Power Door Locks Not Working: The Top Two Causes

Before you can conclude that the driver’s side door lock is the only problem, you need to check if the other locks aren’t working as well. Often, the primary issue is with the key fob battery and the key fob itself.

Cause #1: Dead Key Fob Battery

A key fob is a type of electronic device connected to the car key that you will use to unlock and lock your doors. Apparently, if it runs out of battery, which powers it, you won’t be able to control all your door locks remotely.

How Do I Know If the Key Fob Battery Is Dead?

Most key fobs come with an LED light indicator that will light up when you press any of the buttons. As such, if it doesn’t produce any light, there’s a high probability that the battery is dead.

The Solution

To resolve this issue, you would need to replace the battery. Don’t worry since doing so isn’t difficult and you can do it on your own.

Cause #2: Faulty Key Fob

If you replaced the battery and the door locks still don’t work, the key fob might be the problem.

How Do I Know If the Key Fob Is Faulty?

You should bring the key fob to your car’s dealership. They would hook it up to a computer and check the fob’s program.

The Solution

How to resolve the issue would depend on the professional’s recommendation. They can either reprogram the fob or recommend replacing it.

If, at this point, the other door locks are working and the driver side’s power door lock switch not working, then find the possible cause with the help of the guide below.

Immediate Solution

If you need to get on the road quickly, and the car door is stuck closed, you can always get in through another door. Granted, this doesn’t fix your car door issue, but it will ensure that you can get where you are going in a pinch.

Be sure that the door is securely closed when driving. If the issue is that your car door is stuck open, you should not drive until it is fixed. Conversely, you should probably not drive if the car lock is stuck closed as well. In the event that you are in an accident, you will not be able to easily exit the vehicle. This could potentially put you in danger.

In order to open the car door, you can try the following steps:

  1. Locate the car door latch
  2. Locate the gap that catches on the hasp of your car door.
  3. Insert a thin and long tool (examples include a pen or key) into the gap.
  4. Push the latch toward your car in an upward motion
  5. Close the door

This is a temporary solution if you absolutely must use your car before you can fix the locking issue. Just remember that this only works if the door is stuck open. You may not be able to get back into it once it is closed.

If your car door lock is stuck closed, there are some steps you can try to get it open.

  1. Try all available ways of gaining access to the car through the stuck door. This includes your key remote, interior door locks, handles, etc)
  2. If these don’t work, use another door to gain entry to your car.
  3. Face the interior side of the door lock that is stuck in the locked position.
  4. Locate the set screws for the door panel.
  5. If you can locate them, remove the set screws.
  6. If the door panel cannot be opened far enough to both reach and view the car door lock assembly, you can attempt to search for possible partial disassembly.
  7. When you gain access to the door lock assembly, you can attempt to manipulate both the assembly and the interior door lock.
  8. Search for a temporary way to open the door by moving the latch.

Sure, it sounds simple to some, but it can be quite difficult. Troubleshooting is key here so you know exactly what you are looking for.


Solutions for when your Car Door won’t Open From Inside Or Outside:

Repair the broken connections:

Open the door and troubleshoot the lock assembly. Use replacement parts if needed and mend the broken connections.


Lubricating the door latch is one of the ways in which doors that won’t open from the inside or the outside can be fixed. Begin by checking the keyway for blockage. Next, open the door and try to adjust the lock assembly to see what is stuck. Lubricate the assembly and move again. Repeat this process until all blockage is removed.

Remove the door panel:

Use your tools to detach the door panel. Once the screws from the door panel are removed, it will be easier to identify the issue. Next, disconnect the electrical connections that are attached to the door panel. Once the panel is removed, you will notice a plastic cover inside the panel.

Remove this cover and look for issues that are preventing the door from opening. Now, check whether the issue is with the mechanisms or the inside shafts. Attach a nut at the end of the shaft to tighten the grip, thus allowing the door to open from the outside.

To resolve the issue of not being open from the inside, check for issues in the power locking system. It may require repair or replacement.

And finally, check the lock assembly for broken parts and double-check the door lock motor. This entire process is easily done with the door panel removed.

Get a locksmith:

Car doors that won’t open from inside or outside may have a failed lock assembly. These issues are easier to diagnose and resolve once we are able to get the car door to open.

Thus, a simple solution for this is to turn to a professional auto locksmith. They can help open the car while ensuring a minimum level of damage done to the door. Once the door is open, based on assessment, lock parts can be repaired or replaced.

