What is car central locking, how it works and how to avoid problems

Currently, most cars produced are equipped with a central locking system. If until some time ago we unlocked the car with a key, like any other regular house door, technology no longer allows this, except in exceptional cases like lack of battery or system failure.

Types of central locking in cars

Over time, two major types of central locking have emerged in terms of functionality, namely: infrared and radio waves.

The infrared was the first to appear. This system involved the emission of an infrared beam, a rather difficult process because it had to be perfectly oriented to the receiver, and in full sun, the maximum control distance was limited to about one meter. Nowadays, infrared remote controls are only found on older cars.

Central locking by radio waves are most often used today, they have a wide range of functionality and also, there is no need for the transmitter to be directed to the receiver to open or close the doors and is not influenced by the sun

How does car central locking work?

The key, as a transmitter, sends to the receiver a coded signal that is compared to its own code. Radio remote controls also use a skip code, which means that after locking, the transmitter and receiver will change the pre-programmed code.

The system becomes more and more secure due to millions of pre-combinations of the system, not using the same code for years, the risk of detecting the code being practically zero.

There are millions of combinations in this system that will not use the same code twice in a row. This eliminates the risk of code being detected by thieves with a code copier, also called a “grabber”, a risk that exists in the case of cars using a fixed code radio remote control.

Careful! It is very important to allocate a few seconds each time you get out of the car, especially if you do not leave a door or a window open. Many cars are equipped with the lock function after a certain time. I don’t think it’s nice for anyone to be hundreds of miles away from home and not be able to open the car.

Also, to prevent this negative event, it is advisable not to hold the remote control (key) in an area with an electromagnetic field source. This can be decalibrated, disturbing the frequencies between the receiver and the transmitter.

Types of emitters for car central locking

Depending on the car model, there are several types of emitters:

In the form of remote control, most often attached to the car key, where you have 3 buttons that you can operate, namely: one to lock the doors, one to unlock them, and one to open the trunk. It helps you not to use a key to open/close the doors.

remote control car key with 3 buttons

In the form of a card, something newer as a system, which allows the receiver to detect the presence of the transmitter itself and to act to open the doors and possibly to start the car. You no longer have to press any button, and the card can be held in your pocket or purse and is easily detected by the receiver. This feature is called keyless entry.

The car will work as long as the card is inside it. Also, when you leave the car and the card is at some distance from the receiver, it gives the command to close the doors automatically.

keyless entry in a car 2

The advantages of having a central locking in a car

  • Very easy management. Through the central locking system of the car, the driver has good control over all the doors, being able, by pressing a simple button on his door or on the dashboard, to lock or unlock them.
  • Many drivers use the remote control for centralized opening and when they want to spot their car more easily in a parking lot, the operation is accompanied by an audible signal and flashing light.
  • Another extra point is the button for opening the trunk, very helpful especially when you have your hands busy with luggage and the place does not allow you to put them down.
  • Get rid of the worry that you will have problems opening the door, especially in winter when the hub may freeze and no longer respond to commands. In general, the remote controls and the central unit from the central locking have a wide temperature range in which it behaves normally, from – 30 degrees Celsius (-22 F) to + 80 degrees Celsius (176 F).

How do we avoid having problems with the car’s central locking?

1. When the batteries in the remote control are low, they must be replaced with new ones. It is a good idea to change the battery of the remote control after a maximum of 2 years. When the battery starts to run low, you will notice that you need to get closer and closer to the car to control the doors.

From this point on, the end can be abrupt. This is the most common fault in the operation of the remote control and is the first thing to check.

2. You should always take the keys with you when you get out of the car or when you leave a door or window open. A slammed door may lock and the key will remain inside. Such trouble happened to a friend while he was on a trip to France and he had to call home in Germany and wait for a second row of keys to be sent to unlock it.

3. Keep the keys and remote control away from any source of electromagnetic field (TV, computer, speakers, mobile phone) as the electromagnetic field emitted by these devices may disturb the frequencies in the key electronic circuit.

4. Avoid leaving keys in a humid environment (kitchen or toilet, for example) as they contain electrical circuits that are very sensitive to moisture. Not to mention that if they are forgotten in a pocket and end up in the washing machine, this can completely damage them. If you drop them on asphalt, cement or tiles in the house, there is a good chance that the electronic circuits will be irreparably damaged.

5. And accidentally pressing the buttons on the remote control (while in your pocket, for example), when it is within range near the car, can inadvertently unlock the doors. If you accidentally press them outside the range of the remote control, there is a risk of a mismatch between the handset on the machine and the key.

In the case of remote control with changing code, the transmitter code will no longer be the same as the receiver. For some brands, for the resynchronization action, only two presses in the range are enough to repair the fault, but for other brands, the reset is not possible and must be done in a workshop, which will require significant costs.

How much does it cost to install a central locking system on a car that does not have one?

Certainly, there are central locking systems on the market at a decent price, starting from $ 23-30 for simpler models, up to $ 100-200 or more for more sophisticated models.

The labor depends on the service you use, but it is not very expensive either, and you can find workshops that perform this operation at a price between 100 -150 $, depending on the car model.

Thus, if you have an older car that opens to the key, or even a newer one, but with few features, you can benefit from a central locking. Some kits come with all the necessary elements, from 2 remote controls and the central unit, to connection cables and clamps.

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