How to Tell If You Have a Bad Ford Door Lock Actuator
It can be downright frustrating (and even embarrassing) if you get locked in or locked out of your vehicle. At the end of the day, you'd want to make sure that your Ford stays locked, you won't get stuck inside, and that you can open the door in an instant. If you ever encounter a situation wherein the power door locks just won't work right, you do have to find what's causing this malfunction. Often the one to blame for this is a bad door lock actuator. To find out if you actually have a faulty Ford door lock actuator, check out these diagnostic clues and some troubleshooting tips:
Doors can't be locked/unlocked
If the doors suddenly won't lock or unlock, then you obviously have a problem with a door lock mechanism. In this situation, the blame could be placed on the gears that should be running power to the door lock actuator. These gears may not be doing their job properly anymore. Take a look at these gears and see if the door lock actuator already needs to be replaced.
Due to a faulty lock actuator, the door may not be opened from the outside even when it seems unlocked. It's also possible that the door may not be opened from the inside, which may be caused by the physical failure of the actuator. This problem is often encountered with the driver's door. Check the release cable that connects to the actuator. Also see if there's any sign of physical damage on the housing. The actuator's internal circuitry may fail. The bracket on the actuator for the interior release cable may break, and this often leads to failure to open the door from the interior. To restore the door lock operation, the actuator may have to be replaced.
Door locks sometimes won't work
A bad door lock actuator can cause intermittent door lock operation. The doors can usually be locked using the key fob or with a remote device, but there are times when it may take several tries before the doors will lock or unlock. If you have to deal with the inconsistent door lock function on numerous occasions, it's time for you to do some door lock inspection. See if anything's wrong with the actuator and if it requires a replacement. A more thorough visual inspection will help you confirm whether the fault is electrical or mechanical.
Doors make strange noises
When you hear strange noises when trying to lock or unlock doors, don't ignore them. The grinding of gears, clicking, popping, or other similar sounds from the car door can be sign of a failing actuator. Before the door locks stop working for good, take time to observe the central locking system and inspect the door lock actuator, among other mechanisms. The door lock actuator may need replacement, although in newer vehicles, the entire lock assembly has to be replaced to fix the door lock actuator issue. Make sure that the actuator is properly lubricated from time to time. The lube will help keep the actuating unit from seizing up.