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Why Is My Driver Side Power Door Lock Not Working?

Cars have undergone numerous improvements over the years, and many modern vehicles boast power locks that can be controlled remotely.

But, no matter how innovative a car is, you’ll inevitably run into some issues, such as the driver-side power door lock not working.

So what do you do if this happens?

How are you supposed to get back in your car?

Before you consider smashing the window, let’s look at why the power door locks aren’t working and how they can be fixed.

Top Causes Of The Driver’s Side Power Door Lock Not Working

Before you decide that the driver’s door is the sole issue, you should check to see if the other locks are faulty too.

The main problem is usually the key fob battery or the fob itself.

Take a look at the top causes of faulty power door locks below.

keyfob for power door lock

Dead key fob battery

The key fob is an electronic device that’s connected to the car key.

This is what you use to lock and unlock your car, but if the battery runs out, you can’t remotely control the door locks.

Many fobs have LED light indicators that light up when the buttons are pressed.

This means that if the fob doesn’t light up when you press any buttons, you can safely assume that it has a dead battery.

How To Fix It

To fix this problem, simply replace the battery, which is a super easy and quick task to do!

A faulty key fob

If you’ve changed the battery, but the problem persists, the key fob may be to blame.

If this is the case, you should take the fob to your car make’s dealership so they can assess it.

How To Fix It

How you should fix this problem depends on the dealership’s recommendations.

They will either reprogram the key fob or recommend you replace it.

If the locks on the driver door aren’t working and the other doors are, take a look at the possible causes below.

Other Possible Faults With The Remote Control


The first thing to check for is any dirt or grime that may be obstructing the lock mechanism.

To check for this, press the fob to unlock your door.

If it sounds like the lock is trying to engage but won’t unlock, there could be an obstruction.

How To Fix It

The quickest and easiest way of loosening and removing grime and dirt is to spray the door lock with lubricant.

Once you’ve done that, try unlocking the door again.

Lack of lubrication

Moving parts always experience friction, so a possible cause of the driver-side door locks not working is a poorly lubricated door latch.

For this issue, check if the latch mechanism on the door has any corrosion that could be hindering the lock.

How To Fix It

Lubricating the door latch will easily resolve this issue.

A silicone-based spray is best as latch mechanisms tend to be made from non-metallic parts.

Motor oil and lithium grease are also good choices.

All you need to do is apply the lubricant and wipe away any excess.

If your door has a keyhole, insert the key and see if it will lock or unlock.

This will allow the lubricant to get in between each plate.

Linkage issues

The door lock actuator has the job of unlocking and locking the door with just a push of a button.

It can be found on the inside of the door panel with several parts connecting.

If your car door lock isn’t working, there might be some disconnected parts or some loose linkages.

How To Fix It

You’ll need to disconnect the links, make sure you remember where they all go, then reconnect them.

If you don’t think you’ll remember which link goes where you can disconnect one link and then reconnect it before moving on to the next one.

Dead switch

The door lock switch is probably one of the last things you’d think about if your power locking isn’t working.

But its job is to send a signal to the locking mechanism when the lock or unlock button is pressed.

If it’s broken or malfunctioning, it doesn’t matter how much you press the key fob button; it won’t respond.

To check if the switch is the issue, see if there’s any exterior damage to the lock switch.

If it’s broken, the door lock won’t work.

How To Fix It

If you’re positive that you have a dead switch, you’ll need to purchase a new one and replace the old one with it.

Problem with the actuator wires

The lock actuator has wires that the electric current passes through to power each part.

But if any part has broken wires, it won’t work properly.

You can check for this by holding the lock switch down or up and then opening and closing the door.

If the lock works intermittently, it could be a broken wire.

You can also check for broken wires by removing the door panel and inspecting them for any damage.

How To Fix It

If the wires aren’t damaged, you can disconnect and reconnect them.

If that doesn’t work, it’s time to replace them with a new set.

The actuator fuse has blown

The actuator fuse is responsible for protecting the overcurrent and changing large amounts of electricity into smaller amounts.

A blown fuse means these electrical currents won’t be sent, and the actuator won’t be able to work properly.

If you know your way around the electrical parts, you can find the fuse and see if there are any broken lines.

Top tip – a broken fuse will sometimes look cloudy.

How To Fix It

The only way to fix this issue is to buy a new fuse and replace the faulty one.

An issue with the actuator gear

Along with fuses and wires, the door’s lock actuator has circular and linear gears that are responsible for changing the rotational motions into straight ones.

Because of this, if the gear has an issue, the door lock mechanism won’t engage.

To check for this, take a look at the gears and see if any of the teeth are missing or if any parts are broken.

How To Fix It

You’ll need to buy a replacement set of gears that are compatible with the door’s lock actuator.

The actuator motor is dead

Another component of the actuator that you should check is the motor.

This has a specific life expectancy that depends on how often it’s used.

To see if the actuator motor is the problem, take out the wires and attach them to a 9 or 12V battery.

Touch the probes to the input connection and try to engage the lock.

If there’s a sound, it means the actuator is working properly.

But, if the motor won’t spin, there won’t be any sound, and it means it’s dead.

How To Fix It

You’ll need to purchase a new motor and replace the broken one.

You can do this yourself if you know how to, or you can have a professional install it.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix The Power Door Lock?

This depends on what the problem is and which parts need to be purchased.

Whether you fix the issue yourself or bring in a professional will also affect the cost of resolving the problem.

However, if you decide to fix it yourself, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $200.

If you get a professional to sort it for you, it could cost you from $150 to $700.

If you’re not sure what you’re doing with car electricals, it’s better to pay more for a professional than risk making an expensive mistake by attempting it yourself.

Power Door Lock Troubleshooting

Why is only one door not locking?

If only one door isn’t working, it might be the wiring.

Over time, these wires can suffer from wear and tear, causing a break in the circuit.

What causes a power door lock to stop working?

The possible reasons above are all common causes of the driver’s side door lock not working.

Try starting with the simplest ones first, such as checking whether the fob key battery is dead, before moving on to the more technical causes.

Should I keep my doors locked or unlocked when driving?

Death and injuries are caused when passengers are thrown from the car during a crash.

If the doors are unlocked, they’re more likely to swing open, and the risk of being thrown from the vehicle is higher.

For this reason, it’s recommended that the doors are locked when you’re driving.

Final Thoughts

It can be frustrating if your door locks aren’t working, but the suggestions above are a good place to start.

But, if none of the points above have worked, you might be better off hiring the services of a professional such as a mechanic or a dealership.