Three Important Things to Consider When Choosing a Door Lock Cylinder
No matter how careful you are in inserting and turning the key in your door lock cylinder, age and constant use will eventually take their toll on this door component, causing the alignment between the cylinder and the door latch mechanism to deteriorate. When this happens and the damage goes beyond repair, you will need to get a replacement. To avoid making a wrong purchase, here are the factors you should consider when choosing a lock cylinder for your car door:
Most door lock cylinders are direct fit, which means they bolt onto your ride’s doors directly, without a need for welding or modifications. But just because a door lock cylinder is advertised as a direct-fit part doesn’t mean that it will install onto your ride exactly like the factory or stock part. In fact, there are many direct-fit cylinders out there that are difficult to install because they have poor construction, incorrect bends and/or spacing, factory defects, and other issues. So how will you find the right lock cylinder for your car doors? Check the part number of your stock cylinder and get a unit that replaces that particular part number. That way, you can be sure that the replacement part will fit exactly like the stock component.
When it comes to the color or finish of car door lock cylinders, they usually come in chrome and black finishes. Chrome lock cylinders are perfect for vehicles adorned with chrome trims or outfitted with components that also have chrome finish such chrome door handles, grille inserts, and mirror housing. A black door lock cylinder, on the other hand, will look great on vehicles with black or dark finish. It will also go well with your ride’s black trims and accents.
The good thing about door lock cylinders is that they are available in different quantities—one piece, set of 2, 3, or 4, and as a kit containing certain number of cylinders plus installation hardware—you can get just the number of replacement unit(s) you need.
Other things to consider
You may also consider the product’s warranty as it is an assurance of how confident the manufacturer or merchant is with the quality of its product. It’s also wise to get a door lock cylinder that’s reasonably priced.
DIY: Door Lock Cylinder Replacement
Door lock cylinder problems usually start with the need for increased effort in turning the key in the lock. When left ignored, you’ll just be surprised when the half of the cylinder also comes out as you pull the key. Sometimes, lubricating the cylinder can do wonders. But there are also times when the problem accelerates to a point when no amount of lubrication or repair will help. If you’re planning to replace the damaged cylinder all by yourself, here are the steps that will help you pull the task off:
Difficulty level: Moderate
What you’ll need:
- Needle-nose pliers
- Flathead screwdriver
- Replacement door lock cylinder(s)
- Window handle puller (if necessary)
Step 1: Through your key or the inside door lock, unlock the door with a damaged lock. Raise the window glass up and remove the window handle using a window puller.
Step 2: Locate the door lock indicator, which is usually positioned next to the window, and unscrew it. You also need to unscrew the armrest and the door handle tray.
Step 3: Detach the inside door panel by prying the clips away using a flat-head screwdriver.
Step 4: Using a pair of needle nose pliers, take out the bracket clip that secures the door lock cylinder in place. You can do this by sliding your one hand to the back of the cylinder so you can push it out while your other hand is pulling it away from the door on the outside.
Step 5: Take out the component that secures the cylinder to the lock indicator stem. This can be done by pulling out the three small tabs attached to the smaller bracket from the back of the door lock. Use the needle-nose pliers for this step. Finally, take out the defective door lock cylinder.
Step 6: Prepare the replacement cylinder. Install the rubber gasket on the part of the cylinder that meets the outside part of the door. Then, slide in the small bracket on the cylinder to secure the gasket in its position.
Step 7: Insert the new door lock cylinder into the hole in the door. While you’re pushing the cylinder with your one hand, use your other hand to insert the metal tang or the big bracket. This will firmly hold the cylinder into the inside part of the door.
Step 8: Test the new cylinder. If it works well, reinstall the components that you’ve removed to gain full access to the old door lock. Put them back in place in reverse order of removal.
Since you need to work with the inside door panel and the door lock mechanism, lock cylinder replacement for one door may take you a little more than an hour to complete.