Home > Fix your ride > How-to: Open a 2001 Honda Civic door panel

How-to: Open a 2001 Honda Civic door panel

March 21st, 2010

Below you’ll find step-by-step illustrations of how to go about
cracking open the interior door paneling for a Honda Civic. This
experiment was conducted to replace a failed auto-doorlock mechanism.

Step 1: Locate the door. Step 2: Remove the plastic covering behind the door opener.
Step 3: Remove these screws. Step 4: Remove the plastic covering in the recessed door handle
Step 5: Remove this screw. Step 6: Remove the plastic covering at the right rear-view mirror.
In retrospect, you should pry this triangular piece from the top,
instead of from the front of vehicle as illustrated.
Step 8: Remove door-handle by shifting the piece towards the front
of vehicle and prying up on the interior side. Proceed patiently and
gingerly, otherwise you’ll end up having to buy a new door panel.
Step 9: Remove the door-handle and detach the power-window harness. Step 10: Expose the main structural screws that hold the panel to
the door.
Step 11: Remove the 2 screws. Step 12: Begin prying the panel off the door starting from the
top-rear section. Gently pop-off the white plastic grommets which keep
the paneling bound to the door (see step 17 for location of white
plastic thingys).
Step 13: More white grommets (see step 17 for location of white
plastic thingys).
Step 14: Turn the blue plastic thingy counter-clockwise to release
the steel transfer bar that is attached to the door latch.
Step 15: You’ll encounter several of these types of attachment;
remember them well.
Step 16: Remove the door panel after having released all white
plastic grommets and lift. The paneling hangs on the door like a picture
Step 17: Note the location of the white plastic grommet thingys. Step 18: Tear off the caulking that attaches the plastic moisture
barrier starting at midway of the door (This may not be necessary unless
you’re replacing the door lock mechanism).
Step 19: Remove black plastic grommet towards the rear-top corner. Step 20: Continue removal of caulking until you have access to what
you need to get to(This may not be necessary unless you’re replacing the
door lock mechanism).
Step 21: Take a moment of rest and observe the tasks before you. Step 22: Note the exterior door handle and keyhole are attached to
transfer bars with plastic thingys encountered in step 14.
Step 23: Window guide track (keeps the window from falling into the
door when you roll it down.)
Step 24: unscrew the brass bolt and gently remove the guide track
from its plastic sheathing by sliding it downwards.
Step 25: Nice and easy. Slow and steady. Step 26: Take another moment to admire the genuine Honda part that I
paid too much for.
Step 27: I can’t believe they charge $60 for this $&it. Step 28: Unhook the plastic object from the transfer bar. (Remember
to do them all. There are 3 of them: the black one in the foreground,
the green one in the background, and a yellow one on the assembly that
connects to the interior door handle transfer bar.) It’ll take some
effort to remove the exterior door handle transfer bar. Take care not to
break the damn thing.
Step 29: Unhook the power-doorlock harness. unscrew and remove the
brown plastic cover that shields the door lock transfer. Snake the
neoprene coverd door lock cable through the opening, inside the the door
cavity. Unscrew the 3 giant screws that holds the door lock mechanism
to the door.
Step 30: What it should look like if you are successful with step
29. My apologies for the muddled instruction – it’s kinda hard to take
pictures when you’ve got your hands inside the door.
Step 31: Remove the lock cable (neoprene covered) from the old door
lock mechanism. I know you’ve seen this set-up somewhere before.
Step 32: Make sure the mechanism is in the unlocked setting,
otherwise, the L-hook will butt-up against the housing and get stuck.
Step 33: Note the striking similarity between the old and the new. Step 34: Install the cable onto the new assembly.
Step 35: With the exterior door lock and handle transfer bars facing
upward, proceed to reintegrate the new part.
Step 36: Integration in progress.
Step 37: Loosely attach the door lock mechanism with screws (This is
so you have room to fudge with the transfer bars.
Step 38: Attaching exterior door lock transfer bar.
Step 39: Attaching the exterior door handle transfer bar. Step 40: Exerting some gentle persuasion.
Step 41: Nothing a little brute force can’t rectify. Step 42: re-attach interior door latch transfer bar.
Step 43: How it looks out of focus. Step 44: Snake the door lock cable out of the cavity and re-install
brown cover.
Step 45: re-attach the power doorlock harness. Step 46: secure the screws holding the entire assembly.
Step 47: Re-insert window guide under the sheathing and push all the
way up.
Step 48: If the hole does not match the end of the guide, you did it
wrong. Re-work step 47 until you get it right.
Step 49: Grease all moving parts to and zinc-coat all ferrous parts
if possible. Run a bead of caulking along the edge of the moisture
Step 50: Read the disassembly instructions backwards to assemble the
parts that’s now all over the floor. Good luck.

