How Power Door Locks Work

By: Karim Nice

Forcing the Lock

­ ­If you have ever locked yourself out of your car and called the police or AAA to help you get back in, you know that the tool used is a thin metal strip with a flat hook on it. From this article you can now see how this strip works.

A simple vertical motion from either the knob on the door or the power-lock actuator is all that's needed to turn the lock and open the door. What the officer is doing with the metal strip is fishing around until he or she hooks onto the point that the knob and actuator connect to. A quick pull on this point and the door is unlocked!


For more information on power door locks and related topics, see the links below.

Car Power Lock FAQ

Can you install keyless entry on a car with manual locks?
Keyless entry can be added to many vehicles that have manual locks, but it often requires professional installation at a garage.
Can you convert manual door locks to power locks?
Yes, you can buy kits that will allow you to change your manual lock into a power lock, though it may require additional parts and wiring.
How much does it cost to get power locks installed?
The cost of installing power locks varies in price quite a bit in large part due to variances in labor rates and cost of parts. Call the service department at your local dealership for a more accurate quote.
How do you know if your door actuator is bad?
The most obvious way to know if the actuator is not working is if the power door locks do not work or work sporadically. Unusual noises coming from inside the door is another common indicator that something is off with your actuator.
What causes power door locks to stop working?
An inoperative power lock is often caused by a broken actuator. Other reasons include worn out cables or mechanical issues with the linkage to the affected door. If the locks on all of the doors aren't working, it's likely due to a defective switch or a blown fuse.

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