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Door Lock Cylinder

Door Lock Cylinder

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Door Lock Cylinder at 1A Auto

What is the door lock cylinder and where is it located? 

The door lock cylinder is the little metal piece in your door handle that you put your key in and turn to lock and unlock the door, but it’s so much more than that.  The door lock cylinder helps protect you, your car, and any valuables you keep inside your car.  Think of the door lock cylinder as a tiny superhero, like Mighty Mouse or Atom Ant. 

The door lock cylinder is a little metal tube mounted in the door handle.  A door lock cylinder is found on the driver’s door handle and sometimes on the front passenger door handle as well.  Inside it is a series of tumblers that accept your key and that key alone.  When they key lines up with the tumblers, you can turn the cylinder.  The cylinder attaches to the door lock rod.  The lock rod can pull the latch rod or latch cable for the door handle into position, which allows the door handle to unlatch the door and allows you to get into your car.  

How do I know if my ­­­­ door lock cylinder needs to be replaced? 

The door lock cylinder can wear out from repeated use.  It might get stuck in its housing and become hard to turn, or it might become loose and won’t unlock the door when you turn it.  A loose cylinder might even come partially out of the door handle and still attached to your key.  As you might expect, door lock cylinder problems can make it difficult to unlock your doors.  A bad door lock cylinder might leave you out in the cold – literally. 

Can I replace the door lock cylinder myself?  

Replacing a door lock cylinder can get a bit involved.  You will have to remove your door panel to access it, so the level of difficulty for replacing a door lock cylinder is fairly similar to replacing an exterior door handle. 

To begin replacing your door lock cylinder, you will have to get inside the car.  Hopefully you can unlock your door with remote entry or unlock a different door.  Otherwise, you might have to call a locksmith.  Once you’re inside the car, you’ll have to remove the door panel.  Door panel removal varies from one vehicle to another, so it will help to reference a shop manual or a good set of instructions.  Once the door panel is off, you’ll be able to access the lock cylinder.  Disconnect it from the lock rods.  One runs to the latch rod or latch cable, another runs to the manual door lock knob.  There’s a small clip that holds the cylinder in place.  This can be removed with needle nose pliers.  Put your key into the lock and pull it out as you push it from behind.  Reverse these steps to install the new one.  Be sure to check that the lock works before you close your door.  

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