Last semester the driver’s side passenger door in our van stopped working. It wouldn’t unlock–neither the power locks nor the manual switch worked. Over Christmas we took it to the mechanic, whom we paid $67.50 for removing the door panel to find the lock actuator not working (not a surprising diagnosis) and disengaging the power lock on that door so that it can be locked and unlocked manually. That worked for a while, but at some point the manual lock stopped working as well.
We decided to kick it old school and use the van with only one sliding door. Why? Because the estimate to replace the lock actuator was $375.94, including a $267.00 replacement part.
I’m not a mechanic, but using only one passenger door in the van got tiresome, so yesterday I decided to have a look at the problem myself. I removed the inside door panel, figured out how the lock actuator worked, and identified the problem. The lock actuator was actually functioning properly, but one of its parts was a tiny bit out of position. When I put it in the right position, the lock worked just fine–except that without my help, it fell back out of position.
So today with about 1cm (3/8″) of wire from a spool I had purchased 10 years ago and a tiny bit “No Nails” glue left over from when I did the flooring in our old house, I fixed the lock mechanism! I reconnected the power locks and they work, too. It took 10 minutes to identify the problem yesterday, and another 10 minutes to fix it.
- Mechanic’s $267.00 replacement part plus labour at $375.94 OR
- 1cm of wire, a drop of glue, and a little ingenuity (priceless)
Now I know a little what MacGyver feels like. I feel like such a man!
Some photos. The lock actuator:
The problem part and my solution:
Close-up of my solution: