Door Locks

Step by step guide on how automotive electric door locks work. This article pertains to all vehicles.

Step 1 - Power locks or electric locks allow the doors of a vehicle to be locked or unlocked by a switch or automatically. Activated by a switch or remotely these locks add convenience to the operation of the locks. A key fob or remote is used to operate these locks from a distance away from the vehicle while illuminating the interior lights for safety.

Electric Door Lock
Step 2
- Occasionally the door lock will close while the door is still open. When this happens follow this door wont close repair guide

Door Lock Closed
Helpful Information

System components include; lock actuator, switch, wiring harness and a circuit breaker. Voltage is sent to the actuator by using a control switch and relay which is connected to a power source and ground circuit. This simple electrical system is protected by a circuit breaker than when heated will cutoff electrical power until cool. Once cooled the breaker will reset allowing the door locks to operate. The body computer can active the lock control relay when certain criteria is achieved such as driving for a period of time, the locks will automatically engage as a safety measure. A door lock actuator is located inside the door usually mounted in the lower part of the door near the latch, or it is incorporated into the latch itself.

Actuators are constructed in one of two ways, either they are a simple solenoid which are common among older vehicles, or they are a combination of an electric motor and gear set which moves a lock control mechanism.

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