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Door Lock Switch

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What is a power door lock switch and where is it located?

The power door lock switch is a rocker switch that allows you to lock and unlock your car doors with a the simple touch of a button. Although older cars used manual lock switches, today, almost all cars come with power door locks. 

The switches for your power door locks are usually found in the door pull or armrest areas. Sometimes one is located in the center console. The driver’s door lock switch may be a standalone switch or it may be integrated into the master power window switch. The door lock switch usually has images of a locked and an unlocked padlock on it to indicate which side of the switch activates which function. 

Most often, when you press the power door lock switch, it completes a circuit that sends a signal to a computer called the body control module. The body control module receives signals from that switch, a power remote, a door keypad, or any other locking and unlocking device. The body control module then activates the door lock activators. These move a rod to engage or disengage the door handle from the latch rod or latch cable. In some (mostly older) systems, the power door lock switch sends a signal directly to the door lock actuators. The end result is the same. 

How do I know if my power door lock switch needs to be replaced?

The electrical contacts inside the switch can corrode or wear out over time from frequent use. Excess moisture from leaving your car or truck’s windows open may cause the switch to become defective. If the power door lock switch is malfunctioning, you may find that when you press the switch the door does not lock or unlock. You may also find that the switch functions only intermittently. 

If one switch does not work, but your others do, you can be pretty sure you have a problem with that switch. If none of your switches activates the door locks, then you may have an electrical problem on your hands. Occasionally, a problem that seems like it stems from the switch may stem from faulty wiring inside the door. You can check your switch with a multimeter to make sure it is the source of the problem.

Can I replace a power door lock switch myself?

Even for a novice do-it-yourselfer, replacing a power door lock switch will usually prove fairly easy. In most cases, you’ll be able to pry the switch panel out of the door with a flat head screwdriver. Then, you can disconnect the wiring harness or harnesses. In some cases, you may have to separate the door lock switch from the switch panel and push a new one into the panel. In others, you may simply replace the whole panel. Then you can reconnect the wiring and push the switch panel into the door. For some models, it may be necessary to remove the door panel to remove the lock switch, which will make the job take a bit longer. 

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