The Ford Bronco is one of the best ways to experience the great outdoors.
Despite being a rugged vehicle, door and tailgate locking issues can occur.
In this article we’ll look at the most common Bronco locking problems and how to resolve them.
Table of Contents
1. Ford Bronco Power Locks Not Working
If all the power door locks aren’t working on your Ford Bronco there are some very common causes.
Key Fob Battery
A low key fob battery can cause a wide range of issues, especially with central locking. It is also possible the fob is faulty or may need reprogramming.
- Change the battery in your key fobs.
- Buy a good quality battery and insert the correct way up.
- Whilst the fob is open clean the inside with electronic contact cleaner and a cotton swab.
A blown fuse can cause issues with the power door locks.
- Find the fuse box diagram for you model year Bronco
- Find the fuses related to the power lock doors and BCM
- Test across the fuse with a continuity tester
- If the fuse is still ok, you should hear a “beep”.
- Or, you can pull the fuse and inspect the metal strip, it should be intact
“Is there power to the fuse? possibly a broken wire in one of the door jams. youre gonna need a volt meter and/or a test light. “ – FullSizeBronco.com
Bad Ground or Electrical Wiring Issue
A bad ground wire can cause a number of electrical issues including issues with the power lock doors.
You will need to locate the ground wire for the door switches and ensure it is not damaged and is connected properly.
A damaged wire or loose connection can cause similar problems.
The best thing to do is have your dealer run some scans and inspect your Bronco.
“If you have voltage at the switch then your fuse is good. Several things can cause them to not work. I would start with pulling the door panel and the kick panel to make sure no wires are pinched or cut. If anyone has modified things through the years that can definitely complicate things – like an alarm or other wiring.” – Reddit.com/r/bronco
A faulty or weak 12V battery can cause a wide range of problems including those related to the power locks.
- The best thing to do is to have a battery health check or simply replace the battery.
- Be sure to check the battery connections are tight and free from rust, dirt and grime.
Tip: You can try disconnecting the battery for 15 minutes, this can sometimes clear electrical glitches.
Bad Body Contol Module
A faulty body control module can cause a wide range of issues including problems with the power lock doors.
- The BCM is in charge of electrical communication from different electronic systems.
- This includes the car alarm system, lock-unlock functions, climate control etc.
Your dealer can run some diagnostics tests on your BCM to ensure it is working correctly, it may need to be reprogrammed or replaced.
Broken or Damaged Relay
A door lock relay is an electromagnetic switch that uses minimal electric power to turn a bigger current on and off.
The central part of a relay is a wire coil that turns into a magnet when current passes through it.
- On many Bronco models the relays are internal to the BCM.
- One controls the driver’s door, one controls the passenger front and both rear doors.
- If they are not working they can cause locking/unlocking problems
If you have a damaged relay then the door will not receive the voltage it requires to unlock.
There have been a number of recalls on the Bronco and some are specifically for power door locks.
Run a VIN check and make sure your Bronco is up to date with recalls.
Door Lock Actuator
Door lock actuators are subject to a lot of wear and tear and are prone to failure.
There’s an actuator at each door – that means a faulty actuator will only affect a single lock.
Thus, if all the other locks work, the problem lies elsewhere.
2. Ford Bronco Door Not Locking Or Unlocking
If you have a single door not locking or unlocking on your Bronco here are some likely culprits.
Faulty Door Lock Actuator
If you have a single door that’s not locking properly then most of the time this is caused by a problem with the actuator
If you don’t hear the actuator then it has completely failed or the wiring harness has come loose.
To be certain you’ll need to remove the door panel.
Replacing an actuator is fairly straightforward if you are mechanically inclined and there are lots of tutorials online for this.
Signs of a bad door actuator include:
- Strange electric motor noises
- Keeps unlocking on its own
- Becomes harder to move by hand
- Door doesn’t latch closed properly
“Sounds like the lock actuators are seized up, replace them if you want power locks to work, remove them if you just want to have manual locks” – FullSizeBronco.com
“The actuator itself has frozen or seized. I had this happen on a Mustang. Couldn’t even open the door using the inside handle. The actuator is not the switch but the “electric motor” that actually moves the door lock from lock to unlock. It is inside the door panel and riveted to the door itself. Remove the panel and follow the lock linkage, you’ll find it.” – FullSizeBronco.com
Broken or Damaged Wiring
A common cause of the drivers door lock not working is a broken or chafed wire.
- Because the drivers door is opened far more often than any of the other doors the wires are exposed to more movement.
- Check where the wires come out of the front fender, where they enter the door.
- Wiggle the wires to try to get the lock to work to confirm the diagnosis.
Other Common Causes
- Water damage
- Blown fuse
- Power lock issue
- Something blocking the doors mechanism
- Latch needs cleaning and/or lubrication
- Worn out or faulty locks
- Electrical wiring fault
- Faulty solenoid
- BCM issues
3. Ford Bronco Door Not Opening
If you can’t get one of your Ford Bronco doors to open, it might be because the child lock is enabled.
