Why Does My Car Keep Locking Itself?

Obviously, it’s important for your car to have functioning door locks; it’s an essential safety feature, and it’s necessary to prevent would-be thieves from gaining access to your car. That being said, it can be pretty annoying if your doors keep locking themselves when you don’t want them to.

There are several reasons why your car might be locking itself without any input from you. Many modern cars automatically lock their doors when you put them in drive as a safety feature, but there may also be an issue with your car’s electronic systems that is causing your doors to lock at unwanted times.

Let’s go over some of the common reasons why this might be happening to your car.

Make Sure All Doors Are Closed

An improperly closed door can potentially cause your vehicle to lock and unlock itself repeatedly. Modern cars contain sensors that can detect whether you’ve failed to close one of your doors properly; if your door isn’t quite shut all the way, this can mess with the sensors and cause your power locks to misbehave.

Fortunately, you can easily deal with this problem by just making sure that all of your doors are fully shut. Modern cars all come with a warning light that will tell you if you’ve left one of your doors slightly ajar, and this warning light will usually indicate the specific door that is open as well.

Faulty Latch or Door Sensor

Of course, these aforementioned door sensors are capable of failing, and a faulty door sensor can also cause your doors to lock or unlock themselves unexpectedly. If you’ve made sure that all your doors are shut correctly, and you’re still having issues with your car’s power locks, it could very well be an issue with your door sensors.

Alternatively, if you have a faulty door latch, this can also cause your power locks to malfunction. A faulty door latch can prevent your doors from shutting properly, which, as we’ve already established, can interfere with your door sensors and cause your car to lock and unlock itself repeatedly.

Issues with the Vehicle’s Key

Pretty much every modern car comes with an electronic fob that lets you lock or unlock your car with the push of a button. However, problems with your fob can interfere with your power locks and cause them to lock or unlock themselves at a whim.

If your fob isn’t working at all, it’s possible that your fob’s battery is dead or dying. You can try swapping out your old fob battery for a new one and see if that makes a difference.

The problem may also be with your fob itself. If your fob has a sticky button, this can mess with your power locks and make them lock or unlock themselves at inopportune times. Or, your fob might have some issues with its programming that is interfering with your door locks. In either case, if the problem is with your fob, you’ll most likely have to take it into a shop to get it reprogrammed or replaced.

How to Turn Off Auto-Lock in Your Car

In some cars (but not all), it is possible to disable the auto-lock feature. Depending on what kind of car you own, this can be done in a number of ways.

Many modern cars include the option to disable their auto-lock feature within their infotainment systems. If you’re unsure whether your car can do this or where to navigate to locate this feature, consult your owner’s manual.

Modern Fords have a procedure for disabling the auto-lock feature that involves pressing the lock/unlock buttons on your fob a set number of times while turning your car on and off. While this procedure can be a little complicated to execute, it’s worth giving it a try if you find yourself getting particularly annoyed by your car’s auto-lock feature.

Many cars also have a fuse for their central locking systems. If you’re confident enough to work on your car by yourself, you can also try pulling this fuse. However, this can potentially interfere in unwanted ways with some of your car’s other electronic systems, so always check your owner’s manual for more information before trying something like this.

Average Cost of Fixing Locking/Unlocking Issues

This really depends on what component of your car you’re trying to fix, as well as whether you intend to fix the problem yourself. Obviously, if you can fix it yourself instead of bringing your car to a shop or dealership, you’ll save a decent amount of money on labor costs.

If you need to buy a new fob, this will probably run you at least $100 for the fob itself as well as any programming necessary, although depending on what brand of fob you’re getting, this can potentially be a lot more expensive.

Replacing a door lock, latch, or sensor can vary considerably in cost, depending on the specific part that needs to be replaced. Unless you’re capable of fixing the problem yourself, it’s pretty likely that you’ll be spending over $100 total on parts and labor.

Final Thoughts

In the modern age of cars with complicated electronic systems and all kinds of sensors, problems like malfunctioning power locks are becoming more commonplace. Not only that but because of how many different systems are involved with simply locking and unlocking a car, there are many different reasons why your car’s power locks might not be working correctly.

In any case, the first step to fixing your car’s locking/unlocking issues is to figure out the root cause of the problem. Once you’ve established what this is, you may have multiple ways you can go about solving the issue. If you’re a seasoned mechanic, you may even be able to fix these issues yourself without much trouble.

Gui Hadlich

Hey there! I'm Gui. To be honest, I'm not really that interested in cars. But what I'm really, really not interest in is spending lots of money fixing my car up. Thankfully, I have a father-in-law who's obsessed with cars and a brother getting a PhD in internal combustion engines, so I get to learn about fixing cars. And with Fixing Engines, I hope to help you save a lot of money and take good care of your cars.

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