Electronic locks/ stuck door
DON'T LET THEM BREAK YOUR DOOR PANEL!!!!!
For those of you whose door is shut and you
cannot open it, here is the trick that the Kia mechanic taught us:
Insert the key into the door lock. In one quick motion, simultaneously
turn the key to the unlock position AND pull the handle. It took us
several attempts to finally get it to work.
Once the door is open, the check the diagnosis and repair instructions below.
A couple months ago, our 2004 Kia Optima started
exhibiting the same symptoms you describe: Door lock mechanism feels
jammed, actuators automatically relock, etc.
We took the car to the local Kia dealership where we had purchased
the car new, and the shop told us that it was a faulty door lock
actuator. The mechanic did not open the door, but said that this was a
common problem. They estimated $200 plus labor to repair.
This weekend, I decided to open the door and look for myself. What I found is that the actuator was fine. The fault was with the latch mechanism, called "door checker" in
the Kia service manual. Not the lock... the latch; the actual part that
latches onto the striker when the door is closed.
Here is my walk-through of the diagnosis and repair:
To determine the fault, I first removed the door panel. Remove 1
screw in the grab handle pocket, 1 behind the door open lever, and 2
screws at the forward edge, the bottom edge, and the rear edge. Remove
the small window-corner speaker if equipped. Then lift off the door
panel. Don't lift too far, there are wires to disconnect.
Once the door panel was removed, I removed the exterior door
handle. Two bolts on the inside of the door secure it. Use 10mm socket
to remove them. Then remove the connecting linkages by flipping the
plastic catches on each to the side. This should allow you to pop the
linkage from the socket. The heavy linkage is a little harder, as it
has a locking groove. You may need a jewelers screwdriver or dental
picks to open the plastic socket a little. Be very careful not to get
forceful or you risk breaking the plastic catch. The actual lock
mechanism turns 1/8 turn and slides out of the handle assembly. Set the
Now disconnect the linkage from the actuator, again by flipping the
plastic catch to one side and slipping the linkage from the socket.
Finally, disconnect the linkage that goes to the interior lock above the door-open handle.
With these linkages disconnected and the door handle out, remove
the plastic cover on the latch mechanism. You should now be able to
peer in and work the lock and opening levers independently and find the
On my particular latch, the plastic bits (yes, they used plastic)
had worn and become loose. This allowed the rotating part of the latch
to rotate too far, which in turn caused a bind when you try to unlock
the mechanism. The security system senses that the latch is not
properly unlocked, causing the actuator to immediately engage and
relock the doors.
If you confirm that this is your problem, then remove the three
screws that hold the mechanism in place and replace the mechanism. I
obtained mine from a salvage yard for $30.
Total time to diagnose and repair was about 3 hours - but you now will have an advantage in knowing what you're looking for!
Jul 12, 2008 |
2004 Kia Optima