CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

2003 Volkswagen Golf - Lock worry

About three years ago I had someone hit my Golf on the rear driver side door and while it was in the shop for the rather cosmetic small dent the repair facility asked if I had experienced problems with the door lock for that door. I thought they were saying the lock mechanism had been damaged by the impact but it turns out they thought there was a problem with the electronic locking mechanism. It was not a VW shop and what they did apparently was put in a plug compatible VW part from an earlier model that was not pin out compatible and then tried to jumper around to make it work. After taking it back twice they did make the locks for all the doors work but it only lasted about six months. They can’t make it work and VW wants a fortune (more than an 2003 Golf blue books for!) to fix it. It has failed in stages, first neither of the rear doors would auto lock or lock/unlock with the driver side control button nor the remote, and now the drivers door intermittently will not unlock with the remote after being l left locked for an extended time. How does one work around malfunctions in the locking system in a VW? Currently I just plan to leave it wherever it sits when I finally can’t get it in the front seat passenger door (which is the last one responding to unlock on the remote!).

Can’t you unlock the drivers door with a key ? Not familiar with your vehicle but most all vehicles have a key slot on the drivers door . It might be hidden by a trim piece.

When the car has been left locked for several hours pressing Unlock on the remote causes the lights to flash and the buttons for the two front doors to appear to pop up (the rear doors are unresponsive). While the drivers door button appears to be up the door will not open and inserting the key to open it has no effect (not even lowering the button when turned in the lock direction). The passenger door opens just fine (so far!). If the car is locked for only a few minutes, however, pressing Unlock on the remote opens both front doors.

Door lock actuators become weak with age, sounds like your car needs new door latch assemblies.

The rod connecting the drivers door lock cylinder to the latch might be disconnected, you may want to repair that so you can unlock the door with the key.