Intermittent No Lock Or Unlock of Niro's Doors - Kia Niro Forum
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 38
Intermittent No Lock Or Unlock of Niro's Doors

Hi all. We've owned our Niro for about 15 months now and it has generally been a great vehicle!

However, a couple days ago my wife called and said she was locked out the Niro. SO first let me get a couple obvious things out the way. She only had ONE keyfob with her as the other was still at home, AND the vehicle was not left running, and all doors and the tailgate were closed.

She said the first symptom was that the car wouldn't lock with either the button on the exterior door handle (either side) or the keyfob. She actually thought she might have failed to "Shut the Niro off" before getting out so she got back in to verify that. She then told me that the keyfob would cause the exterior mirrors to fold in/out but the doors wouldn't lock. Finally, she used the interior Door Lock switch and that DID lock the car so she went about her business. When she came back to the car about a half hour later, it would not Unlock, either with the Fob or the Button on the door. Neither did the mirrors unfold. At this point I was wondering if the 12 Volt Battery Reset switch needed to be tried. I told her to use the actual key in the Fob to try and unlock the door manually. That was successful. I kept her on the phone as she drove home and the Niro completed the trip with no issues. When she got home, all locks appeared to work O.K. with either the Fob or the exterior door switch.
I suspected the battery might be dying in her Fob, so since I was scheduled to get snow tires put on in a couple days anyway, I'd get them to replace the battery.
Everything was fine the next day. Yeah!
Yesterday when I went to take the car in for the tire swap, the doors would not unlock with either her Fob or mine, from about 15 feet away. Hmmm! What are the chances of BOTH Key Fob batteries dying at the same time? When I got right beside the car, the mirrors DID unfold and the vehicle unlocked with the exterior button on the door handle. I stopped at McDonalds's for breakfast on the way to the tire swap and managed to Flash the Lights and lock the doors from about 40 feet away with the Fob. A half hour later when I came out, the doors would not unlock and there were no "Lights Flashing" from about 20 feet away. Again when I got right beside the car, the mirrors unfolded (as is normal) and the doors unlocked with the push button on the door handle.
I explained the issue to the dealership after arrival and of course everything worked properly there, from significant distances. They asked how far away from the car I store the keys at night. I said about 20 feet. They suggested storing them much further away as there is "supposedly" constant communication going on between the car and the Fobs when within a certain range and that COULD drain the Fob batteries. I'm doubtful this is true without any buttons being pushed on the Fob BUT who am I to argue? Obviously, there IS communication going on when I get right beside the car since the mirrors unfold without pushing any buttons. At any rate, they replaced the batteries in both Fobs. Of course, all was O.K. until several hours later when we went to go out for dinner. Neither Fob would flash any lights or unfold the mirrors or unlock the doors. HOWEVER, pressing the Lock button on the Fobs did cause the exterior amber lights to flash. I then pressed the unlock button on BOTH Fobs and nothing. Hit Lock again and the lights flashed. Hit Unlock and nothing. THEN I hit the Lock button twice in succession, followed by a press of the Unlock button and presto. Lights flashed, mirrors unfolded, and the Niro was Open.
Obviously there is something wrong within the Niro itself, NOT anything to do with the Fobs. For now I've disabled the Folding Mirror Function, with the switch on the driver's door inside, and we'll see if anything changes.

IF anyone else has experienced this bizarre behavior and found a satisfactory remedy, I'd appreciate any feedback.
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old Today, 01:04 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Murrieta, CA
Posts: 358
You covered almost all of the bases that I could think of, and you and your wife are obviously very well informed about the car's technological aspects.

Bravo for you: you knew about and managed to talk your wife through the process of using the mechanical key, and she got home safely.

Bummer for all: that this issue even came up.

Kind of a long shot, but maybe the batteries that the dealer provided are lame too. It would help if you had a digital multimeter that you could use to test the batteries from the key fobs and report their actual voltage.

Except... that even without the key fob, I hope the way this works is that the door locks respond to the interior lock buttons. Imagine: you left your teenage child in the car while you went into the grocery store for a few things, some creepy person comes around and your child tries to lock up the car by hitting the door lock button on either of the front door interior switch arrays. That should always work, regardless of whether a key fob is present or not. (Not that I've tested this, but that's the way it really should work in my opinion and experience).

Here's a second long-shot idea: maybe the misbehavior is due to a door that is not registering as completely closed. Don't necessarily assume that just because it doesn't show up on the console as an unlatched door, that the computer isn't seeing it as an unlatched door. I think there might be a TSB for certain models/production dates with respect to the rear hatch latch logic. So maybe try this experiment: when the locking logic seems to be working correctly in all respect, open a door (maybe especially the rear hatch), and then gently latch it, so that it's obviously only half-way latched and not fully closed (so that it still sticks out a small bit from the surrounding body panels). Then try the key fob and the door button to see if the behavior is similar to your previous experience. If you think that the computer sensing a door as incompletely latched might explain the behavior, you can probably find the TSB about the rear hatch on the NHTSA web site, or I could look for it again if you can't find it.

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