Power door locks (also known as electric door locks or central locking) allow the driver or front passenger to simultaneously lock or unlock all the doors of an automobile or truck, by pressing a button or flipping a switch.
Power door locks were introduced on the luxury Scripps-Booth in 1914, but were not common on luxury cars until Packard reintroduced them in 1956. Nearly every car model today offers this feature as at least optional equipment.
It is also common on modern cars for the locks to activate automatically when the car is put into gear or reaches a certain speed. Automatic unlocking when the car is parked is usually also featured on such systems.
Remote and handsfreeEdit
Today, many cars with power door locks also have a radio frequency remote keyless system, which allows a person to press a button on a remote control key fob. In 1985, the Ford cars and trucks could be accessed by entering a numeric combination on a external keypad to unlock the car without using a key. During approximately the same time, the Nissan Maxima could also be installed with a keypad, that would retract the windows and moonroof once the car was successfully unlocked by pushing a specific button on the keypad. Currently, many luxury makers also allow the windows to be opened or closed by pressing and holding a button on the remote control key fob, or by inserting the ignition key and holding it in the lock or unlock position in the external driver's door lock. During the early 1990s, Subaru offered infra-red keyless entry on the Japanese Domestic Market Legacy, installing the transmitter in the ignition key. The Legacy could also be opened by pulling the drivers external door handle a specific number of times to enter a passcode number that would unlock the driver's door only.
This system confirms successful (un-)locking through either a light or a horn signal, and usually offers an option to switch easily between these two variants. Both provide almost the same functionality, though light signals are more discreet while horn signals might create a nuisance in residential neighborhoods and other busy parking areas (e.g. short-term parking lots). Some manufacturers offer the ability to adjust the horn signal volume.
Other cars have a proximity system that is triggered if a keylike transducer (Advanced Key or handsfree) is within a certain distance of the car.