Important Safety Question

Do your car doors unlock
when you shift into Park?



By Jim Murphy

If you don’t know the answer, you may want to check right now.

I did recently one night in West Philadelphia.

To my surprise – after driving – the doors on my 2012 Honda Fit unlocked automatically as soon as I placed it in Park. So all the time I waited near 10:30 p.m. to pick up a visitor from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania,  my four doors had been unlocked.

And all the times I’ve waited in center city  near Market Street to pick up my wife when she worked late, I was vulnerable without even knowing it.

If you are equally unaware of this auto-locking feature when you shift into Park – you or your husband or wife or children may also be at risk. And it’s difficult to estimate how many cars have this “convenience” feature.

Suit calls it a “design flaw”

A female real estate agent in North Philadelphia learned the hard way about auto-unlock in July 2014. After putting her 2005 Toyota 4Runner in Park, the doors unlocked and two men jumped in. The woman was then carjacked, kidnapped and sexually assaulted.

But it gets even worse.

Fifteen minutes later, the carjackers crashed the 4Runner into a fruit stand, killing a mother and three children.

In June 2016, the real estate agent sued Toyota over its “design flaw.”

Online questions about auto-unlock seem to focus on whether it’s more convenient to have one door unlock when you shift into Park … or all of them.

I don’t want my car to unlock my doors – I want to do that myself

Cars appear to have an override for this feature, But for now, at least until I learn how to change the auto-unlock feature,  as soon as I go into Park, I re-lock my doors. 

I believe many of the younger people know about this feature. But I didn’t. And I don’t believe I’m alone in this.

So, I’m passing on this information about auto-unlock in case it helps you. Feel free to do the same. I think it’s an important family safety issue. Forewarned is forearmed.



Jim Murphy is a direct marketing copywriter who has run his own
consulting business since 2004. For nine years, he wrote and
edited “Choices,” an award-winning credit union magazine
with a circulation of 80,000. He also is a certified member of the
Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides.

Any comments made are Jim’s opinion, and not necessarily
those of the Old Pine Community Center.

Our awesome programs are only possible with your generous help!