What is a Tube Door?

Mary McMahon

Tube doors are doors for offroad vehicles made with a lightweight and open framework of metal tubes. They are designed to increase visibility from inside the vehicle and to reduce its loaded weight. A number of companies manufacture tube doors for installation on existing vehicles and people can also fabricate their own if they have metalworking skills. The legality of such doors varies by region and it may be necessary to affix a mirror on the driver's side to make the vehicle street legal.

Woman posing
Woman posing

The typical tube door design resembles the outline of framing for the lower part of a door, with the top left entirely open where the window would be. Some designs include latches and can be opened and closed, while others are fixed in place and people must climb over the door to enter the vehicle. Lightweight canvas covers can be attached to the tube door if people need a space to store gear or want to keep objects inside the vehicle from rolling out during travel.

Increased visibility can be valuable for offroaders, as they need to be able to see clearly while they are navigating to avoid hazards like boulders, trees, and hillsides. Because offroad vehicles sit very high off the ground, visibility of low objects can be decreased and may make driving in some settings dangerous. The tube door design eliminates this issue. The lighter weight of a tube door can also make the car easier to handle and create more room for heavy gear in the fully laden vehicle.

The tube door design can significantly reduce safety in a crash, as the solid car door design is intended to absorb some of the impact of a side collision. This concern makes tube doors not legal for street use in some regions, although people can use them on private property or while on specified offroad trails. Offroad vehicles are typically used at low to medium speeds in environments without other cars, where concerns about crashes are not as pressing.

Installation of tube doors is relatively straightforward, as the old doors simply need to be removed from the hinge pins and replaced. In some cases, it may be complicated by electrical wiring running to the mirror in vehicles with heated mirrors or mirrors mounted on motors for ease of adjustment. A mechanic can provide assistance if a driver is unable to put the doors on successfully and in some regions mechanics specializing in offroad vehicle modifications are available.

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