Modern technology has afforded us luxuries that were in the past unforeseen and the stuff of fiction. Today, some of the most advanced technological developments are seen in the automotive industry. Power brakes and steering were a huge step in advancement for automotive design, and then came the power door locks and keyless entries; people were in awe of the convenience and luxury that became associated with simply unlocking one’s car door. Now, the only time we notice the convenience of such advancements is when the mechanism fails, and we cannot enter the car automatically. This can cause a significant inconvenience to consumers who were attracted to the ease of keyless entries and power locks in purchasing their vehicles in the first place. Particularly with older vehicles, these mechanisms fail routinely over time; however, it is also possible for this feature to decrease in efficacy in even newer models. There are steps that one can take when they are concerned that their power lock system has failed, although it is highly recommended to take it to a professional immediately, as to not possibly make the issue worse.
In extreme low or high temperate weather, it is possible that the mechanism has failed solely due to the temperature—it may be a matter of the keyless entry remote needing to be warmed up, or cooled off. However, it is likely that the problem is not that simple. First, and foremost, check the battery of the remote—that may be a quick fix to the issue if indeed the battery is drained or faulty. You will want to check each of the other doors in your vehicle to determine if the cause of the issue lies within the remote, or within the lock itself; it may be that only one door lock is the issue, and the keyless entry remote works just fine. Especially with older vehicles, it is possible that the lock needs to be lubricated; this is something people can do themselves relatively easily, but requires some knowledge of mechanics in order to be sure that everything is properly put back together (the last thing you want is to break something else in the process of trying to fix one thing).
The door lock actuator is what allows the power lock to function properly—it is the electrical piece that is necessary for the door lock mechanism to engage. While it is possible that the issue of the power lock failure is due to a faulty actuator, it is not the end of the world; although it does cause a serious inconvenience to the driver, as well as to the passengers. Imagine having to manually unlock your car door, manually unlock the passenger door, and then manually unlock the back doors as well if you have passengers in the back seat—what a hassle! Regardless of whether or not you have any knowledge about such mechanics, you will need to find a replacement actuator for the locking mechanism if you want the power locks to properly function. After all, technological advancements have become commonplace, especially in automotive technology—and power locks have now become one of the basic criteria for modern vehicles.
Some warning signs that the actuator has failed are: unprovoked locking or unlocking of the doors, odd mechanical sounds coming from the lock system, or simply a failure of the keyless entry to function. The actuator on older vehicles is likely to fail after some time, especially with extensive, regular use. Power lock actuators are not particularly expensive parts, and can be easily fixed by a professional in the automotive business. However, it is important that you do your research on prices before you take your vehicle in to be repaired—getting gouged with unfair costs can be typical of some mechanic shops. If you are unsure of where the issue is coming from, it is always best to bring your car to a professional service center to be looked at. While it may be tempting to try to fix the issue yourself in the interest of saving money, this could end up costing you more in the long run if you damage any other parts of the vehicle in the process.