View Full Version : Child Entrapment - Possible Door Lock Weakness

11-16-2015, 04:15 AM
The Fire Dept. had to open our 500L tonight. I had locked myself out of the car......with my toddler inside.

This is how it happened:
1. Wife was buying food. I sat with our 1-year-old son in the rear seat to wait. It was supposed to just be a quick pick-up, so the car was running with the heater on, recirculation disabled. Fairly cold evening by California standards, < 50F outside.
2. I reached the front console to hit the central lock button and lock the doors, thinking I could just unlock when wife returns.
3. Son became hungry. We had his snacks in the back. I opened my rear passenger door to go to the rear hatch. Just one pull of the inside door handle.
4. As I shut the rear passenger door from outside, I realised I could not longer open the door from outside. The hatch was also locked, but that was expected.
5. Called Fire Dept. and they slim-jim'd into the car and hooked onto the inside door handle to open.

Could this be a weakness in the electronic lock design? It seems that with doors locked, opening either front door from inside the car triggers a central "Unlock" of all doors.

This function does not seem to be present in the rear passenger doors. Are other cars also like this when they have the fully electronic locks, with no mechanical lock tab?

Japanese cars all have mechanical locks, and I like that. But it seems that more and more European cars are moving towards fully electronic locks (except BMW and Mercedes-Benz). So if I'm in the back seat of, say, a VW Passat or a Porsche Cayenne, and I trigger Central Lock, then exit the car from the rear seat, would I also get locked out?

Other than this our car has been nearly trouble-free for 20k miles.

I'm thinking to write to Fiat to complain about this, but wanted to hear your opinions first. We are safe and the kid is safe, and that's what matters most. Thanks in advance for your input.

11-16-2015, 05:06 AM
It's right in the manual - if the car is locked and you open either rear door, car relocks when that door is closed.
I'm not saying it makes sense, but it isn't a secret either.
I'm amazed a 500L could be slim-jimmed! Oh wait - upon a closer reading, did they manage to get it into the car interior and snag a door handle?
I believe if the car hadn't been running, all the interior handles would have been disabled as well - so-called "deadbolting."

11-16-2015, 11:04 AM
Hi superchan7,
I'm sorry to hear about this experience! As X19 stated above, this information can be found on page 23 of your owner's manual.

Auto — Relocking (Only For Rear Doors)
With the vehicle locked and all doors closed (LED ON), if a passenger opens one of the rear doors (LED OFF), as soon as the door is closed, it will be locked again (LED ON).

11-17-2015, 03:32 AM
Thanks for the replies so far. However, my 2014 User Guide does not have any of the statements you quoted.

Page 23 is a section on Electronic Speed Control (Cruise Control).

Page 9, however, does have the following statements:

"With central locking active (LED ON), in order to open one of the rear passenger doors, it is necessary pulling the internal door handle twice. With one of the rear door open (LED OFF), the unlocking is performed only for that door, not for all the vehicle.

"To unlock the front doors, pull the inside door handle to the first detent. If the rear doors are locked, you must pull the door handle once to unlock the door and pull the door handle a second time to open the door."

This sounds like how my Volkswagen's rear doors worked. This passage is contrary to the statements above and contrary to how our car behaves. Only one pull from the inside rear door handle opens the locked rear door, but once shut the door is locked again and cannot be opened from outside.

Is my version of the User Guide out of date? It has a ton of other typos, incorrect references and incorrect page numbers.

11-17-2015, 08:49 AM
It sounds like they are talking about page 23 in the owners manual and not the user guide. Check it out. There is a link on the Fiat USA website where you can download the latest versions of manuals. It is all the way at the bottom of the page.

11-17-2015, 09:35 AM
The owner's manual can be downloaded here: http://www.fiatusa.com/en/owners/manuals/