How to Install Car Door Locks

Purchase a replacement lock for your car door from a dealer, an auto supply store or online.
Purchase a replacement lock for your car door from a dealer, an auto supply store or online.

Car door locks are an essential component of anti-theft protection on the modern automobile. Not only do door locks prevent burglars from stealing valuables from your vehicle, they also provide an important safety feature, preventing children from opening the door and falling out while the car is moving. You can repair or replace a malfunctioning door lock as a weekend project with a few basic tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers
  • Electrical tape
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Voltage meter
  • Flat-head screwdriver
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Instructions

    • 1

      Contact your vehicle's manufacturer or a local auto repair shop to obtain a wiring diagram for your vehicle. Alternately, browse websites such as Free Auto Mechanic, the 12 Volt and Commando Car Alarms (see Resources) to obtain a wiring diagram.

    • 2

      Review the owner's manual and repair manual for your car, noting any warnings with respect to the electrical components including airbags, brakes, on-board computers and batteries. Keep the owner's manual and repair manual handy so you can refer to it if needed as you work through this project.

    • 3

      Remove the panel from the inside of the car door by sliding a flat-head screwdriver between the panel and the door frame and prying it free. Locate the power lock mechanism and remove the retaining bolts with an adjustable wrench. Disconnect all wires from the lock mechanism using wire cutters and then remove the lock assembly from the door. Leave the wires in place, as they will serve as a guide for rewiring the new lock.

    • 4

      Feed the negative (-) parking light wire through the door and trace the existing negative parking light wire to the back of the light switch. Disconnect the existing wire from the back of the light switch. Strip one inch of rubber coating off the end of the new wire using wire strippers. Connect the wire to the back of the light switch. Cover the exposed wire with electrical tape. Follow this procedure to prepare and connect all other wires as directed in these next steps. If you are unable to access the back of the light switch, connect the wire directly to one of the parking lights on the front of the car. Connect the opposite end of the negative parking light wire to the appropriate mount on the new power lock assembly.

    • 5

      Run the ground wire to the location on your automobile indicated by the manufacturer's instructions. Connect the opposite end of the ground wire to the appropriate mount on the new power lock assembly.

    • 6

      Locate the ignition wires in your car. These wires are often inside the doors of the vehicle with the existing power locks. Test the voltage of the wires using a voltmeter and locate an ignition wire with +12 volts. Connect the ignition wire to the appropriate mount on the new power lock assembly.

    • 7

      Run the system-chassis ground wire through the door and trace the existing chassis ground wire to the engine block, under the hood of the car. If no chassis ground wire exists, run the new wire through the door, into the dash panel and through the back of the dash panel into the engine block. Scrape away any dirt, paint or debris from a metal part of the chassis and connect the wire by wrapping it around the bare metal part two or three times. Cover the wire with electrical tape. Connect the opposite end of the chassis ground wire to the appropriate mount on the new power lock assembly.

    • 8

      Run the +12 volt power input wire through the door, into the dash panel, through the back of the dash panel and into the engine block. Connect the wire and any included fuses or holders to the positive terminal on the car battery. Connect the opposite end of the power input wire to the appropriate mount on the new power lock assembly.

    • 9

      Locate the (-) negative dome light wire and connect it to the appropriate mount on the new power lock assembly.

    • 10

      Test the new power lock to ensure it is working properly. Press the "Lock" and "Unlock" buttons to verify that the lock on the door works in tandem with the switches on the power lock. If the lock does not work, recheck your wiring and make sure all wires are properly connected.

    • 11

      Assemble the new power lock according to the manufacturer's instructions. Insert the mounting bolts into the corresponding slots and assemble the unit by tightening the retaining nuts. Place the new power lock inside the door and mount it per the manufacturer's instructions.

    • 12

      Reinstall the car door panel. Repeat this process for each door in which you wish to install a new lock.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not run wires through areas where the wires might become tangled with the gas pedal, brake pedal, steering column or any other moving parts in your car.

  • Always work with the vehicle engine and power turned off.

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References

Resources

  • Photo Credit car door image by koko300 from Fotolia.com

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