Car Door Lock Malfunction
August 3, 2008 9:52 AM   Subscribe

When I lock my car with the remote, approx every 1 in 5 times the drivers door doesn't lock. I hear the mechanism activate, but I can see that the little lock handle on the inside of the door only moves halfway. Similar thing happens on unlock. What's going on here and who can fix this - my regular mechanic wasn't able to help.

I had a few other electrical quirks (fuel guage inaccurate, lights not powering off after locking car) which have been resolved by replacing the battery, but the lock problem's still there.

Is this something worth trying to fix? It's a minor pain that I'd like resolved, but it ain't such a big deal as to drop $100s on. Who fixes things like this? And why does it happen intermittantly - that's what's driving me crazy!

03 Infiniti G35 Coupe, 77K miles.
posted by forallmankind to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Assuming your regular mechanic is not a dealership, you might try the dealership on this one. My guess would be lubrication. The motor is working, obviously, but if it's encountering too much resistance because of a lack of grease, or some other obstruction like a bent linkage, it will miss on an irregular basis. Not worth fixing if it doesn't bother you, but you'd kind of like to know that when you walk away and push the button, it's locked reliably.
posted by beagle at 10:15 AM on August 3, 2008

As to who fixes them: have you tried going to the dealer? Those mechanics work with your specific model of car all day long, and if anyone would know how to fix it, it'd be the people there.
posted by DMan at 10:15 AM on August 3, 2008

I'd try lubricating the latch mechanism on the edge of the door.
posted by jon1270 at 10:15 AM on August 3, 2008

That is, ditto Beagle.
posted by jon1270 at 10:16 AM on August 3, 2008

You'd have to take the inner door panel off and watch the mechanism to see what the problem is.

It probably isn't the latch mechanism, or at least the part you can get to, because the door locking mechanism usually just decouples the door handles from operating.
posted by gjc at 10:55 AM on August 3, 2008

"You'd have to take the inner door panel off and watch the mechanism to see what the problem is."

I second that, and it isn't a big deal if you do it carefully and watch for wires. Consider investing in some sort of repair manual for your car. From it you can easily learn enough to diagnose and likely fix many small problems like this. It will definitely tell you how to do things like remove the door panel and explain how the locking mechanism works. You may be able to find some version of it or the manufacturer's manual online.
posted by kenbennedy at 1:44 PM on August 3, 2008

There's surely an Infiniti forum out there on the interwebs where someone has had this problem before. I'd consult that specific hive-mind if you're hoping to do a DIY.
posted by drmarcj at 6:13 PM on August 3, 2008

When you say 'doesn't lock' do you mean that the button doesn't go down all the way? Or that it is possible to still open the door?

The button is really just an indicator (rather than an intrinsic part of the lock mechanism) and so if the door functions fine, but the button is ambiguous, then ignore it. If it is the locking that is the issue, then the linkage issue is more likely between the solenoid and the lock (inside the door, as mentioned). If it's just the button, I'd ignore it, personally.
posted by Brockles at 7:57 AM on August 4, 2008

You can probably get this fixed for $100-$200 USD at a car alarm/car stereo place. They're frequently better with car electronics than mechanics are.
posted by Citrus at 9:00 AM on August 4, 2008

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