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Q: My driver side door lock only works intermittently

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Drivers side door lock only works intermittently. It has been stuck for 2 weeks, I only just got it open today. Someone messed around with a slim jim, couldn't find anything to hook onto (so we're thinking a clip or a rod must be loose/gone), but he must have knocked something into/out of place because it did come open with a key. Now that it's open, it's possible to take off the door panel and replace whatever is broken/wearing out. I need help identifying what to look for. When it gets stuck, I can't unlock it manually, with a key, or with the electric button. The lock will come part way up and won't move any further. The door ext and int door handles work just fine. The lock cylinder was replaced 3 years ago because of similar problem. It seems like a mechanical problem, but do you think the electrical system is malfunctioning too? What parts do you think need to be replaced?

My tacoma has 320000 miles.
My tacoma has a manual transmission.

A: Hi there. There should a rod connecting the...

Hi there. There should a rod connecting the door lock cylinder to the lock assembly that is held in place with a plastic clip. These clips do become brittle over time and can break easily, whether by using a slim jim or just during normal operation. There is also the possibility that the door lock motor could be failing internally. While you have the door panel off, with the window in the up position, look to see if there is a rod extending from the lock cylinder down to the door lock actuator or motor. If it is there, check whether it has come loose; if it has, the clip may be missing and need to be replaced. Then, check the door lock motor with a digital volt/ohm meter to see if a power supply and ground are available at the motor. You can also attempt to operate the lock and listen for a slight "click." If you hear the slight "click," that is the motor trying to operate but failing internally. I strongly suggest having a qualified technician, such as one from YourMechanic, perform an inspection to diagnose your door lock problem so that you can avoid any unnecessary part replacements.

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