This article is a transplant from 10-25-2007, from an older version of chisheu.com powered by Drupalร‚ยฎ.

  1. Andrew
    March 22nd, 2010 at 15:32 | #1

    Just wanted to say “Thanks!” for the step-by-step on how to replace the door lock mechanism on a 2001 Honda Civic. My car has the exact same problem and I will use your instructions to remove/replace the little plastic beast that has forced me to ‘reach across’ to unlock the passenger door so many times.

    Thanks again, great instructions and pictures!

    Phoenix, AZ

  2. Doug Smith
    April 2nd, 2010 at 17:04 | #2

    Can you help me to remove my door panel. Problem is the door is jammed shut. What do I do now?

  3. Jack
    May 15th, 2010 at 22:38 | #3

    I used this DIY to replace the drivers side actuator on an 01 Civic. Not sure I could have done it, or would have tried, without your DIY as a guide. Seriously excellent and saved me a bunch of money. It takes some searching to find, I guess because of the title, but worth it. Thanks a lot.

    North Carolina

    • Whizy
      October 7th, 2010 at 17:52 | #4

      Thanks for the kind words, friend. Your testament will help me rebut all of the nay-Sayers who told me how silly it was for me to post such esoteric information on a website that no one would ever have use for or find. From this day forth, I will check my website more often, reply more promptly to comments, and continue posting what little I know in hope of helping our fellow self-determined DIYers out there. Be well.

  4. Tim
    August 14th, 2010 at 15:21 | #5

    Thanks! This was just what I needed. You made this job so much easier than I thought it was going to be.

    • Whizy
      October 7th, 2010 at 18:35 | #6

      These are but pictures and words, friend. The difficult part requiring hands-on participation is up to the reader, who must have strong mechanical aptitude to translate these words into action. I’m glad to be of service and appreciate your encouragement. All the best.

  5. Pmac
    September 9th, 2010 at 17:52 | #7

    My keylock has fallen inside the door, so I can’t use a key from the outside to unlock my passenger door. The power locks still work and the door operates as normal. Does anyone have any idea what part I would need to replace on the inside of the door? I’m hoping its not this $60 part mentioned at the start of the article.

    • Whizy
      October 7th, 2010 at 18:17 | #8

      Hello. The keylock mechanism is depicted on step 22. I imagine the replacement part should be much more affordable and more readily available, although re-keying may be an issue. If the receiver is bent into the door, it shouldn’t be difficult to open up the paneling, remove the handles/keyhole assembly from the door, and hammering it back into shape. Best of luck with the repair. Let us know how it turns out.

  6. Ted Kerrn
    September 28th, 2010 at 13:54 | #9

    Thanks much for this info. My dealership charged me $97 to tell me I needed a new actuator, but they would have to order it. I asked how much to actually make the repair, and they said $310. I ordered the part from Majestic Honda for $60.08 delivered. The only glitch is that my arm rest assembly is different than want you showed in the photos. After much careful trial and error I figured out how to remove a trim piece from the front lower part of the arm rest to reveal two screws. After I removed these the door panel came right off. It was very helpful to have the trim panel removal tool (picked it up at Napa). The replacement of the mechanism was simple with the help of your instructions. Everything works great now! Thanks again!

