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Lock Blog

A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals

Car Door Lock Repair: Find The Fix For Your Car Door Lock

by Ralph July 14, 2021

Car door lock repair can be tricky, so it is important to get a few things straight before service. Firstly, we are not talking about ignition repair. We are talking about car door lock repair. Yes, both potentially have a cylinder, but they are mechanically very different. Also, you may be locked out of your car if your door locks have broken.

We will review the following aspects of car door lock repair:


How much does car door lock repair cost?

$120 is the standard starting cost for car door lock repair. Because car door lock repair often includes the full or partial replacement of cylinders and interior door assemblies, most starting costs include the price of new parts. Also, servicing is often highly labor-intensive and procedurally variable due to the differences between vehicles.

Can you fix the power door locks on a car?

Power door lock repair and cylinder repair are the two most common types of car door lock repair. Both require the door to be disassembled in order to service parts. Disassembly can be rather complex and may require special tools such as tamper-proof screwdrivers. Car door lock repair will likely require replacing hardware, so you must also need new parts.

Is my car door lock broken or my key?

When there is an issue with a car door lock not working, it is often the result of a malfunctioning key. That is why it is always a good idea to test your key first and discount it as the primary source of your car door lock failing. Once it is clear that at least two keys cannot make the car door lock open properly, you have a good indication that the problem lies with the lock.

How do you open a car door when the lock is broken?

Locksmiths have several professional tools that can manipulate the internal door lock assembly of various vehicles. The basic principle is to bypass the broken element(s) that need car door lock repair and use the tool to simulate a working actuator. Depending on the way the door lock has broken, the lock may need more extensive tools and entry methods.

Can I put WD-40 on my car door locks?

WD40 is not recommended for car door locks, as it is oil-based and will collect dirt. Graphite and dry lubricants are preferred. However, if your issue will be solved by lubrication WD-40 will work. If you are put in a situation where you simply must use it, apply sparingly. It is unlikely to fix your car door lock permanently, but it is an acceptable temporary solution.

Troubleshooting Car Door Lock Repair

Before you start in on your car door lock repair, it is important to get an understanding of what may be going wrong. The source of your door lock issue may have almost nothing to do with the lock. The key could be what is causing your problem. And if the issue is with the lock, do you need to change a motor, the physical assembly or undergo a door lock cylinder replacement?

1. Testing Keys

The best way to see if you need new car keys or car door lock repair is to try out two different keys in the lock. If one key works and the other does not, then you know you have a broken key. If you don’t have a spare car key to test, you can try the same key in the ignition and other car door locks.

If one key has a recurring issue when attempting to open other locks or turn over the ignition, then you have a key issue. Or rather it is more likely your key is broken than it is to need both car ignition repair and car door lock repair. Now from here, you start looking into getting replacement keys and car key programming costs, or you move on to find out what is wrong with the locks.

Key Takeaways:

  • Test a spare key and see if the lock still does not work. 
  • A single key working in one cylinder and not another is a sign of a broken lock.
  • If the problem is with your key, you can ignore car door lock repair. 

2. Testing Locks

Your mission with testing locks is to unlock and lock your car in as many ways as possible. Using the key, using the interior buttons or posts, using the remote unlock, etc. See what works and what doesn’t. See what is happening when the lock isn’t opening. For example, can you not move the interior buttons at all, or do they move without opening the door?

When something doesn’t turn, depress, rise, etc, it is a sign that something is blocked. When a cylinder can rotate, buttons move freely, etc, it is an indication of disconnects and broken connections. One problem you may run into with testing locks is if you have a key stuck in the lock, but this could be a sign of wear to your car lock cylinder.

Key Takeaways:

  • Open your car door in all possible ways.
  • Take note of when and how a door fails to open or lock.
  • If something is stuck, there is likely a blockage.
  • Correct movement, which does not open the door, implies something is disconnected.

Service Options For Car Door Lock Repair 

Once the troubleshooting is complete, it is time for the actual car door lock repair. That means you need to make an important decision. Who is going to provide the car lock repair service? Each option for car door lock repair services will have pros and cons. It is up to you to determine which service best suits your needs, in terms of cost and convenience.

1. DIY

DIY car door lock repair spends time but saves money. Also, to do this type of work yourself, you may need a bit of mechanical knowledge and some non-standard tools. The door paneling that needs to be removed for car lock repair almost always uses tamper screws and requires special screwdrivers for disassembly.

The car door lock repair process breaks down to the following steps:

  1. Open the car door.
    1. If the broken lock is resulting in a lockout, consider calling a car lockout service.
  2. Remove interior side paneling and door covers.
    1. Refer to the vehicle manual for process outline and set screw locations.
  3. Locate the broken part and/or source of the blockage.
  4. Carefully remove the blockage and/or broken parts.
  5. Install replacement parts.
  6. Test the lock’s functionality before re-installing the side panels.

You can save money by doing the work yourself, but the work may not be done correctly. Without an expert present to give you professional insight into your particular car door lock repair, you will be accountable for your own diagnosis. This means there is a chance that even if you perfectly replace the parts you are concerned with, you may not fix the car door.

2. Dealership

The dealership will almost always be the most expensive option for car door lock repair, but this service may be covered by your warranty. You can also check to see if there are any recalls on your car’s door locks, which would require free replacement of defective parts. Just be aware that there is a strong inclination to replace rather than repair.

You see this all the time when you need to fix a broken car key fob. If a battery change does not fix the issue, they want to replace it, which would be fine if they were not going to charge the highest prices for replacement parts by virtue of ordering directly from the manufacturer. Other independent options have the opportunity for competitive pricing.

3. Mechanic

A mechanic is going to be able to sort out the different types of car door lock repair and have access to replacement parts. They are likely to cost less than the dealership and provide the same level of service and convenience. A mechanic is the bare minimum level of professional car door lock repair I would recommend.

Though mechanics are not focused on locks and keys, they are mechanically minded and experienced with vehicles. It is extremely likely that they will know the difference between what to do with a car door lock stuck in the lock position, and a car door won’t open from inside or outside. But if you cannot drive your car as a result of the issue, move on to the locksmith section.

4. Locksmith

A locksmith offers all of the positive attributes of a mechanic with the additional benefit of being able to drive to your location and service your car wherever it is. This type of mobile locksmith service is available even for something as complex as car door lock repair. Parts may need to be purchased, but in some cases service can be done immediately.

Locksmith service prices are inherently less expensive than all other options because of the convenience. There is no other option for car door lock repair that brings materials and service to your vehicle. They can also provide additional services as needed. For example, when you can’t open your car to drive it, you need a lockout service just to be able to fix your car door lock.

Closing Words

Trying to go about car door lock repair yourself might seem like it saves you money, but you might be spending time and dollars without solving your issue. That is why hiring a professional to fix your car door lock is highly recommended. But what type of professional should you call? The answer is simple. Call United Locksmith.

Category: Automotive, Lock Types

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