Can you imagine how annoying it would be to have to manually lock and unlock all of the doors in your vehicle all the time? Believe it or not, everyone used to have to do it up until the invention of power locks. But in this day and age, it’s pretty much impossible to find vehicles without power locks in them, and it’s the door lock actuators in these vehicles that make it possible for people to lock and unlock their cars with the push of a button. You should familiarize yourself with door lock actuators and learn about what the door lock actuator replacement cost is going to be just in case yours ever goes bad. Continue reading to find out all about the importance of door lock actuators.
What Is a Door Lock Actuator?
To the naked eye, it appears as though locking and unlocking the doors in your car is as simple as pushing the “Lock” and “Unlock” buttons located right on the doors themselves. But of course, this couldn’t be further from the truth. While you might not have to do anything other than push these buttons to control the locks on your doors, locking and unlocking your car doors is a more complicated process than you might think.
Each door in your vehicle has what is called a door lock actuator on it. A door lock actuator is mounted on the inside of a car door, and it contains a series of parts in it including an electric motor, gears, and cables that connect to lock on the door. It’s also connected to a small computer that is responsible for receiving signals from your car’s lock/unlock buttons as well as the key remote fob that came along with your car keys. When the small computer gets these signals, it lets your door lock actuator know whether you want your car doors to be locked or unlocked at any given time.
As you might imagine, a door lock actuator plays a vital role in your ability to lock and unlock the doors to your vehicle. If a door lock actuator ever goes bad, it could make it difficult, if not impossible, to lock and unlock a car door. It’s why it’s going to be so important for you to pay the door lock actuator replacement cost in the event that one of your door lock actuators goes bad.
How Does a Door Lock Actuator Work?
Now that you have a basic understanding of what a door lock actuator is, let’s talk a little bit more about how one works. You’ll gain a new appreciation for your car’s ability to lock and unlock your doors electronically when you know what a door lock actuator has to go through to complete this relatively simple task. Here is how the process plays out in matter of just a second or two:
- You push the lock/unlock button on the door of your car or push the lock/unlock button on your key remote fob
- The button that you push sends a signal to the small computer that’s connected to your door lock actuator
- The small computer accepts the signal from the button and learns whether you want to lock or unlock your car’s doors
- The small computer tells your door lock actuator to either lock or unlock your car’s doors
- Your door lock actuator springs into action and either locks or unlocks your car’s doors
In theory, you might not think that your vehicle has to do all that much to lock or unlock your car. But as you can see, there are a series of steps that must be taken in order for your door lock actuator to lock or unlock your doors. And if you have a bad door lock actuator, it’s going to be tough for your car to carry out each of these steps accordingly. It’ll give you no choice but to shoulder the door lock actuator replacement cost to get things working the way they should again.
How Long Does a Door Lock Actuator Last?
Think about how many times you lock and unlock your car’s doors over the course of a single day. Depending on how much time you spend driving your car around, you might do it more than a dozen times each day. And that can really take a toll on your door lock actuators over time. When you’re constantly locking and unlocking your car doors, it’s eventually going to wear your door lock actuators out and put you in a position where you need to replace them.
That being said, it’s very difficult to figure out exactly how long a door lock actuator is going to last. There are some door lock actuators that will need to be replaced within just a few years. In certain cases, you might find that your car is still under warranty when you have to take it in for door lock actuator replacement. But in other instances, your door lock actuators could stick around well beyond the 100,000-mile mark. You might not ever have to worry about putting a new door lock actuator into place.
At the end of the day, it really all depends on how often you use your door lock actuators, what type of car you have, and how well you maintain your car as a whole. Generally speaking, you should only need to replace a door lock actuator once or maybe twice throughout the life of your vehicle, provided you don’t put any completely unnecessary wear and tear on them.
What Are the Symptoms of a Bad Door Lock Actuator?
When a door lock actuator goes bad in your car, it’s usually not too hard to tell that it needs to be replaced. You’ll find that a door in your car won’t lock and unlock like normal when you have a bad door lock actuator on your hands. But there are also some other signs that might suggest your door lock actuator is on its last legs when it’s about to go bad. Keep an eye out for these signs, which include:
- Strange sounds coming from the direction of your door lock actuator
- Interior lights in your car that don’t shut off like they’re supposed to
- Car alarm systems that malfunction on a regular basis
- A dead battery that is the result of your door lock actuators cycling all the time
As we said earlier, you’re typically going to find that a door lock actuator simply won’t work at all and will only affect your door locks. But they could also have an impact on other parts within your car, which will make it even more important for you to arrange to have door lock actuator replacement done sooner rather than later.
