Home > Fix your ride > How-to: Honda Civic Door Lock Mechanism

How-to: Honda Civic Door Lock Mechanism

March 22nd, 2010

If you find the pictures are too small, right click and download them to your computer. I’ve not yet the time to re-code the html for the neat pop-up feature because I’m lazy. They are now click-able :-p

In our previous episode, we uncovered the door panel of a Honda
Civic in order to replace a defective auto doorlock mechanism. Upon
further investigation into the root of the problem that’s inspired this
exercise, we’ve discovered that the problem is attributed to the
breakdown of a $2 DC motor component. Honda, you need to have a serious
meeting with the manufacturer of this inferior component before this
potentially cancerous trend of defective crap plagues your entire
product line. Things like this have happened before, and it can and
will happen to anyone, even Honda. Enough blabbery. For those of you
really interested in what went wrong with the auto doorlock component,

The doorlock assembly. Top portion is actual mechanism (metallic),
bottom is auto doorlock motor (black).
The white nipple structure on the doorlock motor is what actuates
the mechanism.
Note the simple gearing construction inside the auto doorlock motor
Closer view.
The $2 DC mortor burnt out, which led to my having spent $60 on this
component, which leads me to having to throw all this stuff in the
garbage, which will eventually end up in a landfill somewhere. Now,
where’s the environmentology in that? To exacerbate my frustration, the
doorlock motor on the driver’s side door also burned-out recently.
Support this amateur car repair blogger.

I sincerely hope that somebody at Honda will look into this issue and
take care of this nuisance. I’m certain that a quick database search
into the parts sold will quickly reveal the deficiency in this
department: If 500,000 Honda Civics were sold in 2001 and 6 Million Lock
Assembly (part number 72110-s5p-A22) has been purchased since, it
doesn’t take a genius to figure out what the problem may be.

This article is yet another transplant from 10-25-2007, from an older version of chisheu.com powered by Drupal®.

  1. joh
    May 24th, 2010 at 18:01 | #1

    I the link to your “How-to: Open a 2001 Honda Civic door panel” page on http://www.hondacarforum.com (via Google).

    A while back, my driver’s side power doorlock stopped working on my 2001 EX Coupe. I can still hear it clicking when trying to lock/unlock via the remote entry or power door lock switch, but it doesn’t actually lock or unlock. So I thought I would try to remove my door panel to see if it’s a loose mechanism of some sort.

    If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you a question, in the hopes that you can help me diagnose my issue before I take apart my door panel: After your door lock went out, did it still make a clicking noise when trying to actuate it? Or was it silent?


  2. Whizy
    October 6th, 2010 at 22:55 | #2

    My apology for the incredibly late reply to your question. I’ve not been checking my own blog because someone once told me that no one will ever be able to find whatever it is I’ve placed on here…. but that’s a discussion for another thread. To answer your question, when the door lock went out, there was no noise of any sort what so ever. It simply turned into a non-powered-power door lock. If there is clicking, I suspect the motor is probably still functional, but one of the connecting rods may have been dislocated. All the best… and thank for stopping by.

  3. October 30th, 2011 at 02:01 | #3


    Thanks very much for showing the ‘guts’. Apparently, after some web sleuthing, the motor in question can be replaced with a FC 280 PC/FC/PT 22125 which can be found on eBay for quite cheap.

    I have a 2003 with a dud driver’s side actuator and I’m presuming the motor is at fault. There are two types on eBay, motors with copper sleeves/collars and without? Did you manage to remove the coiled worm drive gear on the motor to see if it’s a bare shaft, and how hard was it to remove the drive gear?

    I think everyone with a Civic had to replace their driver’s side actuator ‘at least’ once and it won’t be the last. I had an Acura Integra with el-cheapo aftermarket door actuators that had constant use from arming/disarming of the starter/alarm for years on end and I never had one burn or wear out. Shame on Honda for using substandard parts… sort of like the no serviceable filter and crappy clutch packs on their automatic transmissions where the clutch disk material would plug up the oil pickup and starve the torque converter to the point of fatally overheating. Oh, and the loose Si/Ex driver seat bushings. Bah humbug, but I still love my Civic. ;p

  4. Whizy
    October 30th, 2011 at 12:38 | #4

    Thanks for the amendment to the article, CivicUnrest. I didn’t fiddle with the DC motor any further than depicted because the repair job was conducted away from my bat cave where I keep all of my tools; it was simply a swap-and-run job. Your in-depth knowledge regarding the more critical components of the Honda lineup should be brought to Honda’s attention though, either via a letter or through a more populous forum. It’s a nuisance to have door-lock-actuators fail, but it is potentially deadly to have the engine/brake/drive-train components of a vehicle fail en route. I’m certain Honda wouldn’t want to have their own version of the Prius debacle.
    With that said, there is something magical about the Honda lineup. In spite of all of the nuisance I’ve experienced and complaints I’ve made against their vehicles, I remain steadfast hypocritical in my continuous loyal purchase of both the Honda and Acura product line.

