Ridin' Dirty
July 5, 2011 6:17 AM   Subscribe

The lock on the rear, passenger-side door on my 99 Honda Civic is broken. Can I fix it myself?

That door lock has been acting up for a while. When I would try to unlock all the doors using the power lock switch on the driver door, the rear, passenger-side door would only unlock about 50% of the time.

A few days back, I came down to my car to find that somebody had gotten in and rifled through the glove box and stolen some stuff. Now, the door in question won't lock at all -- that is, I can push the little latch down, but the door is still unlocked.

I'm not mechanically-inclined in any significant way, and I imagine fixing this would involve dismantling the car door (which I'm not dumb enough to try myself). Still, I was curious about what insight the hive mind might have. Thanks!
posted by HeroZero to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total)
If you're asking whether there's some magic fluid that can be squirted into the lock to fix it, the answer will be no.

It sounds like some part of the linkage between the lock button and the latch itself is broken. Getting access to it will mean removing the interior door panel, looking around in a cramped space with a flashlight, wrapping your head around how the mechanism is supposed to work, finding the broken part(s), obtaining and installing the replacement part(s), and putting the interior panel back together. It's not super-complex, but it will require some tools and aptitude.
posted by jon1270 at 6:27 AM on July 5, 2011

jon1270 is completely correct.

I have a 2001 Dodge Grand caravan where some of the power-locks failed, and I had to jump through those steps, more or less. The hardest part is getting the door panels off. What I mean is that none of this is difficult in and of itself, but prying the panel off "feels" scary if you've never done it before. Head over to your local Harbor Freight and get their soft plastic tools for this purpose. The panels essentially are held onto the metal door with plastic clips, which on my car, weren't damaged in the process.

Finding parts can be a little tricky, but maybe not as much for a Honda.
posted by Wild_Eep at 7:54 AM on July 5, 2011

Based on my experience with a 99 CRV, the power lock part of your problem is probably that door's actuator, which needs to be replaced. It shouldn't be too costly (<$100) and isn't too involved, but if you're not mechanically inclined, then best left to a mechanic. I'd also leave open the possibility that there's a wiring issue to the master power lock at the driver's door. Thirding that jon1270 is right that you'll need to open up the door panel to figure out what's going on with the linkage as there are potentially several fail points in the system.
posted by pappy at 9:02 AM on July 5, 2011

I think your instincts are sound: I really wouldn't take apart the door if I were you. The panels are held on with little plastic barbs that will deform when you take the door apart. They'll never go back quite right. Perhaps you could replace them, but the whole thing will be a pain in the butt. And then there's all the other stuff to break once you get inside.

I speak from some experience; I had '99 Honda Civic, and the windows wouldn't roll down. I tried to fix them and regretted it for years.

That said, you know, if you want to learn how to fix things, I found that car to be reasonably easy to fix, and most automotive repairs aren't repairs at all; they're replacements. The tricky part is diagnosing the broken part. Replacing the parts is, if you ask me, usually pretty simple. But maybe you shouldn't start with the door, unless your limited means compel you to.
posted by bexpert at 10:36 AM on July 5, 2011

Thanks for the advice. Taking it to the shop. If you come across some of that magical fluid, please memail me.
posted by HeroZero at 1:43 PM on July 6, 2011

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