Originally Posted by mrmojorising
my drivers side door stopped locking/unlocking when i used the remote key chain today, then it started working again. I'm thinking a contact must have come loose from slamming the door, and now it's back in place, but how do i get the dealer to see that there's a problem when sometimes it will work and sometime sit won't? That is i'm not sure how to ensure that i make it to the dealer with the lock not working (sometimes it will start working again).
Getting the dealership to see it's not working is one of those age old problems. There is no way to guarantee the problem will present itself to the dealership and in fact it unfortunately almost never does. You know how that is; you have some issue and as soon as you try to show it to someone else it works perfect making you look crazy.
I've taken apart several of these actuators and fixed them and I have to say, unless they drastically redesigned the unit, I can't imagine it having a loose connection. There are only 2 or 3 wires in one plug going to the actuator motor and it's a pretty tight connection.
When my actuators were going out they would work intermittently at first. Sometimes the door would lock when I used the remote and sometimes they wouldn't. That's the dangerous part because half the time people likely don't even realize if one of their actuators has gone out since we all take for granted that when we hit the lock button on our remotes and see the lights flash our doors have all locked. Fact is, unless you walk around and check all of your doors to be sure they are locked, it's possible one has a bad actuator and that door hasn't been locking with the rest for some time. You car has been left unsecured.
What happens is the motor in the door has a few electrical contacts that get power while the motor spins by some spring loaded electrical connectors called brushes. These brushes are designed to provide power to a spinning object. The contact point between the contacts on the motor's shaft (commutator) and the brushes causes sparking from time to time that slowly creates a carbon build up which prevents power from getting to the motor. At the point when the carbon is just getting thick enough to be a problem, the reliability of the door actuator becomes intermittent. That's the problem.
In your case I think the car is under warranty still so none of this really helps you too much except to educate you on what's likely the problem. All I can say is keep an eye on your doors to be sure they are locking and when, not if, the problem gets worse and more consistent, you can take it in to the dealer. Until then, it's likely going to be a waste of your time to take it in as they will likely not be able to reproduce the problem. On the other hand, you may get lucky and they may see the problem.