Automatic locks "spazzing out"

The lock button on the key fob stopped functioning a way long time ago and the drivers side auto lock button stopped functioning a couple years ago, but that was okay bcs I could just reach across to the passenger side to lock the car. Today, I had a frightening experience. The automatic locks on all four doors were rapidly locking and unlocking for several minutes when I pressed the unlock button on the key fob then suddenly stopped. I was able to get the car open using the key. Should I remove the door lock relays and just use the key to get into the car and use the manual lock on the doors?

Thank you for your time.


Believe it or not, not all cars are alike. It’s impossible to offer help without knowing the make, model, and year of your mystery vehicle.

Sorry, I thought I ID’d the car as part of the sign up process. 1998 SW2 Saturn.

Thank you for kind assistance.


Chances are that you have shorts in the wiring harness(es) where the harness(es) go through the holes between the doors and the main body. They get flexed there constantly, especially the driver’s door, and over the years the insulatioin fractures and chafs. That can cause all form of ghosts, depending on exactly what’s shorting where.

Fixing this requires removing the dor inner panel(s), “breaking open” the wiring harness, splicing wires, and tying and rewrapping the harness. And you’ll need a schematic and a multimeter with pin probes. The problems may not be visually obvious and you may need to know what wires you need to check.

Or, you could bring it to a place that specializes in automotive electrical systems. Regular shops hate wiring problems, and with good reason. They’re a pain and the customer always says “What? $250 to splice a wire? What, are you guy nuts?”. They don;t realize how hard it can be to trace these problems.

Orrrr, could I just pull the Lock and Unlock relays bypassing the electric locks all together? Would that eliminate the possibility of a short causing a drain on the battery?

Thank you for getting back to me.

You might even be able to find a seperate fuse for the door lock system, and just pull the fuse.

thank you so much! Good idea! I’ll peek in the fuse box under the hood.

Try the owner’s manual. I’m thinking it may be in the fusebox under the dash.

Outstanding Bro! found the 10 amp fuse just above the relays in the interior. I figure I’m good to go now! Listen to at least a portion of Click n Clack most weekends, sometimes the whole show! But that is usually when my girlfriend has her friends over and I’m hiding in the garage or I’m hiding from her there bcs she wants me to do gardening or fabric shopping or some other testicle crushing girly thing. Thank you for helping me! I hope to keep this turd box running long enough to complete my RN degree and get back to the money I was earning when we actually built airplanes in So Cal. Thanks again. God be with you.

It sounds like the keyfob is causing the trouble. I assume you don’t have a second one to use and check that. If you would like to replace the one you have you should be able to find replacements on Ebay for a good price. The trouble could also be due to a dirty lock switch contact. Most likely the driver’s side. By replacing the switch or disconnecting it would clear the trouble. Removing the fuse to the locks may not work so well since fuses usually supply power to more than one circuit.

You are very, very welcome.

Good luck with the RN degree.

P.S.: I’m an old airplane guy myself. Former USAF (avionics, SAC, B52 bombers) who then worked for Kollsman Instruments for 6-1/2 years making aircraft systems.