Fact: A swift kick can get you inside your '74 Volvo...and a hefty mechanic's bill.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jan 01, 1989

Dear Tom and Ray:

I had a good laugh when you said on your radio show that it is customary in France to kick Volvos before entering. I have a '74 Volvo which I have to kick to open the driver's door. I was told that I have a worn part inside the door that operates the latch. I pull the handle as hard as I can, I give it a swift kick, and voila, it opens. How can I fix this?

TOM: My wife's '76 Volvo had the same problem. Let me tell you what I did to fix it. First I removed the door handle and window crank. If you look carefully at these, you'll see a piece of plastic which covers a screw which holds them on. Then I removed the door panel. I was able to pry it off easily by sliding a screwdriver between the metal part of the door and the panel and lifting the clips which are 8 to 10 inches apart. Once I exposed the guts of the door, I proceeded to waste three hours of a beautiful Sunday afternoon messing around with that stupid latch before giving up and calling my brother.

RAY: I told him he had three choices--the same choices you have. Either take it to the dealer-- because you'll never be able to fix that latch yourself, leave the window open all the time and climb in and out, or move to France where kicking Volvos is not viewed as aberrant behavior.

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