A Quick Guide to Door Lock Actuator Replacement

door lock actuator replacement

As technology is improving day by day in the automotive industry, nowadays, all cars come with electrical door lock mechanisms. An actuator is a behind-the-scene mechanism that helps you to lock or unlock your car’s door by pressing just a single button. When you press the door unlocking button that is located inside your door’s interior panel, the door gets locked or unlocked as per your command. Actuators decide whether it needs to secure the lock position or release it. In most cars, this actuator is in the door-locking latch. This mechanism gives you a pretty good service, but over time, it can get faulty. You may consider replacing it. But how can you do a door lock actuator replacement?

In this blog, we are going to discuss the same thing.

Analyzing the Door Lock Actuator Replacement Process

Every door has an electrical actuator that has a power lock. The replacement process can differ from model to model, but the basic steps of dissembling and rearranging should be the same. Let’s talk step by step.

actuator in the car door lock
  • In the first step, you just need to disconnect the battery from the negative battery panel. You must follow. This step is for safety purposes whenever you are doing any electrical replacement or repair work. Additionally, make sure that your door windows are rolled up fully so that your access does not get disturbed.
  • You can access the door latch or the actuator from the inside of the car. Locate the interior door cup and pull the paddle holding nuts and screws. Most of the time, any user needs to make out all the plastic clips by using a trim stick. Once you do dissemble all the nuts and screws, just pull the latch to the upper direction. If there are any wires or cables attached to it, then just detach them normally. This is the second and foremost step of door lock actuator replacement.
  • In modern-day cars, some of the actuators come with more cables. So, it is a necessary step to disconnect all the lock rods from the old one and install them on the new actuator or door-latch. There can be lock cables which are also should be changed. Also, an electrical harness can make a place on the list. This is the third step in the replacement of the actuator in the car door lock.
  • As a next step for door actuator replacement, remove all the bolts from the outside that are holding the latch in its position. After that, just pull the latch out from the door. Be careful about your door glasses, as the latch can shutter.
  • The new actuator that you are going to use is separate from the latch, then replace it right away. Install all the fasteners to prevent the actuator from damage. After that, reinstall all the wires, cables, or wiring harness to the new actuator.
  • In the last step, re-install the door panel. If there is any broken clip, just replace it right away. Connect the battery to the negative panel and test it to judge if i9t is properly functioning or not.

What Issue Happens with Door Lock Actuators?

A door lock is a small machine attached to the door latch. When a user presses the power button to lock/unlock the door, then the power completes a rotation. As a result, the actuator changes its position to lock or unlock the car door. There is a gear, cable, or rod that connects it to the door latch.

Failure happens because of moisture in the actuator or other latch parts. If there is moisture, there will be corrosion. And the performance will come to a lower level. Not only moisture, oil, dust, or other unwanted components can also cause performance damage or electrical damage. Apart from these, physical damage can also happen caused by any accident or unauthorized access to your car. Door lock actuator repair is possible, but if it is completely damaged, then you might need to do a lock actuator replacement. But now the question is how can you get to know that your actuator is going to create any mess or it is getting faulty?

Symptoms Of a Faulty Actuator

If your car’s door lock actuator is not functioning properly, there are a couple of symptoms by which any user can get that it is going to be a non-usable product.

  • If only a single door between the two doors of a car refuses to work, then it might be possible that your actuator is not working properly.
  • Whenever you want to lock/unlock your car door, only one press should be enough. If the door is not functioning properly with a single press, then there should be an issue with your actuator.
  • If your car door remains unlocked whenever there is no one in the car, an alarm rings as a reminder. If that alarm doesn’t ring, then it’s a problem with the actuator.
  • Buzzing or inappropriate sounds will be audible while locking or unlocking the car.

If you face any of these issues, you can go to a mechanic for a car actuator repair. In any case, if the repair is not possible, then you might need to replace your door lock actuator.

How Much Money Do You Have to Spend for A Door Lock Actuator Replacement?

Well, the cost varies from model to model. It also depends on the brand, year or car, or manufacturing company. But on average, a new actuator will cost you around $125-$250. Make sure about the technology that your car is free to use. If you want to upgrade, you may spend some extra bucks. Additionally, labor charges will also add to the part cost. It can take one to two hours for the full process.

In the first scenario, if you need a new actuator, you can check local shops that can provide car door parts.  Or if you want a used one that is in good condition, then you can go for online websites.

In the end, door lock actuator replacement is possible, and it costs neither a lot of money nor your precious time. You should consider replacing any of the electrical items in your car as they can create electrical damage in the other parts, also.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to replace a door lock actuator?

The average cost varies with brand, model, or manufacturer. But the average cost of replacing a door lock actuator is between $125-$250. Additional labor charges may add to the total amount.

Is it easy to replace a door lock actuator?

Among the replacement steps, the removal of the door panel is not a beginner or amateur task to do. But apart from that, it is quite easy. If you can do it yourself, you can save some of your money.

How do I know if my door lock actuator is broken?

If your car door locks are not functioning properly, or if they are not getting locked or unlocked with a separate press, then it might be an issue with your actuator.

What causes door lock actuator failure?

Moisture can be the biggest evil behind performance damage or electrical damage. Moisture causes corrosion, and that damages the actuator. Apart from that oil or dust can also damage the door lock latch.

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