Smart Door Handles
Smart door handles are part of the passive entry system on the Dodge Journey. The door handles look like most other door handles, but in addition to conventional mechanical parts, they contain electronics. These special handles are located on the driver front door and the passenger front door. The smart door handle can be identified by the lock switch located on the outward side of the grip. A special coating on the inside surface of the door handle grip senses when a hand is placed on the handle. Also, a hall-effect-type switch and integrated circuit are inside the handle, near the handle base.
When the driver puts a hand on the inside of the door handle (touching the handle itself is not needed), electronics built into the smart door handle send a signal to the radio frequency (RF) HUB. The RF HUB then uses all of the vehicle’s antennas to communicate with the key fob. Once the fob is located, the RF HUB validates that it is a programmed key fob for the vehicle. This process is referred to as “FOB Authentication.”
Once the key fob is authenticated, the RF HUB sends a request to the body control module (BCM) to unlock the affected door. Once the door is unlocked, the driver is then able to continue to pull the door handle open normally. This process of opening the vehicle without using the key or fob is referred to as “passive entry.” This all happens in a matter of milliseconds and is not noticeable to the driver.
The lock switch on the outside of the door handle allows the driver to lock the vehicle’s doors using this switch if they desire. It is simply another method of locking the door; in this case, using the smart door handle. It is important to note that this switch only provides lock functions – it will not unlock the door. The traditional power lock switches are located inside the vehicle as well.
Testing and diagnosing this system is done with a compatible scan tool. Diagnostic trouble codes can be found by accessing the RF HUB. A function in the scan tool called the door handle verification test verifies communication between the smart handle and the RF HUB.
If you have any questions when working on this system, give us a call.
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