Door Latch Striker Plate Adjustment

Note: This procedure is for 1967 and later model cars.
Earlier models are similar.


Note: Before beginning, make sure the door is properly adjusted. See our Door Adjustment Procedure.

The door latch mechanism (the point at which the door latches to the door post) consists of two parts -- the striker plate on the door post, and the latch on the door. If your door rattles or requires excessive force to close and lock, the door latch striker plate is probably out of adjustment.


Striker Plate (on the door post)


  1. Completely remove the striker plate from the door post by removing the four Phillips head screws that hold it in place.
  2. Note: As these screws will see a lot of action as the door opens and closes, they must be very tight. You may need an impact wrench to remove them. (See the picture below.)


    Pneumatic Impact Wrench


    Note: The striker plate is attached to the door post with four Phillips head screws that are threaded into a moveable plate inside the rear quarter panel. Don't be alarmed when the striker plate drops down a bit when you remove the screws -- you haven't lost a nut down inside the door post or anything. When making adjustments, loosen the screws so that they are snug enough to hold the plate in position but loose enough to allow you to move the plate.

  3. Close the door and note whether the front edge of the door is flush with the front panel. If it isn't, loosen the hinges and move the door in, out, up or down as necessary. (Again, see our Door Replacement/Adjustment procedure.)

    Latch (on the door)


  5. Insert the striker plate, bottom first, in the latch on the door, the way it goes. Press the latch down into its fully locked position, then rotate the striker plate toward the outside of the door (counterclockwise on the left door, clockwise on the right door). The striker plate should now be firmly attached to the door, with the door lock depressed.
  6. Return the striker plate to a vertical position on the latch. Try to move the striker plate up and down on the latch. If the striker plate can be moved up and down, the rubber wedge on the striker plate must be shimmed or replaced.
  7. Note: To correct either a misalignment between the door and front body or a lock of uniformity in the gap between the door and the body, adjust the door hinges and not the striker plate. Only misalignment (vertical or horizontal) between the door and rear body should be corrected by adjusting the striker plate.

    • To shim a wedge (1967 through 1971 models), remove the two Phillips screws on the angled arm of the striker plate, then insert the shim between the angled arm and the wedge and reinstall the screws.
    • Note: These little plastic shims are almost impossible to find. The only alternative is to replace the entire striker plate. Fortunately they are not very expensive.

    • To replace a wedge (1972 on), simply pull the old wedge and rubbing block out, switch the rubbing block to the new wedge and insert the new wedge into the striker plate.

  8. Remove the striker plate from the latch on the door by depressing the door release trigger; lay the striker plate and its screws aside for a moment.
  9. Correct any excessive wedge play by installing shims or replacing the wedge as necessary.
  10. Install the striker plate in its proper position on the door post and tighten the screws snug enough to hold the plate in position but loose enough to allow you to move the plate.
  11. Adjust the striker plate as follows -
    1. Use the notches at the top and bottom of the striker plate as reference points for the preliminary alignment of the striker plate in the door frame. Match these notches in the striker plate with the dimples in the body where the striker plate attaches.
    2. Close the door. Note the alignment of the door and rear quarter panel. If they're not flush, move the striker plate up or down.
    3. Note: The striker plate screws onto the movable threaded plate behind the pillar panel. By moving the plate up or down, you can correct any misalignment of the ridge in the body where the door and the rear body meet. Moving the plate in or out corrects the position of the door so that it will be flush with the side of the car when the door is closed.

    4. After aligning the door, feel for play between the lock and the striker plate. If there is play or if the door will not latch, rotate the striker plate clockwise in an arc with the striker plate lug at the center. This moves the wedge closer to the door latch.
    5. If the door is difficult to close or if the handle works stiffly (i.e., the pushbutton is hard to operate), the top of the striker plate is inclined inward too much, which forces the wedge against the latch too tightly. Loosen the screws, rotate the plate outward slightly, and check again.
    6. If the door springs back to the safety position instead of remaining closed when you slam it, the top of the striker plate is inclined outward too much, which prevents the wedge from applying sufficient pressure to hole the latch in place. Loosen the screws, rotate the plate inward slightly, and check again.
    7. If it's hard to open the door with the pushbutton and the door drops noticeably when you open it, instead of holding its horizontal position, the striker plate is too high. Lower the striker plate.
    8. If the door springs out of the closed position when you slam it and engages the safety notch, the striker plate is too low. Raise the plate.
    9. Once the door is flush with the lock pillar, the bottom of the door is aligned with the rear quarter panel, there's no play between the lock and the striker plate when the door is opened or closed with the handle, and the door opens from the inside without excessive effort, the striker plate adjustment is correct.

  12. Once you have the striker plate adjusted properly, tighten the four bolts that hold it in place as tightly as you can. Using an impact wrench with a clockwise turn -- but be careful not to damage the Phillips screw heads.

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