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How Power Door Locks Work
Between the keypads, keyless entry systems and conventional locks, some cars today have four or five different ways to unlock the doors. How do cars keep track of all those different methods, and what exactly happens when the doors unlock?

The mechanism that unlocks your car doors is actually quite interesting. It has to be very reliable because it is going to unlock your doors tens of thousands of times over the life of your car.

Here are some of the ways that you can unlock car doors:

With a key
By pressing the unlock button inside the car
By using the combination lock on the outside of the door
By pulling up the knob on the inside of the door
With a keyless-entry remote control
By a signal from a control center
In some cars that have power door locks, the lock/unlock switch actually sends power to the actuators that unlock the door. But in more complicated systems that have several ways to lock and unlock the doors, the body controller decides when to do the unlocking.

The body controller is a computer in your car. It takes care of a lot of the little things that make your car friendlier -- for instance, it makes sure the interior lights stay on until you start the car, and it beeps at you if you leave your headlights on or leave the keys in the ignition.

In the case of power door locks, the body controller monitors all of the possible sources of an "unlock" or "lock" signal. It monitors a door-mounted touchpad and unlocks the doors when the correct code is entered. It monitors a radio frequency and unlocks the doors when it receives the correct digital code from the radio transmitter in your key fob, and also monitors the switches inside the car. When it receives a signal from any of these sources, it provides power to the actuator that unlocks or locks the doors.

This article was taken from:

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