(MCT) -- QUESTION: I was shocked to see a news broadcast of a man whose car caught fire and he couldn't get out because the electric door locks were inoperative. He was saved because someone was able to bend the top of the door and break the glass to pull him out. This seems to be a big problem in some modern cars. I was recently at a Chevrolet dealership that had a 1-year-old Corvette convertible in the showroom. It was locked but the top was down so I attempted to pull the door lock knob up to get in. No luck. I didn't have the key fob. I also read about some cars that can only be opened by finding some elusive handle to manually open a door when the car has an electrical failure. I find it hard to believe that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would allow cars to be manufactured this way. I own a 2005 Buick LeSabre and a 2010 F-150. Both have electric locks. Should I be concerned about these two vehicles?
ANSWER: The C6 Corvette you mentioned - I have one - has electrically operated door unlatch mechanisms that are operated by electric buttons on the inside and outside of the door and the BCM (body control module). Your two vehicles have electrically operated door latches operated by the keyless entry fob and the BCM, but also have mechanical unlatch mechanisms on the inside and outside of the doors.
The Corvette has no door-mounted mechanical release levers or buttons. Instead, it has a manual door unlatch mechanism that mechanically unlatches the door latch via a cable inside the door and a lever located on the floor between the seat and door. Pulling up on this lever unlatches and opens the door.
If some type of complete electrical failure disabled both your remote keyless entry fob and the electrical door lock switches on your door, you would open the door by manually unlocking it, then pulling the mechanical release handle on the door itself.