DIY: Diagnose & Repair Not Working Power Locks

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Even as power door locks are highly important from safety point of view, they may not always function as they ideally should. Since reasons are numerous, you need to have some information these locking systems.

Having some information on the subject will help in emergency situations as well as in times when you need to speak to a professional locksmith and follow his telephonic troubleshooting instructions.


To begin with, a faulty door lock actuator is the most common culprit. Other reasons may be a faulty door lock switch or an out-of-order digital system.

No matter what the reasons, calling in a professional locksmith is a must when the problem at hand is too complicated for you to handle.

Locking and Unlocking System

The traditional ways of locking and unlocking a car include using the key, pressing the lock/unlock button inside, using the combination lock, pulling the doorknob and using remote control. Today, however, many cars have power door locks in which a switch sends command to actuators to unlock the car.

And in even more advanced systems, there are multiple ways of locking and unlocking the doors; the body controller usually decides on when to lock or unlock the car.

Diagnosing Door Lock Problems

You can easily identify the problem in your car by adopting a logical troubleshooting approach.

  • If it’s just one door lock that appears to have problem, chances are the root cause is limited to one door only. In a few cases, however, this may be a wiring-related issue.
  • If all of your door locks function from the door lock switch at the passenger side, and not from the door lock switch at the driver side, the issue is most likely to be associated with the passenger’s switch.
  • If a single lock functions in only just one direction in order to either lock or unlock, it must be the lock actuator that is at fault.
  • If all your door locks function in just one direction to either lock or unlock, and not both, the issue is most likely to be with the door lock switch.

Repairing a Power Door Lock

  • If none of the power door locks is working, the first thing you should do is examine the fuse box.
  • Spend some time inspecting the fuse; it is responsible for protecting the door lock circuit and ensuring it is not blown.
  • Consider reading instructions on your car-owner’s manual for detailed and illustrated fuse ratings and designations.
  • Next, operate all door lock switches in your car, checking whether you can lock your car by using any one of them or not.
  • If you are able to lock it using one of the lock switches, the problem must be a faulty switch on the door that’s not working.
  • If all the switches are fine but one single door is inoperative, the problem area should be in the circuit around the solenoid and switch, or a faulty solenoid.

Get in touch with an experienced locksmith at 212-222-2770 immediately if you need professional assistance!

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