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So the driver’s door locks and unlocks fine when the door is not closed both manually with the key and with the electronic/alarm buttons. All mechanisms seem to work fine. But as soon as I close the door, the car will lock but it will not unlock either manually with the key or the buttons on the remote. With the remote it looks like it tries and it makes the unlocking sound and if I time pulling up the handle perfectly when it makes the clicking sound then the door will open.

Help please! Why will it work when the door is open but not closed?

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Door mechanisms have a latch that releases when you open the door, and clicks into place when the door closes. When the door is open and the latch is open the lock works, but when the latch is closed the lock doesn't, which leads me to think there's a problem with the latch mechanism itself or the door lock actuator, which is the electrical device which operates the lock. As the actuator seems to work with the latch open my guess would be a problem with the door lock mechanism.

The fix in this case would be to open up the door and get at the latch mechanism to see what's wrong, this is usually a simple process, although if there are side air bags they probably need to be disabled and removed.

  • Thanks for that. We opened the door and pulled the door mechanism out, looked at the cog in the actuator and everything looked fine. We put it back together and it all works but still just not when the door is latched closed. Very frustrating. Maybe we will just get a new one from the wreckers and replace it. It’s like when it’s latched it’s just not strong enough to finish the job of opening the door. – Kathy J May 19 at 8:26

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