Is a Vehicle With a Bad Door Lock Actuator Safe to Drive?
By now, we hope that we’ve expressed just how essential it is to replace a door lock actuator that has gone bad quickly. But one piece of good news is that if you absolutely have to drive around with a bad door lock actuator, it’s not going to put you or your fellow passengers into any danger. You can manually lock and unlock a car door with a bad door lock actuator in it and not have to be too concerned about it causing any issues.
There are, however, a couple of potential problems that you’ll want to try and avoid at all costs when you have a bad door lock actuator. First and foremost, you’ll want to get into the habit of manually locking your car doors when you’re driving around to stop them from opening up in the event of a car crash. You’ll also want to manually lock your car doors when you’re not in it to prevent someone from being able to break into it without any issues.
As long as you do these things, a bad door lock actuator shouldn’t be able to cause any other issues for you safety-wise. But you will start to find that manually locking and unlocking the doors all the time is going to get annoying fast, so you should still plan to pay to have door lock actuator replacement done.
Where Can You Have Door Lock Actuator Replacement Done?
If you know that you have a bad door lock actuator in your car and you want to get it fixed, it should be easy tracking down someone to help you with it. Just about any ASE-certified mechanic should be able to pop your old door lock actuator out and put a new one into its place in no time. It’s a relatively straightforward job that should only take about an hour or so to complete.
Prior to tossing the keys to your car to a mechanic, though, you should make sure that they’re experienced when it comes to working on car doors. There are a bunch of parts behind the panels in your car doors, and they could sustain damage if you hire someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing to work on your car. It’s best to call on a mechanic that specializes in working on car doors and windows to provide you with a new door lock actuator.
How Much Does Door Lock Actuator Replacement Cost?
Replacing a door lock actuator is a job that most car owners don’t have to do very often. As a result, they’re not always aware of what the door lock actuator replacement cost is going to be. And at times, it can catch people a little bit off-guard since it’s slightly more expensive than you might think it would be.
On average, the door lock actuator replacement cost falls somewhere between $280 and $350. The labor associated with door lock actuator replacement isn’t much, as it only comes in at around $100. But the parts that are necessary to replace a door lock actuator can cost over $200 in some cases. It’s what makes door lock actuator replacement on the costly side.
You might also have to pay well above the average door lock actuator replacement cost in certain situations. Your exact cost is going to depend on the make and model of your car, the year your car was made, and your location. It’s a good idea to call around to get a few estimates for door lock actuator replacement before taking on the job. It could save you some money in the long run.
Is the Door Lock Actuator Replacement Cost Worth It?
After finding out how much door lock actuator replacement will cost you, you might be tempted to skip having it done. It’s not always worth it to those who have older vehicles that might not be worth a whole lot to start with. It’s also not always worth it to those who don’t ever drive around with other passengers since they’re able to keep their doors locked for the most part without locking and unlocking them very often.
But as we suggested a little while ago, you’re going to get awfully annoyed if you have to manually lock and unlock your car’s doors all the time. It’s going to get old fast and will make you wish that you had sprung for a new door lock actuator before long. You’re also going to hate the fact that you put your car and everything in it at risk by not electronically locking the doors every time you get out of it. You’ll feel so much better when you pay to have door lock actuator replacement done.
Is It Possible to Sell a Vehicle With a Bad Door Lock Actuator?
If you have an older car with a bad door lock actuator in it, you might think that that’s going to prevent you from selling it. It’s certainly not going to be an attractive selling feature to private buyers. But if you choose to sell your car to junk car buyers, they’ll have no problem at all taking it off your hands.
Cash Cars Buyers is one such example of a company that will gladly pay cash for your old car, bad door lock actuator and all. We make it possible for those who don’t want to pay the price to fix a bad door lock actuator to collect cash for their car fast and without any fuss. Get in contact with us now to find out what we would pay you for your old car.