  5. CivicUnrest
    October 31st, 2011 at 03:34 | #5

    You’re welcome. I brought some pertinent details to the table because I’m soon attempting this repair, but I am curious about doing it the ‘green’ way and simply swap out motors instead as you had hinted at. Here in Canada, sources for those little motors are few and far between, but I found a place in Toronto which sells that specific motor regularly on eBay which should keep the shipping to a minimum versus getting them from the States. I think I may have found a compatible variant perusing a local surplus store website here in town, so I’ll check out that lead first.

    My initial question pertains to the opening of the actuator housing, can you please explain the steps? By looking at the photos, the housing appears to be epoxied together? This may be a possible deal breaker because I’d hate for the housing to explode within the door one day and jam up rods. I’m not very good at gluing anything together if it’s not done with super glue. Hhaha

    Oh, indeed, Honda knows all about the weak automatic transmission and did cut people a break on replacements once upon a time ago. Being that I’m likely the third owner of my Civic and sequentially warranty-less, I’m up so far up poop creek without even a bottle of Febreze. Ironically, the 5-speed standard wasn’t without defects as it had a main shaft bearing issue. The main tips to preserve the automatics are to annually drop/refill the fluid, install a transmission cooler, and surely don’t hot rod the car or use it to tow. I specifically chose the automatic because I can’t stand to shift in heavy urban traffic, so I have to be prepared to have the transmission die prematurely some day… and I sure hope I’m not on a highway or expressway sharing the lane with big trucks behind me because being in ‘D’ should never, ever be like driving in ‘N’ as such when the transmission fails. Hhaha. All in all, I also appreciate the Honda/Acura line over anything domestic because the whole ride and feel are vastly superior. If it wasn’t for that worrisome and scary transmission issue, annoyances such as weak actuators and the odd wheel bearing are far more tolerable than the endless quirks of domestic vehicles.

  6. CivicUnrest
    November 20th, 2011 at 05:56 | #6

    I tackled this project last weekend after stockpiling some used working actuator motors from Pick-n-Pull.

    Indeed the housing was epoxied together, but I started the tedious process of removing the clam shells by tapping a jeweler’s flat head screwdriver at an angle into the seam until a gap opened up where I took a butter knife to gently make my way around the seam to twist the rest of the glue seal open.

    The factory motor was a Johnson with major drag therefore no torque. I swapped it out with a Mabuchi motor from a 2002 Civic Sedan (actuator motors were different in worm gear retention design and in actuator physical design). However, I did have to modify the motor shaft as the original Johnson had a half relief cut into it, so I had to mimic the same onto the replacement Mabuchi shaft.

    Thankfully, there was a vise and a pneumatic cut off tool to use at work. I carefully buzzed/flattened through the long worm drive lock present on the Mabuchi shaft until the newly formed half crescent shaft would fit the worm drive for my actuator. It took a while, but I luckily managed to cut the shaft fairly even to accept the worm drive gear.

    I now was faced with how to secure the actuator shells together. I took a zip tie and wrapped it sideways around the actuator shell. I tested the actuator and wasn’t completely convinced the shells would stay together (I also secretly desired the housing to be somewhat sealed against the elements as well), so I dribbled a bead of crazy glue (yes, I went there) around the seam and called it good.

    I wish I took pictures, but you got it mostly covered with your posting. I would say that asides from fooling with all the rods and the like, the hardest part was getting the actuator’s actuator seated into the rest of the door mechanism. I broke the two side tabs and even the two plastic guide pins on the actuator … luckily form me that enough of the metal frame on top of the door mechanism secured the actuator. My only regret is that I didn’t wait until I ordered the right type of NEW motor online instead of going through that mess of just swapping used motors. But, hey, it works. Well, it’s dipped down to a windchill of -28 C here in the Canadian prairies and so far, the cheap-ass repaired actuator still does its job. Hhaha. Thanks again, even though you seemed to abandoned this convo… I know, life and duty calls all to often hence why I must go now. ;p

    • Whizy
      November 20th, 2011 at 21:38 | #7

      People with your perseverance (some would say stubbornness) is what makes the world a great place, Friend. Someone who solves problems not for money, or power, but just to prove a point – I think this is a truly unique human attribute. I should’ve taken the unrest portion of your handle more seriously when I first saw your handle… haha. Glad to hear that the part you’ve repaired is withstanding the arctic test; I’d hate to cruise with my windows down at -28 C. Thanks again for your continued patronage. Stay warm.

  7. Ron
    February 15th, 2012 at 18:59 | #8

    All four door locks quit working on my 2001 Honda Civic. Honda should be required to have a recall on a faulty part they put on this car.

    • Whizy
      March 4th, 2012 at 19:34 | #9

      Ouch. It is rather unusual that all four motors would crap out in unison. You may have experienced a short circuit of some sort that burned out the motors. Check to ensure that the right amperage fuse is in the fuse box for the power-door-lock. Sorry to hear about this most unfortunate turn of events. If you’re feeling adventurous, perhaps you could just change out the dc motor with the worm-screw without purchasing the entire assembly. Good luck. 🙂

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