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Hi, been searching the forums and I haven't seen this thread anywhere yet....

I have a 94 Sentra, 4 doors. Nice lil car. Unfortantly, the locks on the Driver side door and the Trunk seem to be sticking.
You can stick the key in, and try to turn it, but the key feels like it's encountering resistance. In order to get into my car, I have to go to the passenger side door, unlock that and get in. It's a real hassle.
Part of me wonders if the sealing around the key has leaked and the tumblers have rusted.

I'm not well versed in cars, but I'd like to know if anyone else has encountered this and knows of a simple fix before I take it to a mechanic to get them to fiddle with it. I plan on putting some oil in there this evening, but I'm hoping for any ideas I can get....

Thanks
 

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i have the same problems with all my locks. i just sprayed some WD-40 in all of em and it helped. i also "taught" myself a special way to turn the the key when im trying to unlock the door, which works all the times.
 

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TwiztidKidd
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Stick your key in grease and then put it in the cylinder and then try to work your key slowly left to right till it's not seized up anymore. If it's still stuck then you need to remove the driver's door panel off and check all links to the key cylinder and try to get the lock moving by moving one of the links to it. Once you get it to move just grease everything up (except the window moulding). I have power locks and I tapped into the master switch on the driver's door with the two wires from the alarm. Lock and Unlock. I haven't used my key in like forever... but I had that same problem with the trunk lock. The grease thing worked, wd40 prevents rust but it'll drain fast out of the lock then it'll seize up again.
 

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..::SR20 MuthaF*%@#$::..
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i think its because u mainly unlock ,using the driver door. and over time the key smoothens and u can tell by looking at the key. and the passenger and back door key holes were hardly ever used so they still hav the sharp shape of the key.

try starting ur car and pull the key out w/out turning it off. my old sentra was able to do that .
 

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I give mine a shot of Tri-flow when they are sticking (like last week). The local locksmith recommended it, and sold me some. At one time I thougth I needed a new ignition, since it was sticking/binding. He made a new key using the number code for my specific car. No problems since. I have seen it at a local hardware store, but is not cheap ($6-$8 a can), but the locksmith said it was the best stuff to use on locks.
 

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Since I'm a locksmith, I figured I'd give you guys my opinion on this.

Several problems occur over time with any key system. Key wear is the worst of them. Even if you've had your car's key system changed from its original key, a good locksmith can take your old worn-out key and decode it to create you a brand new, fresh-cut key. Most of the time, that will eliminate key stickage issues.

If that doesn't help, start pulling out your cans of lube. (Not the K-Y) I saw something about using Grease... DO NOT use grease inside the keyway. Nissan cylinders use bi-directional wafers and not pins like residential/commerical locks. Grease usually clogs the tiny springs that move these wafers and will usually create too much friction between the wafers for the weak springs to effectively keep them snug against your key. (now that I'm done with that little rant...) The Tri-Flow lube is good stuff. It's a little thicker than WD-40 so it stays around a little longer plus is has liquified Teflon in the formula. If you've used WD-40, that's fine, you'll just need to apply it every 3-6 months to benefit from it.

If you've tried lubing the keyway and that hasn't solved the problem, it's time to pull off the door panel. Inside the door are the linkages (usually steel rods in Nissans) that control both your door handle functions and lock/unlock functions. These linkages usually move pretty easily, but if the factory lube has decayed over the years, it's best to spray any moving parts attached to these linkages with White Lithium Grease. A healthy coating won't hurt anything, but it may make a bit of a mess.

At this point, you should have eliminated most if not all the resistance from the locks. If you're still having problems, there's a good change that something inside the lock or along the linkages is bent/broken. Locks aren't hard to replace, but you should go to your local locksmith to get them as they can key the replacement cylinders to your existing key.

Happy driving.
 

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TwiztidKidd
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I used silicone grease usually used to grease up faucet stems not the kind of grease you find in CV boots or white lithium grease... those are really crappy. You find it at Home Depot in the plumbing department for $1.97.
 

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I have been told to use graphit in locks and not any "lube". I dont know if this is true, i have never had to do it.
-ben
 

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Astrin, great info! Very consistent with what my local locksmith told me. The only problem is I did not have the key code. So, removed the passenger side door panel, and I think on the lock was the proper code. I took the lock out, they got the code, new set of keys were cut, and it resolved most of the problem. I am sure there may be easier ways to get the key code, but I found out one way. :) It was also recommeded I use the Tri-Flow in all locks, and stay away from graphite. Later, I had to take a residental lock to be rebuilt, and could see why. The graphite cakes up and becomes hard, at least that is what I observed. Also, having driven several Corolla's with sticky ignitions, I have learned to keep the key chain light. A house key and car key are all I keep on the key chain that goes into the ignition to reduce problems. I learned this hard way after a $50 service call by a locksmith, when my key was stuck in my Corolla ignition.
 

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Da Dirty South
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My door locks were seized up when I purchased the car. Put in some WD-40 over a year ago. Havent had a problem yet. Although I have to use the release lever to open the rear hatch. The key won't seem to unlock it.
 

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Key Codes

On the topic of key codes...

All Nissans have the key code stamped on every lock up to the year 1993. The easiest way to get the key code is to just pull apart the glove box door and get it off that lock.

If your car was made after 1/1993, you can still take your old key to a locksmith and they can 'decode' that key. That's actually what I did on my '93 Sentra. There's only 8 cuts on the key and 4 depth possibilities per cut so it isn't brain surgery. A good locksmith can easily get it done in 15 mins but if you're pressed for time, plan for an hour just in case.
 

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Astrin, too bad you were not around when I needed a new key! My glove box does not have a lock, and the owner of the locksmith shop was having vision problems. He first tried to decode the key with no success. I was there for hours, and I felt like I could have gotten a locksmith job after that experience. The upside is the shop owner gave me a free home key that cut on a special machine that has worked great on the home locks.
 
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