Power Door Lock not Working Drivers Side: Causes and Fixes

Are you ready to attend that urgent meeting, or are you pilling up groceries in your vehicle? Whether you are going to work or heading back home after a stressful day, realizing your power door lock is not working driver’s side and keeps you from entering your car or locking it when you get out of the vehicle should be of great concern.  If you are experiencing both power windows and door locks not working, you need to find the root cause and fix it immediately.

So, in this article, we’ll discuss at length the possible causes of this problem, troubleshooting, and how to fix it.

Causes of power door lock not working on driver’s side

Every mechanical or electrical problem in your car has a root cause, and the power door lock is no exception. The possible causes could be as a result of fault actuator, frequent use, or age. Let’s explore the reasons.

power windows and door locks not working

Dead key fob battery: Sometimes, most people don’t know the only problem why electronic door not working on most cars is a dead key fob battery. If your doors are not locking electronically, replacing your key fob battery could solve the problem.

Faulty key fob: The issues on the key fobs are not always with the battery. So if the battery isn’t the fault, the root cause of the problem may be the key fob itself. You need to take your key to a dealership. They will know if the issues lie with the key fob by plugging the key fob into their computer and ensuring the fob program is okay. If the fob is the fault and not sending a signal, you have to replace the fob.

A blown fuse: fuses in cars may sometimes blow due to age or being over-labored. If one of the doors is not working, why others are, the issue may be a blown fuse. This is a relatively cheap and easy quick fix.

Wiring problem: If the locks are not working, try switching the button either down and up or opening and closing the door a couple of times. If the lock starts working partially, you have a broken wire that needs attention.

You have a faulty actuator:  If the central locking not working on the driver’s side or one of the doors is not working while others are working, the problem may be a lousy actuator and needs replacement, which is usually the case.

Frozen mechanism: Since your car doors are not moisture-proof, extreme cold weather may cause the power controlling linkage to freeze.

power locks not working when car is off

How to Diagnose and fix the power door not working problem

If your driver door won’t unlock with the remote, but other doors open when you hit the remote unlock button, key into this discussion till the end because I’m going to show you how to troubleshoot and fix this issue. The most common cause of the power door not working is a bad power door actuator. But before you jump to a conclusion, there are other things you have to check first.

Confirm whether the door is working manually.

Try unlocking the doors manually from the inside. If the door works manually, try unlocking and locking it from the central unlocking button. Try locking and unlocking the doors with the remote from the outside. If the central unlocking button and the remote don’t work on the driver’s side but work on other doors, it means the driver’s door is worn out. Because it’s the most used, it wears out faster.

Remove the door carpet.

The next thing you want to do is to remove the door carpet using auto trim removal tools. Locate and remove the clips and screws on the door carpet. Once all the screws are loosened, gently pop off and remove the power button knobs, be careful not to break the knobs. Gently pop up and remove the lock on the power handle with trim removal tools or with a Flathead screwdriver and set it aside.  Once all the screws and clips are out of place, gently pull off the door carpet.

Inspect the internal system components.

Once you have taken the rubber carpet out of the way, carefully peel off the plastic sheeting covering the door panel. You have to do it gently so you’ll use it back.

 Tip: The sheeting is responsible for shedding water away from getting to the actuator, as water can get into the door panel during a car wash or rainy season. While removing the sheeting cover, check the two drain holes at the downside of the door panel and ensure there is no debris.

Inspect the system components that connect to the power handle. It should be tightly fitted with clips. Before you take off the actuator, plug back the power button knobs and turn on the ignition. As other keys are working, hit the power button and listen closely to the driver’s door for a clicking sound. Manually lock and unlock the driver’s door and also listen for a clicking sound. If you hear a click sound, it’s a good sign the actuator is receiving power but cannot work. That also means that you have a powering ground.

Remove the old actuator.

To Remove the old actuator, you need to remove the bolts holding the power handle. Remove the cables from the power handle and ensure you keep track of where each cable goes so you will reinstate them correctly. Locate the actuator and disconnect the power lock linkages. These linkages can be a little hard to come off, and the plastic hook can break easily. So you have to gently pry it off to avoid causing extra damage.

Get some common mechanic tools close by. Remove the window strap bolts using a ratchet handle and a sizeable socket. Then remove the bolt holding the actuator. Disconnect your window wiring connector before disconnecting the actuator connector. If you’re having a little bit of a struggle in removing the actuator, you don’t have to worry; it’s normal. Disconnect the black wire on the actuator and pull out the actuator along with the cables.

Install the new actuator:

Hang in the new actuator and tighten the screws in the lock door actuator. Then, reinstate the 10mm bolt holding up the actuator. Fix the linkage carefully, set up the cables, and connect them the way you removed them. Please make sure you pop them in correctly and run the cables in their guide. Properly reinstate the clear plastic sheeting that covers the door panel and seal it.

Fix back the door panel and install all the clips by snapping them into place. Then, reinstate the lock cluster back. Reinstate the cluster with screws and make sure the screw is connected to the wiring harness. Reinstall everything you removed early. Test the work, and if everything works fine, give yourself a pat on the back. For a visual clarification, watch this video.

Final Thought

If, at the end of the repair, your power door lock is not working driver’s side, then you have to diagnose the system components further. Or there could be a possible electronic failure. You can always reach out to your dealership, get detailed advice, or better still, take your car to a local garage for proper power door lock actuator troubleshooting and replacement.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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