Owners on bronco6g.com had this to say:
“My passenger rear door would also not open from the inside and found the child lock was on. Used the key to turn of the child lock and fix the problem. Not sure if it was like that from the dealership”
“Thanks everyone it was indeed the child lock. It must have been on from the factory.”
Other causes include:
- Door requires lubrication and cleaning
- Rust and corrosion
4. Ford Bronco Tailgate Not Locking
There are a number of causes why your Bronco tailgate might not be locking.
The most common cause is a faulty actuator, replacing the actuator should solve the problem. However, it is important to also check that the actuator is receiving voltage.
Latch & Strike Plate Issues
If the latch and/or strike plate has become damaged, possibly by using excessive force when shutting the tailgate, then this can cause locking issues.
You will need to visibly inspect them for any signs of damage.
Tailgate Latch Needs Lubrication
If the tailgate isn’t locking try spraying some WD-40 into the latch mechanism.
- Bad ground
- Loose electrical wire
- Faulty BCM
5. Ford Bronco Tailgate Not Unlocking
Some Bronco owners have had tailgate problems with the unlock function of the intelligent access. To remedy this try locking and unlocking the car using the fob a few times, then see if that clears your problem.
“Some have reported a similar problem with the liftgate. By similar, I mean they reported the liftgate doesn’t UNLOCK via intelligent access. In other words, when the vehicle is locked they cannot open the liftgate with the fob in their pocket. The fix for THAT problem is to lock and unlock the vehicle using the fob a few times. My guess is the computer gets choked up on a bit of code, and the lock/unlock thing is like a Heimlich maneuver.” – BroncoSportForum.com
Other causes include:
Actuator: A Ford Bronco tailgate that won’t unlock is often caused by a failed actuator. If you’re mechanically inclined you can buy a replacement part online and fit it yourself otherwise it’s best to visit your dealership.
Latch: Another common cause is the latch is broken – this is especially true if you cannot get the liftgate to open.
Fuse: A blown fuse is another common cause, you will need to check the fuse diagram for your specific model year truck, locate the tailgate fuse and test the fuse with a continuity tester.
Electrical issues: It can also be caused by a failed relay or a wiring issue.
6. Ford Bronco Keeps Unlocking Itself
If your Ford Bronco keeps unlocking itself here are the most common causes:
- Damaged or broken wires
- Low 12V battery
- Low key fob battery
- Faulty key fob
- BCM faulty
- Electrical interference – HAM radios, overhead powerlines etc.
- Water damage
- Bad ground
You may have some kind of electrical bug or glitch. You can try disconnecting the battery for 15 minutes and see if that clears it.
7. Ford Bronco Keeps Locking Itself
Common causes of the Bronco locking itself include:
Key Fob or Key Fob Module Issues
A weak key fob battery or a damaged or faulty key fob can cause strange locking scenarios – so too can a damaged key fob module.
You will need to ask your dealer to test your fob and key fob module to be certain, although you can change the fob battery which may fix the issue.
“That could be a low battery in the key fob itself, or a bad “key fob” module, etc have you had your dealership look at it yet?” – BroncoSportForum.com
If your Bronco keeps locking itself this can be caused by corrosion or water on the contacts on the switch inside the door thereby shorting them out.
You can try removing the door trim and using a hairdryer to dry out the electrical components.
If the doors lock whilst driving then this is due to the Auto Locking feature which can be disabled in vehicle settings.
Autolock locks all the doors when all of the following occur:
- All doors are closed.
- The ignition is on.
- Your vehicle reaches a speed greater
than 12 mph (20 km/h).
Faulty Door Switches (sensors)
The door switch (sensor) is designed to detect whether the car door is open or closed. If these are broken or faulty they can relay incorrect signals and affect the locking of doors.
If you suspect this is the cause you might be able to find a spare switch at a junkyard and replace it yourself.
“Honestly sounds like a bad door switch.” – Bronco6G.com
One Bronco owner found he was in fact the cause of the driver door locking by itself. He noticed the vehicle would randomly lock with the key still in the vehicle, but all of the other doors would still be unlocked.
Here is his admission:
“After pulling my hair out for a month trying to figure out the issue was, I figured out the problem was me! As I opened up the door, I used my knuckle to push open the door as I pulled the handle, and that caused the door lock to push in. Once I figured that out and was aware of it, obviously it had not happened since” – BroncoSportForum.com
8. Ford Bronco Not Locking or Unlocking With Key Fob
If your Ford Bronco won’t lock or unlock with the key fob then this is usually a problem with the key fob.
- Dirty contacts inside the fob – clean with a cotton swab and contact cleaner
- A weak fob battery – change the battery in your fob(s)
- A faulty key fob – have your fob replaced or reprogrammed
Try using your spare fob and see if that works – if it does then you know that there likely an issue with the original fob.
Other causes can include:
- A weak of faulty 12V battery
- BCM issues
- Wiring issues / electrical short
- Door not shut properly