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

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
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 recent 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 elsehere, 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.

##RVDT1718

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Jerry Glazman
11 months ago

If it’s just while you’re traveling, 2″ blue painters tape works just fine. No hole drilling, not difficult to remove “permanent” Velcro, no residue and nothing there when you’re at your destination.

DW/ND
11 months ago

All the locks in the world won’t help, if you forget to latch ’em! Our first motorhome, several yrs ago, had a factory freezer-fridge with a manual lock to secure both. My wife, responsible for inside “get-ready” pooed-pooed my use of check-lists. First turn from our local road to the hiway – a quart of milk and other sundry items hit the floor; fortunately, only a block from home. Use a Check List!

Ken Weinert
11 months ago

On our newer (2019) trailer we had the issue a couple of times where the door popped open. I use a bungie cord to hook to the fridge door handle, up through the freezer door handle, and then down to the oven handle.

Evidently I got the right combination of length of cord and path to keep it tight enough that it no longer pops open. I will note that our door does latch OK when it’s not moving.

I know this won’t work for everyone as it’s highly dependent on how things are arranged in the kitchen, but this might be an alternative for some.

Jim K
11 months ago

I have been struggling for a year now on how to keep my small residential fridge/freezer doors from opening on the road. I followed the link that Ken posted and found a slightly different latch than the one Ken uses and immediately ordered a pair of them. I had no idea these even existed! Thanks Ken!!!!!

Randy r
11 months ago

Depending on how close the wood encloser is and if the door is flush with the frame you may get away with mounting the slide part on the wood frame without having to drill into the fridge.

Chuck B
11 months ago
Reply to  Ken W

Thanks, this is why we read this newsletter. Love it.

Richard Hughes
11 months ago

We bought the child proof straps in the Baby Section at Walmart. Peel and stick, easy install.

tom
11 months ago

“orphan” parts is a big problem. Even if they are made, try and find who has them.

Bob P
11 months ago
Reply to  tom

I had the name of a company in Arizona in my notes when we had our 19 year old motorhome but I must’ve deleted it when we sold it. I’m sure if you google it you can find their name. I got the info from this newsletter in 2017 after buying the motorhome.

littleleftie
11 months ago

I have only had 1 episode of the door swinging open and yes, a strip of Velcro has solved that problem nicely. Our setup doesn’t allow for the brass barrel lock but that is an excellent idea.

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