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New Problem Of The Month - Power Locks


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Today started off like any normal day, I went to work and came home around 11:30 or so. Nothing out of the ordinary with my car. About 2 oclock I go outside to drive across campus and I hear a rapid clicking sound coming from my car. My keyless entry wouldnt work, and i used the key to open the door. The sound sounded like it was coming from the door, right around the power lock toggle. Tried to use the toggle both ways, and it didn't do anything, the clicking continued (this clicking is about 5 times a second or so).

Tried to start the car, no dice. Not even the starter fires, the key just turns and theres nothing at all. Checked the fuses, all of them are intact. Noticed the dome light and door lights were flickering, changing the dome light to OFF changed the speed of the clicking sometimes, and other times stopped it, and other times did nothing. I also played with the buttons that depress when the door is closed to turn off the light. Finally decided to detach the battery cables and let the computer restart. Left it unplugged for about an hour, reattached the cables and the engine beeped at me (I've never disconnected the battery before so I don't know if this is normal), sounded like it was coming from the alternator area. Clicking continued but sometimes stopped or changed speeds. Last idea was to take apart my key fob incase it was sending a bad signal, but that didn't do anything either.

Any ideas? I'm sure its something electronic but I'm unfamiliar with car electronics and am out of ideas. The noise stopped for good now, but the car still won't start. The battery is only a 1.5 years old (Die Hard Silver).

To summarize:

1. Power locks are clicking

2. Disconnecting battery did nothing except make the engine beep when reconnected.

3. Interior lights flicker with clicking, dome light switch changes things but not consistently.

4. Fuses OK.

5. Car won't start, the starters don't even click.

Thanks guys.

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Before I would do anything, I'd have the battery charged. Strange things can happen with the cars electronics if the battery is very low. After the battery is charged you can once again determine what caused the battery to be in such a low charged state, like inadvertently leaving on the dome light, or something else.

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how long has it been clicking. It has probably run your battery low enough that it won't start the car.

As for the clicking:

Is it coming from all four doors or just the driver's door?

In any case it sounds like the lock actuator is stuck in a loop. The door keeps trying to unlock it self so to speak.

Rather than take apart you key fob, stand next to the car while a freind walks more than 100ft away from the car with just the fob. You keep the key at the car. The signal shouldn't more than 50 ft. If the clicking stops, it may just be your fob. If the clicking stops, then use the key and see if your car starts.

I am not betting on the fob.

OK, so now if you are still standing at the car, and the clicking is still going on, then open the car with your key. Locate the fuse box and the fuse for the power door locks. Pull that fuse. (On my 02 ES, it is fuse PWR NO. 1. This will cut the circuit to the power lock in the driver's door, the windows and the moonroof).

When you pull the fuse, does the clicking stop. If the clicking stopped, can you start the car now with a charged battery or a jump.

Last thought, since you disconnected the battery at the terminal, does your model ES have a security code or sequence that must be performed in order to reactivate/cancel out the secruity system when the battery is reconnected?

post back.


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Thanks for the quick replies.

The clicking stopped when the fuse was removed. I guess I don't really have a fob, I meant the master key or whatever that has the lock/unlock button on it (I have a 92), so I can't start it with the fob/unlock button away from the car (I also didn't get a wallet key with this car).

I also don't know about the security system.

The clicking was going on at most for 2-3 hours, I don't know how long after I left the car and went inside that it started, and I was inside for those 2-3 hours when it could have started at any time.

The clicking is coming from all 4 doors.

I don't know anyone with a battery charger that I know of, aside from jumping it is there anything else I can try? I have all day today and tomorrow to try and figure this out and fix it on my own before I'd need to have it towed somewhere.

EDIT: I just went out to try my key and the locks out again. Went out and tried pressing the button on my key and the doors all locked, pressed it again, unlocked, and tried it a 3rd time and nothing. The locks sound like they're trying to go but they don't switch. Tried the toggle switch on the door and same thing, they just make a click sound but don't switch. The constant clicking isnt happening anymore. The car still won't start, when I turn the key the instrument panel lights light up very faintly, as if they aren't getting enough power, but all the interior lights work fine. I pulled the fuse again and tried the locks and got the same result (shouldnt it not try at all if the fuse is out?).


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It's not such a difficult job to remove the battery and bring it to someone that has a charger. Just loosen the battery cable ends, and then loosen the holddown clamp and voila, lift out the battery. Like I said before, charge the battery before you get all bent out of shape trying everything else. Your battery is close to DEAD! :whistles:

P.S. You mentioned that it was a Diehard battery, so you could go over to Sears and get it charged, or most Service Stations can do it. You don't have to get the car towed!

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Its a Die Hard Silver (4 years I think, maybe it was 3 year warranty), should they replace/charge it for free at Sears?

Look at my above post......I added about going to Sears. You have to have proof of purchase to get a replacement, and they won't replace it unless it has a bad cell. They have a machine which does a complete test on the battery.:)

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Good news everyone

Thanks for all the input guys. I took my battery to Sears today and sure enough it flunked their charger, so I got a brand new battery. This makes me happy because it lets me know it was the battery and not a power leak somewhere that was draining it.

And the lock problem is gone, must have been because of the low battery like you guys suggested.

Thanks for all the help.

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