Power Door Lock Problems – Not Working Or Buzzing

Power door locks not working can be a real pain. I remember when manual door locks were more common on cars, but today it seems rare to see a car with manual locks. Usually the most common problems with power door locks are the actuators. They are small electric motors used to lock and unlock the car doors when activated by a switch or remote. Like any electric motor sooner or later it will fail. Replacing an actuator involves removing the interior door panel for access. Some are part of the door latch and some are independent.

Either way, door lock actuators need to be replaced if they are buzzing, working only in one mode or are not working at all. Of course a little common sense goes a long way in determining if the problem is with the door lock actuator or just the switch. It usually boils down to a “common denominator.” If a All the door locks, only work when locking and NONE of them work to unlock, then the switch is most likely the cause. It would be highly unlikely for all of the switches to fail at the same time with the same symptoms! The common denominator, the thing that they all have in common and what is the most likely cause of failure in this case would be the switch.

Things to consider when diagnosing related problems. 

  • Does the problem involve all of the door locks or just one?
  • Do the door locks work properly with the remote?
  • Was there any work done in the door that has the problem recently?
  • Does the battery have a full charge? Low voltage can cause funny things to occur.

Rain getting into a switch can also cause corrosion, which could result in a poor connection. Hopefully with the tips in this article, diagnosing will be a little easier.