The Keyless Entry Car Remote Is Broken

Another potential problem with keyless entry car remotes is that they can become broken. If your car remote breaks, then it isn’t going to be able to lock your car. You’ll usually discover this is the case after trying to replace the battery. If a new battery didn’t fix what was wrong with the car key fob, then you’re going to need to go a step further.

You should take the car remote to the dealership to get it checked out. They should be able to hook it up to a computer and diagnose what’s wrong with it. You might be able to get it fixed by ensuring that things are programmed properly. In all likelihood, the dealership will just give you a replacement car remote and get things working for you.

If you bought your car second hand, then you might need to go to a locksmith. Locksmiths can usually help you with keyless entry systems. They might be able to get your car remote working. If they can’t, then they’ll be able to get you a new system that’ll allow your locks to work properly once more.

2. Door Lock Actuator Issues

The actuator is responsible for locking and unlocking your car doors. If the actuator is broken, it prevents signals from reaching the car door, causing locking and unlocking issues. You can ask an automotive specialist to investigate if the actuator is working correctly.

What is a deadlocked car door?

Many modern cars come with deadlock systems. These locks provide an extra layer of security for your car by allowing unlocking only through the rotation of a lock cylinder.

These exist to make entering your car harder for criminals. Instead of smashing the window and unlocking your car by pulling the tab or knob, they’ll trigger an alarm instead!

One specific type of deadlock is the child safety lock. This type of deadlock prevents doors being opened from the inside. These types of locks are commonly installed on rear doors only.

In some car models, doors with deadlocks require you to turn the key a bit further than you normally would. Many car owners don’t know this – perhaps their dealership forgot to mention it, or they missed it in their owner’s manual.

And with how rarely many of us use physical keys nowadays, it’s not completely unreasonable that you’d never realise this.

If your car lock isn’t letting you in, give this a shot – who knows, it might work!

3. Try the other doors

Before ripping off a door and changing the wiring when it doesn't open, check the other door locks first.

  • If they don’t work, then there’s a good chance that you might have a blown fuse.
  • This can usually be fixed with a simple replacement.

You Need to Replace the Solenoid

If only one of your car doors isn’t locking properly, then it’s a sign that you might have a bad solenoid. These can go bad over time, due to being used so often. This is actually a very common reason for why your locks stop working. It’s also another problem that’s going to be decidedly simple to fix.

Installing a new solenoid in your door is going to be simple enough. You can just remove the door panel, find your old solenoid, and then replace it with the new one. It’s not all that complicated and it shouldn’t cost you much money to fix. If this is what’s wrong with your door lock, then you can go ahead and feel pretty lucky.

5. Defrost the lock

To check an individual lock mechanism, work the door lock manually up and down (or backwards and forwards in newer vehicles) while using the auto lock button at the same time. Just make sure the key is “on”.

  • If the lock “tries” to move, then the problem could be a frozen lock mechanism or a faulty solenoid.

For a frozen lock, you can use a hair dryer (or the flame from a match or lighter) to heat the key or the lock mechanism itself, to thaw it out.

  • Another option is to use a lock de-icer or even a battery-powered key that heats up and melts the ice.


How do you unlock a stubborn lock?

Most people recommend using a silicone lubricant on the lock, but I prefer multi-purpose lubricating oil because it’s cheaper and just as good. Hold the key flat and pour some oil on it, then insert it into the lock. Work the lock and be patient, and you’ll likely be able to turn it.

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Why won’t my key unlock my car door?

We’ve explained the reasons why the physical key might not work, but you’ve still got other options to open the door. You can unlock the passenger’s side door with the key, use the fob remote, or even unlock the vehicle through a phone app.

4. Blown Fuse

A fuse is useful in overcurrent protection in a vehicle. The fuse ensures the amount of electrical energy that reaches the door lock is manageable. A blown fuse prevents power transfer to the actuator, thus disabling the lock system.

Broken Connections

One common reason the car door lock is stuck in the locked position is due to broken connections within the door panel or lock assembly. These include a broken link from either the handle, lock cylinder, or interior locking post/switch to the car door latch. If any of these components are broken or disconnected, it disrupts the entire locking process within your car door.

Whether one or all of these connections are broken, it can result in the car door being stuck in the locked position.

How can you tell if this is the issue? If you can enter the car through a different door, you can attempt to open the jammed door from the inside.

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