What to Do When Your Microwave Door Won’t Open

Big Al's
March 2, 2020
Microwave Repair

For many of us, a microwave is a daily-use appliance. There are so many things you can do with a microwave either as your primary cooking solution or in order to speed up other recipes. You can heat water, melt butter, boil pasta, steam vegetables, and even make quick egg patties. Your microwave can heat up custom microwave-ready meals or you can prepare fresh ingredients far faster than you might on the stove. The microwave is an essential part of any modern kitchen and most people know how to work a microwave without even thinking about it.

But what happens when something critical to the microwave’s function stops working? Not something complicated like heating or control buttons, but the door itself. When your microwave door won’t open, suddenly the entire wonderful appliance is completely unable to be used. The failure of a single plastic latch can turn your microwave into nothing more than a heavy plastic box. 

4 Reasons Why Your Microwave Door Won’t Open

The first step is to determine why your microwave door has stopped opening. There are four common reasons why a microwave door might malfunction in the closed position. Usually, microwaves with door problems have trouble closing or latching properly. But when the door sticks closed, it can only be one of four options. 

1) Gummy Connection

The first and most likely option is simply that something gummy has interfered with your microwave’s door latch. Your microwave sees a lot of food pass through the door. It’s not that unusual for something to get caught in the door mechanism. A gummy connection may be preventing the latch from raising or may just be holding the door closed after the latch is released.

It’s possible that if you press the microwave release button and then pull the door open directly, you may be able to get the microwave door to un-stick. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself working behind the control panel to access the latch.

2) Door Button

Microwaves with door buttons are actually much more likely to experience door troubles than microwaves that open with the pull of a handle. If your microwave usually pops open when you press a button, but the button is no longer working, the problem is likely to be with the button itself. Test the resistance of the button and if it feels like it always does when you press on it.

If the button presses in too easily with no resistance, it may have disconnected from the door mechanism. If the button won’t fully press in, the door mechanism or button connection may be jammed. And if it pushes and then clicks suspiciously, the button may be failing to trigger the door release mechanism.

3) Door Latch Lever

Then there’s the door latch lever. This is the release mechanism that most microwave doors use to hold the door closed when it’s running or put away. The latch is a simple plastic hook that catches the door and releases when the button is pressed. However, if the latch lever doesn’t rise, the door doesn’t open. It’s possible that your latch lever may be broken so that it no longer rises when the button is pressed, or the latch lever might be stuck in the mechanism so that it can’t rise.

4) Door Spring

Finally, there’s your door spring. Not all microwaves have door springs but if yours does, this is what causes the microwave door to spring open when you release the lever. If the door spring has broken or stopped working, then your door won’t open automatically when the latch is released. However, your microwave should still open if you release the lever and then pull the door open manually. 

How to Troubleshoot the Microwave Door

Once you’ve determined the potential problems with your microwave, it’s time to dive in for real troubleshooting. If you’re confident with basic appliance repairs, you can tackle this step yourself, with care. But if you are not confident with taking apart your microwave front to fix the door, then you might want to use this moment to call an appliance repair professional.

There are two ways to approach identifying your microwave door malfunction. You can go into the control panel or the door assembly.

– Behind the Control Panel

If you’re determining a problem with the button or latch lever, then you’ll need to get a good look at the latch first. Start by unplugging your microwave. Then carefully remove the control panel. Behind the control panel, you should be able to see the button and latch-lever mechanism. Inspect the latch assembly to see if you can determine any obvious problem. Remove debris if you see any and take note of any parts that appear to be damaged. If you see that the button and latch-lever have disconnected, you may be able to reconnect them with needle-nose pliers.

– Inside the Door Assembly

The next approach is to remove the microwave door to inspect the hinges, spring, and the door-side latch. This is done by removing the internal panel of the microwave door, then releasing the hinges. Once the microwave door is removed, inspect the components to determine if you can find a problem that might stop the door from opening. 

What to Do When You Know the Answer

Finally, it’s time to decide what to do. If you already solved the problem through the process of inspection, then congratulations. You can jump right to enjoying your microwave again. But if you identified a problem that will be challenging to fix, you have a choice to make. You can either buy a replacement part and approach the repair yourself or you can get a repair technician to handle the task as a pro.

– Try Your Own Parts Replacement

If you are handy with a screwdriver and fully understand the entire repair process, then go ahead and try your hand.  If you are replacing a part, be sure to get the exact part number based on the make and model of your microwave. If you are opening up the plastic, be mindful that small locking tabs are delicate and snap easily. Good luck.

– Call for Appliance Repair

If you’re eager to try the repair on your own, consider hiring an appliance repair service. A repair technician can work with your microwave to hunt down the problem and fix it. No need to worry about screws, plastic tabs, or replacement parts. Or if you’re interested, you can ask your repair technician for insight into the fix. Want to consult with an appliance repair service before you decide? Contact us today.

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