Lock issues always happen at the worst time. Sure, a jammed driver’s side lock won’t prevent you from getting into your car … but it will probably mean that you have to get in the passenger’s side and crawl over the console to get into the driver’s seat. If this scenario happens in a mall parking lot there could potentially be a lot of witnesses.
Awkward endeavors aside, the most common cause of a jammed car lock is a buildup of grit and grime. So, if you want to prevent the mall parking lot scenario from playing out in real life, keep your locks clean. It is also possible that a piece of the interior of the lock has broken off, preventing its normal operation. In some cases, it may not even have anything to do with the lock. It might be stemming from a malfunction in the interior door panel.
However, should’a, could’a, would’a commentaries don’t help much when your car door is stuck in the lock position. If a lock is jammed on your vehicle, here are three methods you can try to fix it.
1. Try the available methods to open the door
This method might be a given, but sometimes panic sets in when you experience a jammed door lock and you forget the resources you have on-hand. The lock mechanism might move if you try using a different method to open it. Meaning, if the door is not unlocking with your physical key, try using the fob. If you’re lucky, that will fix the problem.
2. Lubricate the lock
A good way to dislodge a jammed car lock in a jiffy is by using an oil-based lubricant like WD 40. Spray a bit of WD-40 (or another oil-based lubricant) directly into the jammed car lock. Afterward, slide the key into the keyhole and jiggle it to help spread the lubricant. If this method was successful, you should be able to turn your key in the lock.
3. Directly access the lock
Sometimes, to resolve the issue, you’ll have to directly access the lock.
Provided you can gain access to the car interior through another door, you might be able to manipulate the jammed car lock assembly inside the door. The tricky part of this method is removing the door panel. First, identify the screws that secure the panel to the car door (they are usually along the edges). Take the screws out and put them in a secure place (such as the cup holder) and remove the panel.
Move the long arm that is connected to the lock cylinder while trying the handle. Hopefully, this action will fix the lock. If it doesn’t fix a jammed car lock, it’s likely time to contact an auto locksmith or a local mechanic.