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Door Locks


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I'm new to this forum, but have come here because of a serious problem with my Lexus LS400 1990.

Earlier this week I had a frightening situation occur. I was having a problem with turning my key in the ignition of my car. I could insert the key into the ignition but could not turn in the key. I tried repeatedly to turn the key and start the car but finally gave up.

When I attempted to exit the car, the driver's door was locked. The button on my key would not work and, when I pushed the various buttons and levers on the door, nothing would make the door open. I slid across the seat to the passenger door and found that it, too, was locked and would not respond to my key or the other buttons and levers. I crawled into the back seat and found both back doors locked. Ultimately, finding myself trapped in my car on a hot day, I ended up kicking out the back seat door window on the driver's side of the car. Not bad for a sixty-something lady!

My car is a one-owner car, never in a serious accident and with about 100,000 miles on the car.

My car has been at the local Lexus dealership since Wednesday. Tonight, the dealer representative tells me that the door lock actuator on the driver door is malfunctioning. He tells me that the child lock was turned on on one (but not both) of the back doors and that his repair people cannot verify that the other two doors' locks are malfunctioning. (I have no children and didn't even know that I had a child lock on the back doors.) He also tells me that the key to the car is malfunctioning. I pointed out to him that I had the keys replaced at his dealership in February of 2010. He told me the keys have a one-year warranty but that he will talk to the service manager about whether they can waive the one month that the keys are out of warranty.

Perhaps, from this note, you can surmise that I'm not a car expert. I am a person who has had a frightening experience in my car where I knew my safety was at risk.

I did ask if the car had been subject to any recalls and the representative said that there had been no recalls relating to the actuator. Is this true? Does anyone have any information that might better equip me to make my case with the dealership and feel safe in my car again?

Incidentally, the initial problem with the key not turning in the ignition was overridden when the tow-truck operator gave the steering wheel a forceful turn to the right and the left. The dealership says that the key locking up is normal when the steering wheel locks. I've driven this car for years and this problem is recent for me, so I am skeptical of their explanation.

Thank you.


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The steering wheel lock is a common problem that can occur, jerking one wheel usually will get it to release. As far as the key, and door locks both malfunctioning and all doors at that?

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