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2006 DTS
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83 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Silly question that hasn't ever happened to me (yet), but I was just curious if the battery were to go completely dead with all the doors locked, how would you be able to get into the car to replace the battery? With only the one door lock, which seems to be totally electrically operated, what are you supposed to do to get into the car should the battery fail? I'm thinking about replacing the car battery even though its only 4 years old, and it occurred to me that I hadn't really thought about how you would go about it if the battery were to die. Surely they don't expect you to have to call a locksmith, but the lock doesn't really seem to be connected to a locking rod or anything. Just curious what the process would be if that should ever happen?
 

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2007 DTS Platinum - 2009 Escalade EXT AWD
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35 Posts
Use your key to manually unlock the drivers side door, as you would with any other car.
 

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2006 DTS
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83 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
It isn't addressed in the owners manual, but thanks for that helpful hint. And the key doesn't turn anything but an electrical switch, so what good will that do with a dead battery?
 

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2006 DTS Performance
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269 Posts
It isn't addressed in the owners manual, but thanks for that helpful hint. And the key doesn't turn anything but an electrical switch, so what good will that do with a dead battery?
The key will unlock the driver’s door manually.
No batteries needed.
 

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2006 DTS
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83 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
So mine must be broken or something. I went out just now out of curiosity, disconnected the door lock fuse and then (with windows down) tried unlocking the car. The key does nothing but turn quietly back and forth but nothing unlocks or locks. It doesn't even feel like there is a physical linkage connection to anything inside. That's the main reason it came to mind about the car battery because ever since Ive owned the car when unlocking with the key it has never felt like anything inside other than an electric switch not like a traditional linkage car lock feels. After putting the fuse back in the electronic lock portion works again, but I still feel no physical linkage.
 

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2006 DTS
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83 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Looking at the parts diagram it does seem there is a linkage rod connecting to the keyed lock mechanism, so must be something physically wrong with the lock itself where the rod must be pushing the switch plunger down to the electrical contacts but not actually unlocking the mechanism therefore causing me not to feel any physical resistance and not unlocking the door mechanically. Ugh. Something else to fix someday. Guess I better replace the battery before it fails otherwise I'll be locked out of the car. I was reading on other sites where this must be fairly common as people have shown how to use a wire hanger to pop the hood latch from behind the grille to get access to the power post to jump the car to electrically open the doors when their key doesn't do anything.
 

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STS-V, DTS-L
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5 Posts
I had the battery go completely dead on my 2008 DTS-L and can confirm (for 2008 limousines at least) that the drivers door key cylinder is just an electrical switch that connects to the DDM (Drivers Door Module). Volume 2 section 4 of the 2008 FSM covers the lock operation. The linkage rod is part of the handle mechanism not the key cylinder mechanism.

The DTS has a power management scheme that tries to keep the system voltage from getting too low for basic functions but if this does happen you will be on the outside looking in if the doors were locked when power was lost. We had to go through the grille with a long screw driver and pop the hood lock.
 

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2006 DTS
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83 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thanks BJM. After looking at the parts diagram later this afternoon I think you're right, that extra rod is for the outside handle and not for the key cylinder. There are also older posts on this forum about people with dead batteries not being able to get into their DTS's except going in through the grille with a stiff wire that I found with further searching. So...guess keeping the battery in top shape is a must given I live in NYC and always park on the street and keep the car locked. Who at GM ever thought this was a good idea should be fired.
 

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2006 DTS
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366 Posts
My gosh. is it true thellmer?

I always thought that the driver door can be opened with a key even if the battery is dead.

Can someone else verify this? How about Cadillac Customer Services?
 

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2006 DTS
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83 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Yeah would be nice for someone else to actually try what I did (with your windows down just in case!) After all the other prior responses I assumed maybe I had a defective manual lock mechanism or disconnected rod, but then BJM chimed in and I took another look at the diagram and actual used pieces for sale on eBay and I think the extra rod is for the handle and not the key cylinder. I took out the electric door lock fuse then manually locked the doors and the key does nothing at all - quietly and easily turns back and forth but nothing unlocks. With the fuse back in, the electric lock works with the key as usual, which would be handy should the remote fob battery fail, but would be useless if the actual car battery fails. Perhaps some other industrious person could try theirs with either the battery disconnected or the fuse pulled to verify that either my key lock mechanism is broken or else that's how it's supposed to work (which would be idiotic in my opinion).
 

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2011 DTS Platinum
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4,633 Posts
I have not tried unlocking or locking the doors with the battery disconnected, but "I" think it is a switch, because you can unlock ALL the doors by turning the key to UNLOCK twice...
 

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2006 DTS Performance
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269 Posts
See my post above - #5.

I don’t know how it is supposed to work, but on my 2006, the battery has completely been drained sever times last winter after setting for two or three weeks. The clock even stopped, so I believe the battery was fully drained.

I opened the driver door each time with the key and got a jump.

Check with your dealer and see what they say.
 

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STS-V, DTS-L
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5 Posts
Check your battery voltage the next time this happens. The DTS and most modern vehicles use power management schemes that shed loads in an organized manner as the battery voltage drops. The goal of these schemes is to keep the most critical functions available as long as possible.
 

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2008 DTS
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107 Posts
what if your in the car and the battery dies. how will you then get out? The door is electrically operated. EG if your in an accident and the power goes out.
 

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STS-V, DTS-L
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Be aware there are some vehicles that use electronic switches for all door functions...they come with hidden mechanical releases for situations when power is lost and someone is inside. The DTS is not one of them so do as Superjim says and pull up on the lock switch and open door normally to get out.
 

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07 DTS LUX II
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2 Posts
This happened to the former owner of my car and he called OnStar and they unlocked the car for him. He was not a subscriber at the time. He told me to always have the number with me. It's in my cell. (888) 466-7827
 
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