Car with lock symbol – Meaning and How to fix (DIY)?

Are you having trouble getting your car to unlock? You don’t have to worry; this article will provide you with the steps necessary to get your car functioning correctly again. With these tips, you’ll be able to tackle any car-related issues without the help of a professional.


If you are seeing a car with a lock symbol on the dashboard of your car, it means that the anti-theft system of your vehicle has been activated. This can be caused by a wide range of issues, including a dead key fob battery, a damaged transponder, or an issue with the car’s computer system. If you are experiencing this problem, there are a few things you can try to fix it:

  1. Press and hold the “lock” button on your key fob for at least five seconds to reset the system.
  2. Disconnect the car’s battery for approximately 15 minutes to reset the computer system.
  3. Look for any visible signs of damage to the key fob or transponder, such as cracks or broken pieces.
  4. If these methods do not work, you may need to take your car to a professional mechanic to diagnose and fix the issue.

Causes of a Car with a Lock Symbol

A car with a lock symbol typically indicates an issue with the car’s security system. The lock symbol usually appears when there is a problem with your ignition key, the key fob battery is low, or the car’s anti-theft system has been triggered.

Here are some common causes of a car with a lock symbol and how to fix the issue:

  1. Faulty key: If your key is worn out, it can cause the car’s ignition switch to malfunction. Get a replacement key from your dealer to fix the issue.
  2. Dead key fob battery: If the lock symbol only appears when you use your key fob, it may be time to replace the battery.
  3. Anti-theft system triggered: If the car’s anti-theft system has been activated, it may prevent your car from starting. You can try resetting the system by removing the key from the ignition and locking and unlocking the car several times.

If the issue persists, it’s best to take your car to a mechanic to diagnose and fix the problem.

Diagnosing the Problem

If your car has a lock symbol and won’t start, it could indicate a problem with your car’s security system. Here are some steps to diagnose the problem:

  1. Check the battery: A weak battery can cause the security system to malfunction. Check the battery’s voltage, and if it is low, replace it.
  2. Check the key fob: A malfunctioning key fob can also cause the security system to malfunction. Replace the key fob’s battery or reprogram it.
  3. Reset the security system: Disconnect the car’s battery for 30 minutes to reset the security system. Reconnect the battery and try starting the car again.
  4. Call a professional: If none of the above solutions work, call a professional auto locksmith or dealer to diagnose and fix the problem.

Pro tip: Regular car maintenance and servicing can prevent security system malfunctions and other car problems.

Common Fixes

If your car’s dashboard displays a lock symbol, it could indicate a security issue that needs to be addressed. Here are some common fixes to try:

  • Check the battery: A weak battery can trigger the security system and cause the lock symbol to appear. Try replacing the battery or jumpstarting the car.
  • Wait it out: In some cases, the symbol will disappear on its own after a few minutes. If you’ve recently used the remote to lock or unlock the car, the symbol could be a delayed response from the system.
  • Reset the system: Disconnect the car battery for a few minutes, then reconnect it. This may reset the car’s computer and eliminate the lock symbol.
  • Check the owner’s manual: If none of these fixes work or if you’re unsure about attempting them, consult the car’s owner’s manual. It may provide additional troubleshooting tips and instructions.

Replacing the Ignition Lock Cylinder

If you see a car with a lock symbol and it won’t start, it could be an ignition lock cylinder problem. Replacing the ignition lock cylinder is a straightforward process that requires a few basic tools and a new cylinder, which can be purchased from an auto parts store or online. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Disconnect the battery cables to avoid electrical shock.
  2. Remove the plastic covers around the steering column.
  3. Remove the steering wheel and turn signal assembly.
  4. Remove the old ignition lock cylinder by turning it to the ACC position and pressing the release button with a small screwdriver or pick.
  5. Insert the new ignition lock cylinder into the steering column and align it with the ACC position.
  6. Reassemble the steering column and plastic covers.
  7. Reconnect the battery cables and test the new ignition lock cylinder.

Pro Tip: If you’re not confident in your mechanical abilities, it’s best to take your vehicle to a professional mechanic to replace the ignition lock cylinder.

Troubleshooting Electrical Problems

The lock symbol on your car dashboard signals an issue with your car’s security system, indicating that the system has been engaged and the engine will not start.

Here’s what you should try to fix the problem:

  • Check the remote battery – The lock symbol may indicate that the battery of your remote keyless entry system is low and needs to be replaced.
  • Lock and unlock manually – If the battery is not the issue, lock and unlock your car manually using the key, as the problem may be with the car’s central locking system.
  • Check the owner’s manual – If the above steps do not work, consult your car’s owner’s manual for specific troubleshooting procedures for your car’s make and model.
  • If all else fails, take your car to a certified mechanic or dealership to diagnose and fix the electrical problem.

Pro Tip – Regular maintenance checks and battery replacements can help avoid similar issues in the future.

Final Tips and Advice

If you see a car with a lock symbol appearing on the dashboard, it indicates that there is an issue with the car’s security or anti-theft system. Here are some final tips and advice to fix the issue:

  1. Check the car manual or look for online resources to understand the make and model of your car’s anti-theft system.
  2. Try to disarm the system by unlocking the car with the key or the remote.
  3. Check if the car battery is low or dead, as this can trigger the anti-theft system. If needed, charge or replace the battery.
  4. Check if the car key is worn, as it may not be registering properly with the car’s anti-theft system. If so, replace the key.
  5. If none of the above work, take your car to a certified mechanic or locksmith to diagnose and repair the anti-theft system.

By following these tips and advice, you can fix the car with a lock symbol issue and ensure the security of your vehicle.


In conclusion, a car with a lock symbol is an indication of a security system malfunction, and there are several ways to troubleshoot and fix it:

  1. Firstly, try using a different key to see if the problem lies with the key or the car’s security system.
  2. Secondly, disconnect the car battery and reconnect it after 30 minutes. This might reboot the car’s computer system and reset the security system.
  3. Another method is to use the car owner’s manual to locate the fuse box and check if any of the fuses linked to the security system are broken or damaged.
  4. If the above methods do not work, it is advisable to seek assistance from a professional mechanic or the dealership. They have the required tools and expertise to fix the problem effectively.

Pro Tip: Regular maintenance and servicing of your car’s security system can prevent the security system malfunction and save you time and money in the long run.


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