Plenty of us probably take central locking for granted! While it’s easy enough to rely on locking our cars, it’s another thing to start thinking deeply about how it all works. Central locking is extremely common in modern car manufacturing, meaning that it’s very likely – as a motorist – you’ve come across this technology at one time or another.
These days, you can lock and unlock a central system using a fob, which acts as a key. This can be used from a distance, meaning that you can effectively engage and disengage switches inside your car.
But How Does This All Work?
Let’s take a bit of a quick look at the technology. Older cars will have used a vacuum-based central locking system, believe it or not. However, nowadays, you’ll normally find that a central locking system uses something called actuators.
Actuators carry motorised locking gears and mechanisms. You’ll find one in the inside of each of your car doors, as they actively control the locking and unlocking of each of them as and when required. You’ll normally find these actuators are situated below the locking levers and close to the rear closing of your car.
Your central locking system can be monitored through your central ECU, which you’ll also rely on for steering lock, immobilisers, alarms and more. You might even use the ECU to track your car, or to close up windows automatically.
But That’s Not All!
It certainly isn’t – sometimes may find that you have an additional control unit in your car that picks up on radio pulses. These pulses are sent to the car through a fob, which acts as a key. When you press your fob, you send a signal to your car to either lock all the doors, or to unlock them all in one go. This is why it’s called central locking.
The motors in the locking system will reverse direction and then allow the actuators to physically unlock the doors. In some cases, you may also find that your central locking system works with lights, meaning that they can stay on until you start your engine back up. You might even find that a key fob can also silence or activate the alarm, depending on your ECU setup.
What if Something Wrong Happens to the Central Locking System?
There are multiple parts in the central locking system, which can mean that there are a few smaller bits and pieces which need swapping out or replacing in order for the locking to continue working properly. This means that if you notice a problem with your locking system, you may need to switch out actuators or even the switches inside.
In some case, you might need to simply reprogram your key fob(s)! This means that you can get a whole new set of fobs to use with the same vehicle. This is often a great idea if you’ve lost your keys and need a replacement, too. Take care with your locking system!
Replacement Central Locking Parts