Opening a power-locked door?

Hello folks. First post here.

I unfortunately own a 2003 Saab 9-3. If I could find a way to take its engine out and put it in a go-kart, I’d have the perfect car. But I digress…

Amongst many problems, currently the rear passenger door is locked shut. And I mean shut shut. The lock won’t budge either via the fob, the driver’s door control, or manually. I’m guessing it’s the actuator, but I’m not totally certain. The key to figuring this out would be getting the panel off the door, which I can’t do when it’s shut. Any ideas? Thanks (hopefully) in advance!

First try should be the use of a lockout tool, aka “slim jim,” to open the door. Slip it in from the outside down the window glass to try to manually activate the door mechanism.

Just to be sure - you’ve tried opening it from the outside? No chance some kind of ‘child protection’ lock is causing this?

This is a common problem on your Saab. It’s the door lock actuator. And sometimes the actuator fails in the unlock position which Saab owners hope. Or it fails in lock position which makes the repair a little more difficult.

In order to remove the rear door panel the rear seat cushion first has to come out.


Thanks for the thoughts, folks. The slim jim is going to be my first try. I didn’t know if it would work the same with power locks as with manual locks (this is my first power-locked car).

texases, like Tester says, this is a pretty common issue; it’s definitely not an issue with the child locks. If the slim jim solution doesn’t work, I’ll have to try my hand at taking the seat out I suppose!

The slim-jim is the easy part…Using one to actually open a door takes a degree of knowledge and skill…

I would take the panel off the drives side door so you can see how the mechanism works…Then carefully form (bend) the slim-jim so you can open the door while you watch what is happening…Then take this knowledge over to the other door and pop it open…Try not to break the plastic clips that secure the actuating rods in place…It’s skill not force that gets the job done…