Are you having problems with your power door locks or alarm? Check out our diagnostic guide, which will walk you through the process of finding and correcting that problem for good.By Brett Foote – November 18, 2015
This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-Present).
Electrical problems are by far the most frustrating issue to diagnose, because they are often unpredictable and inconsistent. Something might be working just fine one minute, and the next minute it’s going haywire or simply not working at all. This also makes diagnosing the problem tough, even if you take your vehicle to the dealership, because everything might be working just fine when are trying to find the cause of the issue. If you’re having trouble with your power door locks or alarm system, keep reading and we’ll walk you through the steps to find as well as correct the problem.
- Flat head screwdriver
- Phillips head screwdriver
- Rubbing alcohol
Step 1 – Check your electrical connections
They might be dirty or worn, which can cause various issues.
Electrical connectors, over time, can become dirty or corroded. This impacts their ability to send and receive signals, which in turn impacts the functionality of the parts they supply power to. If your power door locks stop working or works intermittently, particularly on just one of the doors, a dirty or bad connector could be the culprit. Check the pins in the door connector plug, which is the one that you disconnect when the doors are taken off. Also, check to make sure that it is firmly connected and not loose or completely disconnected. If the pins are dirty or corroded, you can clean them with rubbing alcohol and a Q-tip.
Figure 1. Check your electrical connector to ensure it is plugged in and not corroded.
If your connector is in good shape, move on to Step 2.
Step 2 – Check your power door lock actuator
Actuator failure will cause the lock to stop working.
The power door lock actuator receives power and is what actually makes your door lock or unlock. When these parts fail, your locks cease to function, so if your lock has completely stopped working (instead of intermittently), this is likely the problem. Replacement actuators cost a little under $100 and are very easy to install.
Figure 2. Check your power door lock actuator.
If you are having issues with the door lock and alarm system, move on to Step 3.
Step 3 – Alarm system and door lock issues
You may have noticed that if you lock your Jeep with the key fob but try to unlock them with the key in the door, the alarm will go off. This is a feature unique to the Wrangler, intended to protect it in the event that the top is off and someone tries to reach inside and unlock it. There is nothing in the door that can disable the alarm, which is solely controlled through the key fob. This means that you can lock the door with the key and unlock it with the key without setting off the alarm. Many owners are “alarmed” by this unique and interesting feature, but rest assured it doesn’t mean that something is wrong with your JK.
Figure 3. If you lock your Jeep with the key fob, don’t unlock it manually (unless you like loud noises).