What is a Power Door Lock?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

A power door lock is a kind of lock available in many kinds of motor vehicles that allows the driver of the vehicle to control the locks on all of the vehicle doors and, in some cases, the lock on the trunk of the vehicle. In addition to being referred to as a power door lock, this kind of lock is also referred to as an electric door lock. Sometimes the system of being able to control all of the locks within a car is referred to as a central locking system. The control panel that allows the driver to control all of the locks within the car is usually located on the inside of the door on the driver's side of the car.

Power door locks can usually be locked and unlocked remotely.
Power door locks can usually be locked and unlocked remotely.

There are a number of reasons why one might choose a vehicle with a power door lock. Many of these have to do with the safety of the driver, as well as the safety of the passengers within the car. A family with young children may choose a station wagon with a power door lock so they can make sure that the doors in the back of the car where the children sit are locked even if the doors in the front where the adults sit are not. A power door lock system can also protect a person who is traveling on his own, as it can allow him to secure all of the doors of the vehicle at one time.

Power door locks have become standard on most vehicles over the past several years.
Power door locks have become standard on most vehicles over the past several years.

In addition to controlling the doors and trunk of a vehicle, a power door lock system might also control the fuel cap on the car. Just as with the door and trunk locks, the driver of the car can release to cover on the fuel cap by simply activating a switch or button. These controls are usually in the same general area and may be located near controls that allow the driver to adjust the windows throughout the vehicle.

It is quite common for a power door lock system to be available in newly fabricated vehicle models. There is also a powder door lock feature that locks all of the doors once the car reaches a certain speed. This power door lock feature is also commonly used to secure cars in which children regularly ride. Another power door lock feature allows drivers to unlock the doors of their cars by pressing certain keychain buttons.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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Discussion Comments


@talentryto- I helped a friend replace the power door locks in his car a few months ago. Though the job is hard, it can be done. Just make sure that you follow the instructions completely, and are careful not to misplace any of the small replacement parts.


@talentryto- I've been there, and I tackled this job once myself. It took me hours to complete the project, and was not worth the savings to do it myself, in my opinion.

Though all cars are different, I believe that the power locking mechanisms in the doors are pretty similar. So you should expect this job to be difficult, but if you have the time and patience, you should be able to do it yourself. If you don't want to spend the time and frustration to fix it though, you should be able to take your power lock parts and car to a neighborhood garage to have the work done for an affordable price.


One of the power door locks in my older car quit working several months ago, so I bought the replacement parts needed to fix it. I was planning to do this job myself, but after reading the instructions that came with the lock parts, I'm having second thoughts. This job seems very detailed and difficult. I would love to hear from someone with experience doing this car door lock repair.

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