Door opens, but then won't latch closed, in cold weather

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My '99 Chevy Prizm (twin car to Toyota Corolla) is very susceptible to a door latch virus that goes around in winter, particularly when temperatures drop well below freezing for an extended period.

On a very frigid day (like we've had here the last couple of days), I can unlock and open the driver's door, but then when I shut the door, the latch will not catch. It is sort of frozen in the unlatched position. I do not have power locks. I have tried to hold the door shut, while pushing the lock button down, which does not help. Occasionally I have had luck with toggling the door handle (open/close) in combination with playing with the catch mechanism on the side of the door where it latches. But when it is really cold, there is nothing to do other than either entering/exit through another door, or waiting for the door to warm up. (It eventually goes back to normal once it has been warm enough, long enough.)

I had the dealership lube the latch last year, but apparently that did not cure it. I have seen other posts from people with the same problem (including VWs and Corolla's).

Other than this issue, the car has run perfectly and reliably and gives me no trouble (OK, where's the Smilie who's knocking on wood?) Other than parking it in a garage (which I don't have), what can I do to remedy this problem?

Miki

posted by  miki007

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