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Power door locks are the most important security element of your vehicle. They keep potential thieves and burglars out of your car, and make it easy for you to lock and unlock your doors in a hurry. As a result, power door locks that don’t work are a little unnerving, as they spell an increased security threat for your vehicle.
The power door lock system is a relatively simple system. When you press the lock or unlock button (located on your key, or inside your vehicle), the power door lock sends a relay signal to the power door lock actuator. The actuator, through a series of gears, locks or unlocks the door or doors that you are controlling.
There are three primary components of the power door lock system that can fail, resulting in a useless power door lock:
Blown fuse: A fuse is a low resistance resistor that creates overcurrent protection. Essentially, the fuse takes a large amount of electrical current, and converts it into a smaller, more manageable amount of current that the door lock actuator can have. It’s not rare for fuses to blow, and when they do, electrical current will stop running to the door lock actuator, rendering the power door lock system useless.
Dead power door lock switch: The power door lock switch is a relatively simple rocker switch. It reacts to you pressing the lock or unlock button, and sends a simple signal to the actuator. Like light switches, the power door lock switch can die due to frequent use.
Malfunctioning power door lock actuator: The power door lock actuator is the part of the power door lock system that actually controls the locks. The actuator is a series of gears, with a set of rack and pinion gears at the end. When the actuator gets the signal from the power door lock switch, a small motor turns the gears. The rack and pinion are able to convert the rotational motion of the motor to a vertical motion, which locks and unlocks the doors. Like the power door lock switch, the power door lock actuator can malfunction due to the large amount of use that it gets.
A top-rated mobile mechanic will come to your home or office to determine the cause of the power door lock that isn’t working, and will then provide a detailed inspection report that includes the scope and cost of the necessary repairs.
A mechanic can often tell by the sound whether the problem lies with the fuse, the power door lock switch, or the power door lock actuator. After determining the problem with the system, the malfunctioning piece will be replaced. In rare instances a broken power lock actuator can be repaired, but usually any part of this system will need to be replaced if it isn’t working properly.
Power door locks are one of the most important facets of your vehicle’s security system. Without a properly working power door lock system, your vehicle is a security liability wherever it is.