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

Killing Auto-Doorlock Feature on 1996 Cars

Many 1995-1996 American cars came equipped with an automatic doorlock feature that was nice enough to HELP you lock your keys in your car, usually while the engine was running!



This is utterly annoying, especially if I need to check under the hood while the engine is running (and the normal impulse is to close the door behind me.)



Please tell me where on the vehicle I can disable or bypass this “FEATURE.” Thanks.

Pull the fuse or buy an inexpensive magnetic “hide-a-key” container so you ALWAYS can get back in…

Owner’s manual. Get one. Read up. I used the instructions in mine to disable this feature for my 2000 Ford.

If all else fails, roll the window down so you can unlock the car if it locks.

Yes, owner’s manual is the answer. That’s where I found the info you seek for my now-gone '94 Taurus. You also needed a “secret” code number for the particualr car – the number was on a littles sticker in the trunk!

However, maybe you CAN’T disable it. That was the case with my now-gone '07 Corolla.

Wait a minute here, I was at the GM Dealer at this time and I never locked the keys in a car(belive me if it could have happened I would have done it) or even noticed a car having this feature(except when added by the aftermarket, the auto roll up window combined with self-locking was a bit humorous). My 2004 F-150 does have this feature but it only activates after the truck is put in drive.

This feature was highly programable with BMW, but again it did not take effect till the car was moving.

I’m confused. Are you saying the door locks after closing it, without going into Drive or actually starting to move? Is that how your manual says it’s supposed to work? That doesn’t seem right to me.

This doesn’t make sense to me either - under what conditions do the doors lock? The ‘autolock’ features I’ve seen lock the doors once you’re in drive, not when the car’s just sitting there.

The aftermarket sets them up like this at times,if you are a refugee from Grand Theft Auto you request this feature.

I don’t know what happend guys, but now it only does it after moving. It did it numerous times since I bought it used but I guess this posting brought me good luck. Im guessing why it started working properly is the shift-position/cable is now reporting correctly to the auto-lock feature.

While Im at it here theres something else I have to get off my chest. 13 years ago in 1998 I had a super-awesome job that required me to travel a lot. I missed a critical flight to a major client meeting and had to rent a Ford Escort (97?) and drive seven hours. I was four hours away when I stopped for gas and closed the door with the engine running…a quadrophonic “Click-Click” rang out, and the feeling of terrible doom suddenly came over me! It took an hour and a half for the rental agency to arrive with a spare key (I assume they nailed my company for this extra-service too), and I was so late by then that my presence was irrelevant and I discovered shortly thereafter that my company had put me on their “Axe-List” and was let go at the first of the year. So needless to say the event left me so traumatized that I had become quite adamant here about getting this “feature” fixed.

Thanks for all you input everyone.

These “features” can be annoying…My '07 Versa has an auto lock feature that will lock the doors after one minute if you unlock them without opening a door. Once a door is opened, it deactivates the auto lock feature, but I’m still leery of it and NEVER leave my keys in the car while pumping gas!

I’m paranoid enough to roll the window down if I need to shut the door with the keys in, when I’m outside the car, even though my 06 allows me to disable this feature very easily. On a 96 if may be impossible to disable this without losing the power lock functionality. Or you could get a detachable key ring for the ignition key and keep a spare on your main key ring, or just get used to rolling the window down like I do.

My '09 Caravan locks the door after the vehicle reaches 15 mph. The owner’s manual tells how to deactivate this feateure. Also if one door is opened, all doors unlock.