This month – We are discussing a little known feature standard on every BMW – Double Lock Door Actuators. Generally speaking, a power door lock will have a combination of linkages, gears, and an electric motor. We will summarize this combination of parts as the door lock actuator. The picture to the right is a BMW door lock actuator. A conventional door lock actuator only physically locks the door latch on the vehicle from the outside door handle cable. While there are varying disengagement methods for the inside handle, the actuator never physically locks the door latch on the vehicle from the inside handle cable. All BMW door lock actuators double lock. That is, the actuator physically locks the latch from both the outside and inside door handle cables. From a technical standpoint, this plays out in several different designs that have been improved over the years. A common one is like the door lock picture to the right – there are actually two separate motors and gears for inside and outside door handle latches.
What’s the point of this design?
It is extremely hard to break into compared to a conventional door lock. In fact, it is not even possible to break in without destroying the door lock actuator itself. Of course, there’s the flip side of this coin! What happens if you accidentally (or intentionally….we don’t judge) lock someone in the vehicle? BMW’s safety feature for this design is the door can still be physically opened from the inside if locked by pulling the door handle twice. If you own a BMW, you may have noticed if the doors are completely locked, pulling the door handle once will unlock it, pulling a second time will open the door.
Other interesting standard BMW locking features side notes:
1. Every BMW also has a locking fuel filler flap that locks & unlocks with the rest of the door locks through the key fob
2. Every BMW has a locking glove box
3. Every BMW has a “valet” mode. Activating it can vary by model but this allows both the glovebox and trunk to be locked without being able to be re-opened by someone else, if you are valeting your vehicle or letting a friend drive it.
4. Any BMW that is approximately a model year 2000 or newer can use the mechanical key in the drivers’ outside door handle lock to open or close all of the windows and sunroof if the mechanical key is inserted and held in the lock or unlock position.
We hope you’ve learned something new in this month’s BMW technology post and as always,
If you do believe you are experiencing a malfunction with your vehicle’s locking systems, contact us today to properly diagnose your concern.