Replacing Power Door Locks: Step-by-Step Instructions
Power door locks not working? You’ll likely have to replace the actuator, which is a DIY job provided you have the right equipment—and these step-by-step instructions.
How to Fix Power Door Locks
Power door locks fail quite often—particularly on late-model Ford vehicles. They’re controlled by a computer, but most often it’s the actuator itself that’s failed—not the computer. So if you press the lock/unlock button and hear clicking or see that the lock is moving, but not enough to open the door, the actuator is fried. A new actuator costs about $50, and you can save about $75 in shop labour if you do the job yourself. (Don’t miss these other car maintenance problems you can diagnose and fix yourself.) Along with ordinary screwdrivers and sockets, you’ll need a few inexpensive special tools: a door handle remover for crank windows (about $7 from any auto parts store), a replacement lock actuator, and a flat-blade offset screwdriver. (Check out these 20 tools no home mechanic should be without.)
Here are the step-by-step instructions for replacing power door locks.
Removing the Actuator
You can buy a new actuator online or from your local dealer. Then remove the interior door trim panel (consult a shop manual for screw and snap locations). It’s hard to see in these photos, but the trick involves using a flat-blade screwdriver to pry the old actuator off the latch while you depress the actuator’s plastic locking tab with the flat blade of the offset screwdriver. The actuator will slide off two “rails.” You’ll be working blind behind the door structure, so examine the new part to get a feel for how the locking tab works.
In Detail: Depressing the Locking Tab
Depress the locking tab with an off-set screwdriver.
Here are seven more car maintenance jobs you can do yourself.