There are all kinds of reasons a car door lock can get jammed. For example, the tumblers inside the lock might be clogged up by dirt or rust. On the other hand, the mechanism could be jammed up inside the door. Either way, you can try a couple different methods to fix the lock yourself. If you aren’t able to solve the problem, call a locksmith or take your car to an auto repair shop to get the lock looked at and fixed by a professional.
Method # 1
1. Lubricate the clogged lock
Try lubricating the stacked car locks with a penetration catalyst or WD40. Permeable catalysts are a type of lubricant that also dissolves rust and dirt that can clog locks. WD40 is a general purpose lubricant that cleans the parts inside the lock and protects them from future corrosion and dirt.
Permeation catalysts or WD40s can be purchased at hardware stores, automotive stores, or online. As long as you have the keyhole, you can try this method either manually or with an electronic car lock. Tip: If it is difficult or difficult to get the key into the keyhole, it indicates that the lock may be clogged with rust or dirt. In this case, lubricating the lock through the keyhole can solve the problem and prevent it from recurring in the future.
2. Insert the tip of a flat-blade screwdriver into the keyhole to open it.
Place the tip of a screwdriver against a movable piece of metal that covers the keyhole when you don’t have the key. Push in the driver until the piece of metal is completely out of the way, allowing lubrication to fill the keyhole.
If you don’t have a flat-blade screwdriver, you can use another thin metal object to drill the keyhole. Be careful not to use fragile items that can break and get caught in the lock.
3. Spray the lubricant directly into the keyhole.
Hold the can as close as possible to the keyhole with the nozzle. Press down on the cap 45 times to spray a large amount of lubricant on the keyholes.
When using the WD40, the can usually comes with an elongated red straw that can be attached to the nozzle. You can pierce the keyhole directly with this straw to completely fill it with lubricant.
4. Insert the car key into the keyhole and move it in small steps to loosen the lock.
Remove the tip of a flat-blade screwdriver from the keyhole and insert the car key. Wiggle the key back and forth to loosen up the tumblers inside the lock, then try turning the key to unlock it. If the lock is still jammed, don’t try to force it open with your key. You might end up breaking the key off inside the lock and making the issue worse.
5. Repeat the process if the lock is still jammed.
Remove the key from the lock and insert the tip of a flat-blade screwdriver. Spray the lock with another 45 times of lubricant and then try unlocking it again using the key. You can also grease the keys and slide them in and out of the lock several times to loosen the internal tumbler.
If you’ve tried this process several times and you still can’t unlock it, you may have a bigger problem. You will need to access the lock mechanism from the inside to unlock it or have the locksmith repair it.
Unlock the locking mechanism
1. Remove the inner door handle or the entire door panel to allow access to the lock.
Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws that secure the door handle panel, and if the car door has a removable inner handle, pry the panel out of the door. If you cannot remove the door handle alone, remove all the screws and plastic clips that secure the door panel and pull the panel out of the door.
The exact procedure for removing the inner door handle or door panel will vary from vehicle to vehicle. However, the general concept is the same. Find and remove the door handle panel or the hardware that secures the door panel, and pull the door handle or door panel out of the door.
If you need to remove the door panel, please note that some doors have an adhesive insulation sheet that needs to be removed for repair. Then it needs to be replaced. If you are reluctant to lock yourself, consider repairing the lock by a specialist. This method works with both electronic and manual car locks.
2. Find the location of the door lock mechanism just below the door lock.
Look for some kind of metal plate attached to the bar just below the exposed door lock that moves up and down. This is the mechanism that tries to move to unlock the car. If you’re not sure about the
mechanism, use a flashlight or cell phone light to make it look good.
3. Grasp the door mechanism rod with needle-nose pliers.
Open the needle-nose pliers and grab the metal rod attached to the metal plate of the locking mechanism. A lever that moves the lock up and down.
4. Move the rod up and down using the pliers to unjam the lock.
Hold your pliers tightly and try to wiggle the locking mechanisms rod up and down. Push it up to unlock the door and down to lock the door. Keep moving the rod up and down until the lock goes smoothly between locked and unlocked. If it’s hard to move the rod up and down and you can’t get the lock unjammed, try spraying the whole mechanism with some WD-40 to lubricate it.
5. Test the lock using the key and all electronic buttons.
Put the car key in the keyhole of the lock and try to lock and unlock the door several times. If your car has an electronic locking mechanism, try using the unlock and lock buttons on your car or key fob.
If the lock does not appear to be fully unlocked but is still in progress, use needle-nose pliers to move the mechanism back and forth until the lock and unlock are smooth. You can also spray the WD40 onto a key or keyhole to clean, lubricate, and protect the lock from corrosion.
Tip: If the physical keys are working fine, but you can’t open the lock with the electronic key fob or car button, there may be a problem with your electronic device. Take the car to a mechanic to check and repair it.
6. Replace the inner door handle or door panel.
Return the panel or handle to its original position. Replace all screws and tighten with a Phillips screwdriver.