges or pivot points so that its moving parts can lock on or release the striker. Moreover, these moving parts also press or release the mechanical door ajar switch.
Because of repetitive movement, impact, and exposure to the elements, these moving parts can get dirty, corroded, or damaged. If these parts fail over time, then they may not activate or deactivate the switch properly.
You may try cleaning and lubricating these car door latches to remove any dirt, grime, and corrosion that may be preventing their full range of motion. Check out this video on how to do this process yourself:
Bent Or Loose Door Latch Striker
On some occasions, your latch may be working fine, but your door striker may be loose or slightly misaligned. Although the striker plate can get loose or misaligned through years of use, it can also happen with new cars.
When your striker is out of alignment, your door may not close properly because the latch may not be hooking on correctly. Here's a video on a simple DIY solution to realign your door latch striker:
As you can see from the video, you can use a little elbow grease and leverage from a pipe wrench to adjust your car door striker.
Your car door hinges bear the weight of your doors, especially when the doors are open. Aside from enduring the strain and friction from the swinging doors, your hinges may also accumulate dirt, rust, and grime.
Years of usage can loosen or misalign your hinges. Moreover, body dents from major or minor accidents can also prevent your hinges from swinging the doors to a snug, closed position. This can trigger the door ajar light.
Aside from the door ajar light, many cars' dome lights also indicate an open door. Watch this helpful video below about the several reasons why the door ajar light and the dome light can stay on:
Damaged Door Ajar Switch
As discussed previously, the door latch triggers a door switch or sensor whenever you close or open a car door. In the case of switches, the moving parts can also fail over time due to dirt, moisture, or physical damage.
Many automotive enthusiasts recommend spraying the door latch mechanism with a healthy amount of lubricant. In many cases, the lubricant will work its way down to the switch and clean up the dirt.
However, switches may fail beyond cleaning or repair after years of use (or even lack of use). Eventually, you may need to replace the switches. Check out this video on how to diagnose your vehicle's door ajar switch:
As we saw in the video above, you may also use a makeshift jumper pin to test the circuit from the wires up to the ECU. However, if you want the proper tool, you may want to use a multimeter for this purpose.
Door Wiring Harness
Your Ram's door wiring harness often includes the wiring for all the electronic features of the door. These can include your power windows, power locks, power windows, speakers, and door ajar switch.
Door wiring harnesses often have some slack to accommodate the door's movement without breaking the wires. However, over time, these wires may rub against the car frame or even fray each other's insulation.
Exposed wires can cause a short circuit among any of the closely-positioned circuits. If the wires from the door ajar switch get shorted, they may cause the ECU to think that a door is open.
If you find some damaged wires in your door's harness, you may want to insulate each of the wires with electrical tape. Alternatively, you may also want to have a professional auto electrician rewire and replace your door's electronics.
Here's a short video explaining some wiring harness problems that can cause the door ajar light as well as the dome light to stay on:
Is It Safe To Drive With The Door Ajar Light On?
The door ajar light is possibly one of the most alarming lights that you will see while driving your car. As responsible drivers, we want all our passengers and cargo to be safe and secure inside the vehicle.
If the problem is mechanical, then it is definitely unsafe to drive when the door ajar light is on. This can mean that your door latches or hinges aren't properly attached to your car's frame.
If the problem is electrical, then you can still drive the car safely for a short period of time. However, you should take note of some inconveniences that a constantly-on door ajar light can cause:
- You may not be able to lock your doors using your central locking button or your key fob.
- Your door ajar light and your dome light can drain your battery.
So, whether the problem is mechanical or electrical, we recommend that you fix this issue as soon as possible. You will take away the stress as well as the safety concerns that you may have while driving.
Is The Ram 1500 Reliable?
Since we're talking about failing car parts, it may be a good time to check how reliable Ram trucks are.
Based on J.D. Power's survey, consumers gave the 2022 Ram 1500 a score of 86 out of 100 on the quality and reliability category. Based on the reviewing company's rating scale, this score is considered "Great."
On another note, several other automotive websites also rank the Ram 1500 among the highest in its segment. The American truck market regards the Ram 1500 as a tough and dependable truck.
The Ram 1500 has an average annual repair and maintenance cost of $670. This is much lower than the full-size truck segment average of $936.
Your Ram truck's door ajar light can stay on because of mechanical or electrical reasons. It could be due to malfunctioning door latch mechanisms, your door's switch or sensor, or your electrical wirings.
There are a few DIY solutions that can solve this problem. However, if these solutions don't work or you're not comfortable working on your truck at home, then you may want to call for professional auto repair services.
Thank you very much for reading. We hope we were able to help you solve your Ram truck's door ajar light problem. For more interesting reads about Ram trucks and other automotive topics, you may also check out these great articles below.