Warning Signs that Indicate a Faulty or Failing Power Door Lock Actuator

The power door lock actuator is an electronically controlled device that's fitted inside the door of a car, and which operates the mechanism that locks and unlocks the car. If the actuator is faulty, you may find your car locking or unlocking on its own, or activating intermittently without you pushing the button. A faulty power door lock actuator can cause inconvenience to a driver. Understanding the warning signs that indicate impending failure of the power door lock actuator can enable you to address the problem before the device fails entirely. Here are some of these common signs that you should look out for.

Unusual noises

The first sign of actuator failure is strange noises coming from the inside of the door. Most power door locks comprise of a mechanism of gears and an electric motor which may make some noise when they operate. This noise is usually normal, and you may not even notice it. However, if you realize that the noise generated from inside the door is suddenly louder and disturbing, you could be dealing with a faulty motor or worn out gears. If the actuator isn't replaced, it will eventually fail.

Erratic operation

You may find your doors locking or unlocking unexpectedly when you are driving or in parking mode, even without you activating the locks. Erratic behavior is usually an indication of a fault in the wiring system inside the actuator. This can be  an inconvenience and even pose a risk to your safety if the doors unlock while you are driving. This issue can be resolved by having the actuator wiring checked for any wear, breakage, or other signs of damage and replaced.

Failed power door locks

The actuator has a motor which runs and supplies power to the door locks to enable locking and unlocking. If the actuator fails, the power supply to the power door locks will be disabled; hence the doors won't lock or unlock even after activating the feature. You will be forced to use your vehicle's key to lock or unlock it. However, if your car that doesn't have the traditional door key, the doors will remain locked or unlocked until you repair the actuator since the power door lock function will be disabled completely.

If you notice any of the above signs of failure with your power door lock actuator, have the vehicle checked by a mechanic and repaired. In most cases, faulty actuators are replaced to restore the normal operation of the power door lock feature in the car.