Can a 100-pound girl rip the door off a Chevy S-10? Find out.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | May 01, 2007

Dear Tom and Ray:

I bought a 2003 Chevy S-10 for my stepdaughter. Today the truck has only 36,500 miles on it. The driver's door fell off! It broke off at the welds and was hanging by electrical wires. The dealership refused to do warranty work. How can a girl who weighs 100 pounds soaking wet tear a door off a truck? Is it possible to shame Chevy into making this right? -- Eric

RAY: We'll see, Eric!

TOM: Actually, I'm sure you'll be shocked to learn that a 100-pound girl CAN easily tear a door off an S-10 pickup. In fact, she can tear a door off of almost any car.

RAY: That's right. If you try to open a car door beyond the point that it's designed to open, you can easily break the hinges. And since the hinges are all that hold the door on, if they break, the door falls off. Try it on your car, Eric. Sit in the driver's seat, put your feet up against the door, and give it a shove!

TOM: But in this case, I think your daughter got a major assist from Chevrolet. These S-10 pickups are known for their door problems. There are pins that go through the hinges -- just like on the doors in your house. Those pins, and the bushings around them, wear out. Then the door starts to sag.

RAY: Now, if you catch the problem at that point, you can buy a replacement set of pins and bushings for 13 bucks and all will be right with the world. But if you ignore the problem, the pins will eventually fall out and the door will fall off.

TOM: She may have been operating on only one hinge for months before the door actually dropped off.

RAY: Or, she may have come out of a bar one night at 2 a.m., backed up with the door open and taken the door off with a parking meter. But I'm betting on the pins wearing out, Eric. If you (and we) can't shame Chevrolet into helping you, a body shop is your best bet to get it fixed. Good luck.

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