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RV fridge door pop open? Here’s a “quick and dirty” fix

If you’re the proud owner of a well-loved older RV, you’ll have run across the old “orphan parts” issue. Either the company doesn’t stock your part anymore, or the company doesn’t exist. Either way, when repair issues appear, sometimes you’re left getting creative.

Here’s a previous issue for us. At day’s end, we’d open the trailer door to find our favorite beverage cans rolling around on the floor. Evidently the weight of the cans in the refrigerator door, coupled with the force exerted by making corners, would cause the fridge door to pop open, and the pop to pop out. Not only did it present us with dented cola cans, but too often the door wouldn’t be kind enough to close itself, and the interior of the cooler would be anything but cool.

“Quick and dirty” solution for securing the fridge door

Somewhere in a past owner’s life, the door latching system broke on the refrigerator compartment and was never replaced. Several years too late for getting the part, we were left with a door security issue. After a lot of head scratching and improbable plans, a quick and dirty solution came up. And surprisingly, it met with approval by the Kitchen Goddess and the pocketbook.

Yep, a few bucks bought a brass barrel bolt. We pre-drilled through the metal trim under the door, and ensured that the screws were short enough not to cause trouble by running into anything vital. Now when we hit the road we simply shoot the bolt through the latch and head off. No more rolling cola.

Not into blasting holes for mounting screws? Some RVers report they’ve been able to use “hook and loop” tape to adequately hold their doors closed. And we’ve seen commercially produced products marketed to keep young children from opening refrigerators. Dubbed “Safety 1st Fridge Locks” and sold by Walmart and elsewhere, these devices use double-stick tape to mount a plastic locking tab that secures the doors. Problem is, many customers report that after a few tugs by recalcitrant children, the double-stick tape just pops loose. This may not be a problem for an RVer without reefer marauders, but we haven’t personally tested the fix.

##RVDT2012

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Frank
1 month ago

Great idea! Thanks.

Mark Dirstine
1 month ago

So I have a never cold fridge with a plastic pin latch…. cheap..never stayed closed….turns and bridge bumps always opened it up….my solution was 3/4 or 1″ velcro tape place perpendicular to the door openings.

Bob Weinfurt
1 month ago

I had that issue with my 1977 Real Lites Dometic fridge. A short bungee cord did the trick.

Kim
1 month ago

I have been able to find refrigerator parts for both units in my ’06 NuWa and 1976 Mitchell on EBAY. Prices were reasonable. I hate new drilling into anything.

Cindy
1 month ago

The barrel bolt latch is a great idea! My idea of scramble eggs involve a frying pan, NOT a camper floor. I don’t like to put heavy items in the door shelves on my fridge. The hinges are not really strong, like they are on a residential fridge. I had a older travel trailer that I rebuilt, and the door sagged. You could see the rings on the shelves where sodas, milk, and other heavy beverages had sat (not to mention 2 cans of beer that they didn’t remove). And yes, I do enjoy rescuing abused travel trailers, and giving them a new life.

Joe
1 month ago

If I need to use double side tape because I’m not sure what is behind and I’m also sure I will not be removing it. Before removing the protective cover on the tape I trace around it, tape off the area, lightly sand the area, clean it off and put contact cement in the area. Had to do this with Command strips in our shower, never came off again!

Lisa Harris
12 days ago
Reply to  Joe

Great idea–always wondered how long command things would last without a bit of help, as well as how good some of the glue behind velcro tapes might be–this takes away the uncertainty.

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