Car Care Tips

3 Main Types of Car Locks

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Cars are a huge investment and people often try to figure out how much they should spend on their car, their resale value and the cost of car maintenance. That is why car security features have gradually become more sophisticated to protect these valuable vehicles and their contents. Here is a run down of the main types of car locks.

Manual Lock Cylinders

key type car lock

The most basic of car door lock is still around, especially in older models. It involves a standard lock locked and unlocked with a key. These locks are still solid choices for most situations, though they may not have much in the way of newer security features.

The locking mechanism itself is a push/pull lever or pin system on the inside of the door. In a strictly manual system, each door must be manually unlocked, with only the driver’s door unlockable from the outside, while the rest must be unlocked from inside the car. This system is simple, low-maintenance, and lasts the life time of the car. This simplicity also means that the locks can be easily defeated by thieves.

In the event of an accident, the door can be easily opened, provided the lock itself is undamaged. The door can also be unlocked when the car is submerged in an accident involving water.

The keys themselves are inexpensive to fix or change when compared to other options. You can also get a spare key much quicker. This also means it can be easily copied, so be careful with who you duplicate your keys with.

Automatic Locks with Keys

electronic key

Many newer models come equipped with electronic locks. They work with an electronic key that can operate the locks. Some require turning the key while others only a push of a button. These are much more efficient than the standard key lock and also make the car more difficult to break into.

With an electronic key and lock, however, replacement keys are much more expensive, as they have to be coded for your exact car. This also means that the key cannot simply be copied by anyone except the manufacturer.

Opening doors can be more convenient, as you can open the door by just pressing the correct button on the fob. Do be careful to not press the alarm button instead!

Automatic Locks with Fobs

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These types of car locks eliminate the need for a key altogether. They work with a keypad that is attached to the door or a key fob that detects the lock and operates it based on your needs. The fob option is especially present in the newest car models, while the keypad is a little older. These types of key and lock combos can be especially handy, as it is very difficult to break into a car equipped with these locks as there usually is no key to copy.


If the fob’s battery were to die, or if some other malfunction causes it to keep your car door locked, some fobs have keys inside that you can use to unlock the door with. A useful precaution to be sure! You cannot start the car with just the key, however as there are lock systems that do not allow the car to start without the key fob being within a few metres of the vehicle. The drawback for this style relates to cost, as replacements are not cheap. The added security can be worth it, however, to keep you and your possessions safe and sound. 

Unlike the previous two lock types, opening the car door can be as simple touching the door handle. This means that if your hands are full, you can still unlock the car door with just a touch, provided you have the fob on you.


In terms of convenience, automatic locks are definitely better. They are also make opening and closing a door quick and easy. However, if you lose you key or want to get a copy, it could be expensive. Manual locks on the other hand, are easier to break into but are safer in case of an accident.

If you are looking to buy a second hand car in Malaysia, myTukar is the place for you! Our used cars are thoroughly inspected for safety and security!

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