What a convenience power door locks are on a vehicle. The latest don't even require you to push the button on the key fob; all you have to do is have it with you. But sometimes there's a component of power door locks that can fail, especially when they are used several times each day. Those are called the door lock actuators.
The actuator is an electric part that works with others (like motors and gears) to lock and unlock doors. You can hear them work, sometimes with the little whirr of the gear or the quiet clunk of the lock finishing its cycle. And it's good to pay attention to that sound because if it starts to sound different, it could be a signal that your lock is on the brink of failing. Another sign of a failing power door lock actuator is they start working intermittently or quickly and erratically. The driver's door is often the first to start acting up since it's the one that usually gets the most use.
When you start to notice these signs, consider a visit to your service facility to get your vehicle checked out. If you wait too long, you may find yourself getting locked out of your vehicle. Many vehicles do have mechanical keys available as a failsafe so you are at least able to get inside. Some of them are hidden inside the key fob and you should know how to access them. Check with your owner's manual or ask your service advisor.
It's extremely inconvenient to have to unlock your vehicle with the mechanical key, then get inside and unlock the other doors. It's even more inconvenient if you have passengers in the rear seats. And that doesn't even count having to go through the same thing to lock the doors when you arrive at your destination.
There are many things that can cause power door locks to malfunction, but if it turns out to be a power lock actuator, the most common remedy is to replace it. Some are easier for technicians to reach than others, depending on your vehicle's design. But once your locks are working again, you might think you've found the "key" to happiness!
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