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Are Your GM Door Lock Actuators Sending You Warning Signs?


                     GM’s door lock actuators.

Let’s play a quick scenario. You go out in the driveway and hit the unlock button on your fob. Or maybe you go to the keypad on your door and type in the code.


It’s an uncommon, unfortunate occurrence, but it doesn’t always happen this way. Many times - perhaps most of the time - there are warning signs before there’s a complete failure of door lock components.

By the way, the culprit is likely your GM’s door lock actuators. These are small devices inside of the door that electronically controls the locks. Each door has one, and there are a number of things that can make them fail.

However, before you actually get to the point of failure, there are usually some signs that the operation of these electric components is flagging. Here’s what to look out for.

1.Off sounds coming from inside the door.

This is probably the biggest warning sign of GM door lock actuators that are going to fail. In this instance, we’re not talking about the normal noises that the actuator links make when they physically latch or unlatch the door.

Instead, keep your senses tuned for weird sounds like buzzing coming from inside the door, or other laboring noises like clicking or scraping. Also, if the normal noises your door lock actuators make are suddenly louder or it seems as if the volume is growing, the motor may be struggling. Since the motor is a common failure point, this may indicate that your actuators are soon going to fail.

2.Power door locks will lock but not unlock, or vice versa.

In some instances, a faulty door lock actuator might lock the doors but be unable to unlock them. The reverse may also be true; you might be able to unlock the doors using a button but not lock them.

If this is inconsistent - as in, the problem happens sometimes, but not others - it’s a definite warning sign that something is wrong with your door lock actuators.

3.Some door locks will work, but not others.

If you go to lock or unlock all of the doors, but one of the doors either does not respond, behaves erratically, or exhibits a delayed response, that is almost certainly a sign of a door lock actuator that’s on the fritz.

4.Delayed responses from the door lock in response to you hitting the lock/unlock buttons.

On the topic of delayed responses, that is also another big warning sign of failing GM door lock actuators.

Have you ever gone to lock or unlock your GM’s doors, but it takes a second or two before it happens? Sometimes, what happens is you press the button and the locks unlock or lock and then go through a few cycles, erratically and unpredictably.

This is more likely than not a sign of an electrical problem that can underlie issues with the door lock actuator. Either way, if your locks take a moment to seem to respond to what’s happening, or go through lock/unlock cycles a few times, that’s a bad sign.

5.Door locks engaging/disengaging without being activated.

If you’ve ever been sitting in your car and the locks start going without you touching anything, those random signals may belie an electrical issue or a problem with the door lock actuators themselves.

Sometimes, the symptom is similar to the one mentioned above - only, the doors will lock and unlock in random succession without you touching anything.

Either way, if the locks start engaging and disengaging without being activated, it’s something you should look into before your actuators just quit completely.

6.The door open light is on, even if the doors are closed.

Electronic door locks contain sensors that activate the “door open” warning lights on the dashboards of some cars. This sensor is typically an integral component of door lock actuators.

So, if you’re in your car, and can’t help but notice that the “door open” warning light comes on, even with all the doors closed, then there may be a problem with the door lock actuator.

This does not automatically presage a failure of the actuator’s ability to lock and unlock the doors, but an electrical malfunction is never an indicator of something good. It’s better to replace potentially faulty door lock actuators before they fail, anyway.

The GruvenParts Solution to Failed GM Door Lock Actuators

                  GM Door Lock Actuators

Many GM models produced between the years of 2007 and 2014 were made with notoriously unreliable GM door lock actuators. Primarily, the following models are affected:

  • Avalanche
  • Escalade
  • Sierra
  • Silverado
  • Suburban
  • Tahoe
  • Yukon
  • Malibu
  • As well as certain Cadillac sedans with affected part numbers (see the link in the previous paragraph for a full list of faulty power door lock actuator part numbers).

These vehicles were produced with GM door lock actuators with weak motors that are prone to burning out. Many units suffer motor failure which makes locking and unlocking the doors difficult at best.

So we developed something better. Our replacement door lock actuator has an updated high-torque motor with the factory-correct wiring. We also extensively tested it over the course of two weeks through 35,000 lock and unlock cycles.

There are four options at your disposal for replacing or repairing your GM door lock actuator.

  • You can buy the door lock actuator motor and install it yourself.
  • You can buy a repaired actuator.
  • You can send us your actuator for repair.
  • Or, if you’re near Atlanta, Georgia, you can have our Certified GM Master Technician perform the repair for you.

For additional details, please consult the link at the beginning of this section. You can also find detailed information on the previous four options at the same link, as well as videos and instructions on how to complete the installation if you plan to do it yourself.

Do you have questions about your vehicle’s door lock actuators or about our replacement parts? Either contact us online or reach out to us directly at for more information.

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