How to replace a Defender door latch

Replacing a Defender’s door latch is more of a fiddle than you might expect, as Ed Evans demonstrates.

Defender doors often don’t shut in the way the door of a normal car or later Land Rover would be expected to. But before blaming a faulty latch, there are a few other points to check which can all affect whether the door shuts flush with the bodywork or fails to latch onto the striker in the door frame, or even latches onto the striker too tightly.

Check the condition of the door frame’s rubber seal for kinks, distortion, swelling or breaks. If the seal is protruding at one point, examine the metal flange that the seal sits on, straightening any damage using pliers or a mallet and wood block. Test for play in the door hinge pins by trying to lift the rear end of the door up and down while it is open. If hinges are worn, the door and the latch will be permanently out of alignment with the body and striker.

Finally, if your door still only latches with a hard shove, consider that the window frame may just need bending out a tad to allow the latch to move inward sufficiently to hold onto the striker. If all that is in order, or you know there is physical damage to the latch inside the door frame, then it’s time to fit a new one. Replacing the latch is fairly easy, but it’s important to disconnect and reconnect the components in the correct order. It also helps, after disconnecting each control rod, to refit its spring clip back onto the road so it cannot become misplaced. In the time between finding a problem with closing a door, and getting around to fix it, remind your passengers to push only on the external handle. Many people try to close an awkward door by pushing hard on the door panel, which simply puts dents in the soft aluminium.

Health and safety 

• Remember to always disconnect the battery earth before starting any DIY work. • Wear eye protection when releasing and fitting spring clips, in the event that they fly off and cause damage. • Be aware of sharp edges on the internal door frame parts, you could get a nasty surpise.

Click on the gallery below for our handy step-by-step guide…

Recommended

New Land Rover Defender P400e plug-in hybrid joins range
Land Rover Defender

New Land Rover Defender P400e plug-in hybrid joins range

The plug-in Land Rover Defender P400e model becomes the new range-topper, while four-cylinder diesels have been replaced by straight-six options
8 Sep 2020
Twisted launches electric Land Rover Defender conversion kit
Land Rover Defender

Twisted launches electric Land Rover Defender conversion kit

Twisted’s pure-electric conversion package gives the old Defender up to 320bhp and a maximum claimed range of 200 miles
22 Jul 2020
New Land Rover Defender 110 roof tent launched
Land Rover Defender

New Land Rover Defender 110 roof tent launched

The hard-shelled two-berth Land Rover Defender 110 roof tent is priced from around £2,800 and includes a full-size mattress
22 Jun 2020
New 500bhp+ Land Rover Defender V8 spied again
Land Rover Defender

New 500bhp+ Land Rover Defender V8 spied again

Plate check reveals new Land Rover Defender prototype with a 5.0-litre engine is roaming the grounds of Gaydon
29 May 2020

Most Popular

New 2021 BMW M3 launched with huge grille and 503bhp
BMW 3 Series M3 Coupe

New 2021 BMW M3 launched with huge grille and 503bhp

The new sixth-generation BMW M3 Competition saloon gets a 503bhp straight-six engine and four-wheel-drive
22 Sep 2020
New 2020 Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV revealed with up to 323 miles of range
Volkswagen ID.4

New 2020 Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV revealed with up to 323 miles of range

The new Tiguan-sized Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV becomes VW’s second ID. model, rivalling the Tesla Model Y
23 Sep 2020
New Range Rover Velar PHEV launched with 33-mile electric range
Land Rover Range Rover Velar

New Range Rover Velar PHEV launched with 33-mile electric range

Land Rover has given the Range Rover Velar an update, with a new plug-in hybrid powertrain and an improved infotainment system
23 Sep 2020