We don't usually think about our door lock. It's just a part on our car that we expect to work at all times, so we can safely lock up our vehicle and the belongings we keep inside. Of course it also helps to deter thieves from stealing your car. Specifically the door lock cylinder is a cylinder that is found in both your passenger and driver's side door. Your key will fit into the cylinder to open it, but no other key will.

While you might assume these door lock cylinders would last the lifetime of your vehicle, but this isn't always the case. This part takes quite a beating in its lifetime, being opened up multiple times a day in some cases. There may come a point where the door lock cylinder no longer works, and you’ll be faced with having to replace it.

So, you may be wondering how the door lock cylinder may suddenly stop working properly? Well a number of things can cause it to be inoperable. For instance, you may accidentally break the key in the lock, dirt and debris can get in there making it difficult to use, or a piece of the actual cylinder may become broken/damaged due to excessive use. You want to be gentle when unlocking and locking your doors with the key, so you aren’t speeding along the process of wearing the door lock cylinder down.

  • There are some common tip-off signs that you can look for that would signal it’s time to replace the door lock cylinder, or at the very least have it looked at.

  • You are unable to insert the key into the door lock cylinder. It may be that something has become jammed in the lock, don’t force your key because you could actually make the situation worse. The key may even get stuck in it.

  • You are unable to remove the key from the door lock cylinder. This one can be really frustrating since you’ve then got a key stuck in there, rendering the door lock useless.

  • You can see something broken or jammed into the door lock cylinder.

Keep in mind while there is no specific timeframe that this part will last, you can certainly add to its lifespan by treating the door lock cylinder in a gentle manner. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and suspect your door lock cylinder is in need of replacement, get a diagnostic or book a door lock cylinder replacement service with a professional mechanic.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does a Door Lock Cylinder Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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