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After locking any car, I routinely pull on a door handle just to reassure myself that what I intended to do I actually did. So pulling on my 2013 Chrysler Town and Country driver-side sliding door scared the heck out of me (and probably a bunch of neighbors) when the door actually opened and the car alarm started blaring, which it should do because the putatively locked perimeter had been breached.
It turns out that that door is frozen in the unlocked mode. I tried to lock the door manually as a stop-gap measure, but while the lever moved a little, it is permanently jammed. This is really bad because nothing inside the car is now safe from casual thievery.
Searching for the issue on the Internet showed me that the phenomenon is a chronic Chrysler and Dodge problem and is caused by a failed door lock actuator, which needs to be replaced. Here are a couple of salient websites:
Worse, it appears Chrysler is not interested in doing a recall, which is a really poor business model on their part. It's not like someone spilled coffee on the rug or a cat urinated on a seat or a rock was thrown through a window. Those are post-production events over which Chrysler has no control. But locking mechanisms are integral to expected operations, such as the engine starting when the ignition is pressed or the air conditioning working when selected. Outside of external forces causing damage, failed functions should be routinely covered by Chrysler.
My car was bought new by an old man nine years ago, and in that time he put a whole 12,000 miles on the car before he died. So Chrysler can't argue that ANYTHING in the car, let alone the door mechanisms, suffered from excessive wear and tear. Locking the car is as intrinsic to an automobile's expected functioning as are door handles, window controls, transmission shifting, and the steering wheel controlling the direction of the car. Failures in any of these kinds of areas should be handled by a recall.
- Dave B.,
San Diego, US