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12 Common Car Lock Issues That You Should Know About

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Pragya ChauhanPragya ChauhanJun 12, 2024

Every car owner knows that while buying a car comes with convenience, there are some car lock and key issues you might have to deal with. And car lock problems can range from minor annoyances to significant issues that can compromise your vehicle’s security and comfort.

Understanding these common problems can help you prevent or address them efficiently. Let’s take a closer look at 12 common car lock issues and how to fix them:

1. Key Turns But Doesn’t Unlock The Car

One of the most common problems that car owners face is when the key turns in the exterior lock but doesn’t unlock the door. This issue usually happens due to a failed connection between the lock cylinder and the lock mechanism. Internal wear and tear or a lock misalignment can cause this problem. However, regular maintenance and lubrication of the lock mechanism can prevent this car lock issue. If you face such a situation, a professional mobile locksmith can realign or replace the damaged parts without replacing the entire lock.

2. Key Not Turn in Ignition

If your car key is not turning in the ignition, it could be due to several reasons. Your key may be damaged, the internal wafers of the ignition cylinder may be stuck, or there might be a steering lock issue. If you experience such a car lock issue, first ensure the steering wheel isn’t locked by turning it slightly to relieve pressure on the ignition cylinder. If your key is still not turning, the problem might require lubrication or the replacement of the ignition cylinder.

3. Automatic Lock Feature Failure

Today many cars come with an advanced automatic lock feature that locks the doors when the vehicle reaches a certain speed or after the doors have been closed for a specific period. If this feature fails, it could be due to a malfunctioning sensor or damaged wiring.  In this situation, it’s best you contact a car unlock service.

4. Frozen Locks

Frozen Locks

If you’re living in a cold climate, there are high chances you face a situation where your car lock freezes and prevents the key from entering or turning. To deal with this, you can use a lock de-icer or a gentle heat source to melt the ice. Remember not to pour hot water over the lock to freeze again or damage the lock mechanism. The ideal way would be to regularly apply graphite powder, which can prevent moisture from entering the lock and freezing.

5. Electronic Lock Malfunctions

Many modern cars have electronic lock systems and lock issues can arise from system malfunction. These can be dead batteries in key fobs, or problems with the vehicle’s wiring. In some situations, resetting the car’s battery can reboot the system and resolve the issue. For more persistent problems, contacting a professional automobile locksmith is best to identify and rectify electrical faults.

6. Worn-Out Keys

Car keys can wear down from years of use, causing them to not operate with the lock mechanism properly. If your key isn’t working, check if it’s bent or worn out.  To unlock the car in such cases, having a spare key or getting a replacement cut from a more intact original can save you from a car lockout situation.

7. Broken Keys in the Lock

Another common car lock issue that people face is keyed breaking off in the lock, which can worsen by using excessive force. If a key breaks in the lock, don’t try to extract it with tools, as this can push the broken piece further into the lock. Reaching out to a locksmith can usually extract the broken piece without damaging the lock and provide you with a replacement key.

8. Jammed Lock

Dirt, bits of debris, or lack of lubrication can jam a lock. Regular cleaning and the use of graphite-based lubricant can keep the mechanism functioning smoothly. If a lock is already jammed, a locksmith can clean and lubricate the mechanism to restore its functionality.

9. Central Locking System Issues

Problems with the central computing system or issues with the remote control can cause issues with the central locking system. Fixing central locking problems can be complex and might require a scan tool or the expertise of a technician.

10. Accidental Lockouts

Accidental car lockouts are common and can happen if you leave your car keys inside the car or if a malfunctioning car lock system unexpectedly locks the car. To deal with a car locked with a key inside, you can keep a duplicate key in a secure place, or use a service with keyless entry options to help you avoid this situation.

11. Faulty Remote Entry

Remote entry systems are integral parts of modern vehicle access, but they are likely to cause several issues that can prevent them from unlocking car locks efficiently. The most common issue is a dead battery within the key fob itself. Replacing the battery is a quick fix, but if the issue continues, you may need to reprogram or replace the fob. Interference from other wireless devices can also affect performance. If reprogramming doesn’t solve the issue, it might be necessary to replace the remote or consult a professional automobile locksmith to diagnose deeper electronic issues within the car’s access system.

12. Security System Interference

Today many car owners opt for car alarm systems to prevent car theft. However, these sophisticated car alarms and security systems can interfere with normal lock operation and cause look issues. Resetting or configuring the security system setting may resolve the problem. But, if the issue persists contact the system’s manufacturer or a professional technician.

Now that you know some of the most common car lock issues that car owners or drivers face, you can take practical steps to ensure your vehicle remains secure and functional. Keep in mind that addressing minor problems before they worsen is the key to maintaining your car's accessibility and security.

If you have any emergency vehicle lock issues, such as car lockout, or car key duplication, and are in search of a professional “car locksmith near me” who can resolve the issue, contact Keyenzy.

We help our customers connect with a local & reliable locksmith within minutes. Fill out our quick form to get a technician quickly and easily!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why is my car not locking properly?

Ans. If your car is not locking properly, there could be a few reasons, including a dead key fob battery, a faulty key fob, a problem with the door lock actuator, a blown fuse, or even something simple like debris blocking the lock.

Q. What causes locks to break?

Ans. Locks can break due to wear and tear, extreme weather conditions, forced entry attempts, or using the wrong key.

Q. What stops a car from locking?

Ans. A common culprit is a faulty key fob or a dead battery inside it. Other reasons include a damaged door lock actuator, electrical issues like blown fuses, or even something stuck in the lock mechanism.

Q. Why do my car locks keep locking?

Ans. Your car locks keep locking, which may be caused by a malfunctioning door lock actuator or a glitch in the car's electrical system. Sometimes, accidentally enabling a child lock feature on a specific door can cause this issue.

Q. How do you fix a stubborn lock?

Ans. To fix a stubborn lock, try some lubricant like WD-40. If that doesn't work, consult a mechanic to diagnose the problem and recommend a proper fix.

Q. Why does my car unlock immediately after locking it?

Ans. If your car unlocks immediately after you unlock it, it might be due to a faulty door lock actuator or a problem with the car's computer system. It's best to get it checked by a mechanic to avoid security risks.