Introduction: How to Fix Car Door Locks

About: Building design/consulting in Vancouver, WA. Resource based problem solver... in other words, I always take a minute to look in construction dumpsters :) ---the way some have to workout everyday... i have to …

Automatic locks and windows. Wonderful until they break.

Here's how I fixed a cracked power lock on the passenger side of a 2006 Toyota Corolla.

---special thanks to Leatherman for sponsoring the Pet's Contest a few months back! While I received the Surge I was able to exchange for the Skeletool. My favorite Leatherman.

Step 1: Open Door Assembly

On a Toyota Corolla the process is easy. Simply use your hand to pry the faux wood trim back. There is often a single screw at the base of an arm rest but not the case here.

The Housing. By exposing the housing it's clear that a crack allowed the controller to drop down and become unusable.

Likely Cause. Either something dropped on the raised button and weakened the housing or it failed from repeat use.

Auto Repair Manuals. Totally overkill for this little project but useful for general reference are the Chilton and Haynes manuals. These are a series of auto repair manuals that are often referenced online and available at any auto parts store. They are typically wrapped in plastic but no one ever minds if they are opened and used for reference.

Step 2: Reinstall

To reinstall simply simply press the switch back into place. As it moves into place the crack in the housing becomes more pronounced. ---there are many solutions but I always try to avoid tape or clue when a mechanical faster.

Step 3: The Fix

My Approach is to follow this simple hierarchy when making a fix:

  1. No Mechanical Connection - use a splice or modify so the existing structure supports a fix. Including a weld or reinforcing of existing material
  2. Mechanical Fastener - Using wire, bolt or screw
  3. Tape/Epoxy/Glue - these are materials that if enough quantity is used will handle most fixes... however, they lack a certain resourcefulness and are often more costly

My Fix. I use a twisted piece of copper wire. The wire was salvaged from a local construction dumpster at a health center. I twisted till snug and clipped/folded the wires.

Step 4: Finished

This simple fix is very common. Over the years I've performed something along these lines probably 4 times... it's been probably 10 years since the last one because my '91 chevy s10 has manual windows.

Hope I wasn't too preachy about my approach to using fasteners.

Thanks for reading! --Jeff

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