The average price for the door lock cylinder replacement cost is typically between $233 and $251 for most car makes, models, and years. The labor price is estimated between $69 and $87, with the total labor time typically around 60 minutes or less for this procedure. In addition, the cost of the parts is priced at around $164 for getting the door lock cylinder parts.
What is the door lock cylinder?
The door lock cylinder allows your car doors to be unlocked, even when the electronic systems on the vehicle have been turned off, disabled, or when the remote battery has failed after wear and tear. Even the most advanced cars still use a keyed lock on a few doors to use the manual and mechanical method to open the car if the electronic system fails.
The cylinder, or lock body, is the part of the door lock where you insert the key to open the door. When the door lock cylinder is closed, the cylinder engages the spring-loaded pins to prevent the cylinder from turning and the car door from opening. When you turn the key in the door lock cylinder, the ridged edge pushes the pins to fit the key's height and match the location within the lock body.
This way, the door lock cylinder recognizes the correct key when the pins move together in their correct location to solve the ‘puzzle.’ When the correct key is used in the door lock cylinder, this ‘opens’ the cylinder and allows the bolt to move and open the door. If you find the door is not opening, this signifies a higher door lock cylinder replacement cost.
Other Parts of a Traditional Lock
Bolt or Latch
The lock engages the bolt inside the door, with this piece of metal extending from the door and holding it closed. Without the latch, the door won't stay closed, and the door lock cylinder replacement cost will be higher.
- Spring Bolt – A spring latch is a bolt secured by a spring clip, with the spring unlocking the bolt and snapping into position. With this type of traditional lock, this type of door generally locks automatically when closed, leading to efficiency and ease of use.
- Deadbolt – A deadlatch does not use a spring-loaded mechanism to close automatically but uses a key with a knob to unlock or lock the door whenever needed.
Box and Strike Plate
The bolt extends from the door lock cylinder into the small square hole to hold the bolt securely in the door frame when the lock is engaged. The metal plate, which attaches to the door frame, is the strike plate. The purpose of this part is to guide the bolt into the box frame and reinforce the lock, helping to securely keep the door closed and prevent a higher door lock cylinder replacement cost.
How does the door lock cylinder work?
The door lock cylinder works with the other locking mechanisms to keep your door firmly and securely shut while driving or while parked. When the key is inserted into the door cylinder lock, the small dust shield is pushed to the side, and the key can easily slide into the lock. When the key goes into the door lock, it moves the small pins inside the tumbler to let the lock cylinder freely rotate and move again.
Basically, this means the pins are only aligned when the key with the correct shape is inserted. This prevents a random key from opening the door lock cylinder. If you find that the door opens without a key or multiple keys open your car doors, this could be a sign of a high door lock cylinder replacement cost.
Symptoms of a Faulty Door Lock Cylinder
Usually, drivers with a faulty door lock cylinder will find that the door is unable to open since the lock cannot accept the key, even though it is the correct key for the make and model of car. Drivers will see that the key is unable to turn when inserted in the door lock cylinder or fails to release from the lock after being turned.
If you notice any of these signs, you will have to inspect, repair, analyze, lubricate, and replace the door lock cylinder, leading to a high door lock cylinder replacement cost.
How often do door lock cylinders need replacement?
Door lock cylinders sometimes fail commonly in specific cars, but it depends on the wear and tear, make and model of the car, and the specific mechanism used for the door lock cylinder. Usually, you will find the door lock cylinder replacement cost and the frequency of replacements much higher on high-mileage cars than newer, low-mileage cars.
Lock cylinders wear out in everything, whether it be cars, houses, and various appliances, since there is extensive use and wear and tear day in and day out. There are many small parts in the door lock cylinder, so any one of these parts could fail and cause a high door lock cylinder replacement cost.
Some vehicles are known for door lock cylinder issues, leading to reliability concerns and owner concerns when purchasing these vehicles. In this case, keep an eye out for the specific car models that are more susceptible to door lock and safety problems after minimal use.
Most vehicles on the market will never need a door lock cylinder replacement but keep in mind that use, climate, and specific car makes can influence the replacement frequency and door lock cylinder replacement cost.
Can you drive with a faulty door lock cylinder?
With vehicles that have a correctly working remote entry, the door key lock cylinder is usually not required to replace right away. Since this part can typically be avoided if you find that it is having reliability issues in your car, it is not an immediate safety mechanism that must be repaired or replaced as soon as you notice signs of a faulty cylinder.
However, if you find the key remote fails or the battery dies in your vehicle, you will not be able to enter the vehicle. In this case, calling a locksmith or mechanic is necessary to gain access to your car and keep the door lock cylinder replacement cost as low as possible.
The lock cylinder typically does not need to be replaced to drive the vehicle as long as the anti-theft and safety mechanism are all working correctly. If your SRS system and the anti-theft electronics are in working order, then at least you will be able to continue driving safely without the door lock cylinder operating properly.
How do you diagnose door lock cylinder issues?
Door lock cylinder diagnosis is crucial when you attempt to perform any function with the key. If you find that any button does not work on the key fob or the key to the door is not inserting correctly, you will have to bring your vehicle to a mechanic in order to gain access to the vehicle.
Basically, the functions you need to diagnose to unlock the door cylinder is to turn the key and unlock the door, remove the key, install the key, or turn the key smoothly in the door lock cylinder. When any one of these movements cannot be accomplished, and your door will not open, the key needs to be inspected for any damage.
If there is no physical damage to the key, chances are the door lock cylinder is the culprit. When the technician disassembles the door, they can determine the root cause of the issue and the total door lock cylinder replacement cost.
What to look out for with door lock cylinder issues
When the door lock cylinder fails over time, removing the apparatus can become very difficult or impossible, leading to a high labor cost for this procedure. If this is the case, a mechanic or technician will have to disassemble the interior door panel, window regulator, and other parts of the door frame to gain access to the door lock cylinder.
If the door lock needs to be damaged to remove it from the vehicle, a professional should do this in order to prevent damaging any other parts and causing a higher door lock cylinder replacement cost. Lastly, the door lock cylinder is sometimes integrated into the anti-theft system in your vehicle. Hence, drivers or technicians need to be especially careful when removing this part not to damage any electrical components.
The Bottom Line
As a car owner, you need to know if your specific car make and model is highly susceptible to door lock cylinder issues. If you find that your safety system is not working correctly or your door won't latch shut when closed, then you may have to pay a hefty door lock cylinder replacement cost to your local mechanic.