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Xterra Door Lock, Troubles & Strife

On today's episode Rob has some trunk lock malfunction issues causing a trunk that wont lock. He thought it worked. It didn't. See the full video at the end of this post

Confused - Rob had to do some investigating

Alright readers, welcome to the tragedy that is an old Nissan 4x4. Yes, I love it, but I am aware it's not a Toyota and the Xterra's have always loved to remind me, frequently.

When I buy any new car, I always check the door locks, listen for the sound and check the handle, you would be surprised how many cars have door lock issues, and many go unnoticed. How often do you try to open a door on your own car you suspect is locked? Right, I thought so.

You try to open a door after you unlock it, because these days most cars out there have power/remote locks. We don't do what we did in most cars of the 80's or before and turn the key and verify with a quick yank of the handle. There days we have been programmed to trust technology.

Trouble being, if you have a door which doesn't lock, unless you look or try you might not notice, until someone else tries! You might look and see it lock, but the rod which connects the door lock inside and the actual mechanism may be broken. Moral of the story? Check your locks people!

*****For all you wondering if this fix might be what you need*****

Problem: Door locks sound like the work (can hear actuator) or nothing happens when you lock the doors with fob, or key wont turn in doors/trunk/hatch

Fix: Open panel, gain access to interior mechanism and ensure parts are connected and moving freely. This is the second vehicle in 6 months I had where this issue happened to me

Now, without further ado. Let's take a look at what happened.

First, I Removed the rear hatch panel/cover.

Same for door cards if your doors have the issue. It is always a combination of bolt/screws and pressure clips.

Be sure to removes them firmly but gently, peeking into the panel to see where the clips are. If you break and brittle clips, your panel will rattle a little forever. Each time you take it off again, it will get looser. Trust me.....

Got access to the interior mechanisms.

Most of this is sheet metal and further access requires removing parts to access them, not much more in the way of covers to be removed here.

Located the actuator.

Which, in my case was working, but making a strange sound. I knew it was a disconnected-connecting rod or seized lock mechanism by the sound of it. If you hear or see nothing from the lock with a problem, it could be the actuator itself.

Inspected the connecting rod.

Nope, all connected here, the rods connect at either end through little plastic clips which cap/clamp the rod, sometimes there is a guide in the middle, or foam/rubber dampener also, but this was not the issue for me.

Seized lock!

FOUND IT!!!! 4 minutes in, new record.

Time to spray on some lubricant/penetrant. I locked/unlocked the doors a few times to confirm which direction the assembly should move in, then to be twice as sure, I disconnected the rod at the seized end, and locked it again, just a small amount of movement was needed.

This tells me how much movement to expect, stopping me from breaking it while I loosen it by force.

Use a suitable tool to grip and work the seized part.

In this case I used pliers, working the lock assembly back and forth gently until it moved with the other side clip disconnected. I am not sure if that is needed, but it felt less risky than applying too much tension and snapping something else. A little pressure and it came free! DONE. Locks working smoothly.

This is a good place to stop, remove the assembly and replace or, simply use a wire brush/etc. to clean it up and get a few more years out of it. I opted for a quick fix and instead applied some grease to prevent more rust in the near future.

Rust from the hold where the Nissan badge mounts to the trunk

Find the root cause.

My case, the hole where the badge is mounted through had water coming in, I need to remove the badge and grind the surface clean on both sides before applying some primer and paint, a job for another day. Hopefully no filler is needed. Sometimes it is better to go to a wrecker and get a new part over investing time in rust, really depends on the person.

So, the door works, just reassemble and enjoy your working locks. Hope this is helpful to someone out there, same principle for 99% of cars out there with this issue.

View the full how-to here:

As always, thanks for reading and see you next time!


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