Chevy Astro Power Door Lock Problemsby Charles Green
The Chevrolet Astro was one of the most enduring minivan nameplates. Unlike its chief rivals, the Dodge Caravan, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna, the Astro is powered by its rear wheels (optional all-wheel drive), an edge that popularized the vehicle as cargo and conversion vans as well as passenger vans. The Astro is generally reliable, but like any aging vehicle a host of nettlesome maintenance problems have cropped up, including power door lock issues.
Built from 1985 to 2005, the Chevy Astro was extensively overhauled in 1995. This article covers all Chevrolet minivans built during that time, as well as the GMC Safari, a twin to the Astro.
Power Door Locks
Chevy Astro and GMC Safari vehicles equipped with power door locks will occasionally cause problems for owners. The chief complaint centers on outright lock failure, where the driver activates the switch to unlock all doors and one or more locks fail to disengage.
Diagnose the problem by first reviewing what you're dealing with. Several components work together to make power door locks open and close. You have the driver's control switch panel, local switches on each door, locking door switch and an electric control solenoid.
If you have a repair manual specific to your Chevrolet, then refer to the schematics detailing a passenger door in various stages of separation. These diagrams will help you understand what might be wrong with your power door lock.
Make sure that a fuse hasn't blown. If so, replace the fuse. If all of the locks aren't working, then a fuse or the main electrical power module tasked with operating the locks has failed. Replace the defective parts. Proceed to the next step if only one door is impacted.
If you believe that a switch has failed, then clean or replace it before continuing. A wire running from the switch to the door panel may have separated due to corrosion.
If the power door lock still doesn't work, then a door lock motor or one of the actuators may have failed. If you hear a motor whirring, then in all likelihood the actuator is the problem. The door lock motor works in tandem with gears and a gear set, which is attached to an actuator rod. That rod is what moves the door lock up and down. Lubricate the rod first; if that doesn't work, replace the defective parts and check all connections per your repair manual.
If all the locks are working from the inside of the car but the key fob isn't unlocking your doors, then the problem is most likely with the key fob. Replace the battery. If that doesn't resolve the problem, get a new key fob from your Chevrolet dealer.
Charles Green is a freelance writer in North Carolina who has been writing since 1992 and freelancing since 2002. His work appears in "435 South Magazine," "Wisconsin Golfer" and for various websites. Green earned a Bacheler of Science in business administration from Ramapo College of New Jersey.