Are automatically locking car doors dangerous?

Many cars today lock all doors when the car is put in drive. Are the doors more secure in case of a crash if they are locked? If there is a crash, will they automatically unlock? If there is a crash and the battery is damaged and the doors are locked, would it not take more time to rescue an unconscious driver or passenger?

We have those auto-locking doors on our truck (2000 model). I tell people the truck thinks it is smarter than me. But, the front doors will automatically unlock when you try to open the door from the inside. The reason this bugs me is because the other doors are locked, and, unless I remember to use the unlock button, I run around the car, and cannot open the door my son is behind in his car seat. Other than that, I don’t have a problem with them.

As for emergency people, if the door is locked, they’ll just smash the window, no problem. If the door is jammed, they have other wonderful tools that can rip off the door or cut off a roof. If rescue people had a problem with the auto-lock systems, they would have made that known by now.

As with my reply to the starter problem, my personal preference is for the simplest and most direct of methods. I disable the automatic door locks on my vehicles. And when working on a vehicle I roll the drivers door window down from the time I inspect a car until it is parked on the ready line. It is such a pain to get into a locked car even with all the gizmos needed to do so.

I’m sure that the engineers and designers who decided it was a good idea will tell you how much safer it is. Personally I am doubtful, but I have no good reasoning for that - just my gut feeling.

I am also paranoid (but only b/c everyone is out to get me) and things like that give me the creeps. I resent machines that think they know what I ought to do or ones that assume they know what I want. Even worse is when they actually give me no choice. I’ve seen the terminator movies one too many times, I suppose.

And like BustedKnuckles, if I have to walk back around the car one more time b/c I forgot to unlock all the doors I just might take out a window instead.

I don’t have such a car, so tell me – can the owner readily disable the automatic locking feature?

My owner’s manual has the directions, but my wife likes them, and has forbidden me from disabling them. :frowning:

You should make her watch the terminator movies more often.

I wrote Honda a letter about if they had ever seen Terminator? I never got a reply.

That’s probably b/c that crazy little asimo robot of theirs is Terminator Model 1.1, and they don’t want anyone to catch on. They want all the kids to believe its nice and friendly and helpful so that the assassination missions are much easier.

My secret weapon against them is being upstairs.

Just another ploy to lull you into complacency - he’ll find you - he’ll never stop - that’s what he does.

I know it’s aggravating as the dickens. Working out of my truck, I have tools in the passenger seat and back seat that I need and it’s nuts to walk around, find the dang doors locked, have to walk back around and open the doors, then go get my tools.

Then there’s that confarnded key’s in the ignition buzzer. Lots of times I have my laptop sitting on the console and jump up in the truck to enter stuff into it and if it’s a nice day, I’d just assume leave my door open to let air in, or if I’m talking to someone standing beside the truck and ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding (Ok, I know the dang door is open now, please hush).

I used to on my 90’s series Fords disconnect all the buzzers before I ever drove them off the lot. You just pulled one big plug to the right of the steering column and no door buzzer, no seat belt dinger, no key in the ignition thing. On my 04 Ford, the same plug ran the cruise control and does the same on my Dodge, so I can’t pull it.


If your air bags deploy a standard design is to unlock all doors whether equipped with the auto locking or not.

The short answer is no, the doors are not more secure in an accident if locked. At least in every car lock I have seen the lock just stops the handles from moving a linkage. It’s not like a house door where an extra deadbolt slides into the frame. The same latch is still holding the door shut (no more, no less) with the door locked or unlocked.

Airbag equipped cars unlock their doors whenever the airbags go off. Also, if the doors are locked, rescue crews have all sorts of power tools that can open up a car in seconds.

The only safety from this feature is that kids can’t open the doors while driving and if you travel in bad neighborhoods it should keep the carjackers from opening the door. I personally taught my kids to leave the doors alone when we were going somewhere in the car, and if I have to visit some place where I’m worried about carjackers I can lock them myself.

If they can’t open the door, they just break the window. It’s easy.

Our Chrysler T&C also many times locks all the doors when you close the tailgate. This was a problem last Saturday when I hopped out of the van at Lowe’s to load bags of wood chips in the back…my wife hopped out of the passenger seat to see if she could help and the moment I shut the tailgate CLICK–we were locked out with the keys inside. Our 3 year old was strapped in his child seat and we had to call the police to help get us back into the van. From now on I ALWAYS remove the keys, even for loading something in the back.

It’s things like these that kinda make me see newer vehicles in the same light as Craig58 does.
I’d probably just unlock the doors as soon as they were locked(if they do it when put in drive), but the problem you just described would probably lead me to go hunting for the fuse to the controls.

All car doors are required to remain secure under a specific large load (I forget the number exactly, but I think it was 1000 pounds) as well as under specific impact conditiosn. Locking them does not make them more safe, and if fact I’d be concerned that it would interfere with rescue efforts.

I recently read an article that automobile “A” pillars are getting so strong as a result of increasing structural integrity for crash testing that most of the “jaws of life” hydraulic units currently in use can no longer cut the pillars. According to the article, units that will cut the pillars are upwards of $20,000, more than most local budgets can afford. Should I be in such an accident I’d prefer that my doors be unlocked.