How to Unlock a Jammed Glove Box

by Brad Yach
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Since glove boxes are just as varied as the cars they come in, it will take some detective work to determine the best way to open your specific style. Latch and hinge mechanisms haven't changed much throug the years, and they are fairly simple. The real trick is opening your stuck glove-box door without completely destroying it with a crowbar.

Inspect for Cause of Jamming

Check for the obvious causes of jamming such as foreign objects wedged in between the glove box door and surrounding area. Most likely the latch mechanism itself will be at fault. It contains a few moving parts that can get sticky if they are not properly lubricated.

Try the Simple Solutions First

Most often, a jammed glove box can be opened by gently tapping the latch mechanism while carefully pulling on the glove box door itself. The emphasis here is on gentle, careful attempts performed with patience, not brute force. Go back and forth between tapping the latch and pulling on the door until it opens. If the glove box door is surface mounted, a well-placed slap on the side while gently pulling on the door will also usually do the trick. If your glove box is equipped with a slide in the latch mechanism, try and pop it loose from underneath with a small flat screwdriver.

Open the Glovebox with Tools

If you've still had no luck, locate the screws that mount the hinge for the glove box door. Remove those screws, pull the bottom of the door away from the dash, and you will immediately gain access to the interior of the glove box where you can manually uncouple the jammed latch. Once you have done that, you can remove the glove box door from the vehicle entirely and fix the jammed latch.

Repair the Jammed Latch

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With the glove box door out of the vehicle, closely inspect the latch for causes of jamming. If there is nothing obvious, then the most likely cause is simple lack of lubrication. Apply some light oil to any and all moving parts in the latch and move it back and forth to disperse the lubricant and free up the mechanism. If this fails to free up the latch, the only other option is to purchase a new latch or glove box door. Both can be found in salvage yards or from dealers.

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