How to Repair Faulty Central Door Locks

Written by robin reichert
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Almost all cars in the U.S. come equipped with central door locks that are operated from the driver's side door. When the driver's door is locked, the other doors in the car also lock. Occasionally, the motor that controls the locks may fail due to wear. If your car is out of warranty, you can replace the motor that controls the central door locks in your car if you have a replacement part and some mechanical knowledge.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Wrench (or pliers)

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  1. 1

    Raise the driver side door lock to the "unlocked" position. Disconnect the car battery by loosening the battery connections. Remove the ground (black cable) first and then remove the positive (red) cable.

  2. 2

    Remove the driver side door panel by removing all screws starting at the bottom of the door. Place the screws in a safe place. Next, disconnect the wiring plugs inside the door and release the wires from the clips that hold them in place.

  3. 3

    Release the lock control rods and then remove the screws that hold them in place. Remove the faulty lock motor from the door by removing the screws that hold it in place. Replace the motor by screwing the new motor into place.

  4. 4

    Insert the lock control rods into the motor and press down until the rods click. Plug all electrical connections into the new central lock motor. Replace the door panel. Reconnect the battery by connecting the positive (black) cable and then the positive (red) cable to the battery and tighten the connection.

Tips and warnings

  • Maintain the electrical lock system in your car by avoiding spills that may damage electrical components.
  • Use a lubricant designed for central electric door locks to keep the mechanism in good working order.
  • Never attempt repairs on your vehicle if it is still under warranty. Any attempt to make repairs may void your remaining warranty. See your dealer for warranty information.
  • Never try to force open a locked door when the lock is frozen due to very cold weather.
  • Never try to force a central door lock by using force on a door key inserted into the door lock. The key may break off inside the door lock.

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