    • Whizy
      October 7th, 2010 at 18:06 | #10

      The pleasure is all mine, friend. My wallet hemorrhage money terribly whenever I step foot into car dealerships, thus I try avoiding them like a plague whenever possible. Glad to hear that you’ve tackled the problem without issue… and my apologies for the outdated information: I blame the misinformation on the fact that the pictured car belonged to my gf, and that it’s been sold, and it was really cold on the day of the repair, and that it was all a conspiracy perpetrated by the dealerships. Feel free to share your repair experience/picture on our forum, and thanks again for such positive comments. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. asf
    November 1st, 2010 at 15:50 | #11

    Great tutorial, My question, if you happen to know, How did you know which locking mechanism to replace? My passenger lock is about 10% responsive from the driver side lock controls (the lock moves but just a tiny bit not enough to be functional) so I’d like to know whether the break in connection is on the driver side or the passenger side.

    Do you know the part number

    Also is it the same part to replace in both sides?

  8. December 20th, 2010 at 04:54 | #12

    Hi Whizy! Thanks very much for the detailed instructions and pictures. I had the driver’s window on my 2000 Civic pop out of the guide rail during cold weather two days ago, and thanks to your guide I was able to remove the door panel without breaking much (snapped one of those white pegs – gray in my case – gonna have to go to the junkyard to get some more) and get the window back on track. Just a note for folks with an EX-model Honda like mine: my door had three screws behind the bass speaker panel that had to be removed before the door would pop loose from the pegs. The speaker panel itself popped off fairly easily. Also, the power lock mechanism didn’t seem to be working right when I reassembled the panel – but that was because the door wasn’t closed; once I closed the door (with me inside, just in case), the lock mechanism worked as expected. Anyway, thanks a bunch for helping save me the mechanics’ fees! ๐Ÿ™‚ Cheers!

    • Whizy
      December 20th, 2010 at 23:41 | #13

      Thanks, Antigraviton. The pleasure is all mine. Words can not begin to describe the strange joy that I feel whenever people take time to respond with such fantastically positive comments. May your Honda continue to serve long and prosperous.

  9. mike
    February 10th, 2011 at 18:42 | #14

    just wanna leave a thank you…came across your instructions, needed to replace passenger side rear view mirror. the instructions turned me from novice to super-proud-of-myself-pro. thanks, worked great.

    • Whizy
      March 19th, 2011 at 19:58 | #15

      Much can be told of a person’s personality and “pro”fessionalism based on how they handle situations. I consider all those who’ve taken time to come back to my little corner of the web to leave a comment after having braved the world of DIY to be true professionals; not only in technical competence but also in courtesy and etiquette. Pay it forward, Mike. You’re a great American.

  10. March 19th, 2011 at 15:33 | #16

    This is a great DIY R/R for door panel on 2001 honda. I wish I would have found this info before damaging my door which cost a little more repair, but thanks for your time to set this up. My question is a little more difficult “I think” can we use the key lock Cylinders from the 2001 to a 2004 honda civic both dx’s?

    • Whizy
      March 19th, 2011 at 20:05 | #17

      That’s a good one. It’s been awhile but if I remember right, Honda usually change styles every four years or so, and the cluster between 2001-2004 should, in theory, be compatible. Your best bet is to probably look on the web for the part number and then match it up for compatibility. All the best to you, Friend. Thanks for the kind words. I actually feel a little “old school” because most tutorials have gone the way of youtube. Ah well. Toodles.

  11. Kevin
    April 15th, 2011 at 20:18 | #18

    How do you remove the civic dx door, with the manual window roller downer, don’t want to screw it up ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Whizy
      April 17th, 2011 at 12:06 | #19

      Hello, Kevin.

      The paneling should come off the same way as noted, with the exception of the hand-crank for the window. According to 2k2redcivic of civicforums.com, there is a cotter pin like object that keeps the crank attached to the shaft, which may be accessible only by pushing the paneling inwards. I imagine you’d have to do this before removing the panel. All the best and let us know how it turned out. Thanks for visiting.

  12. antonio
    September 19th, 2011 at 14:08 | #20

    Hey Whizy,

    This DIY on replacing the actuator is fantastic. With the help of your post I was able to replace my actuator in about 70min, which was significantly less than the 2.5hrs that the mechanic quoted me. BTW, you weren’t kidding about the exterior door handle transfer bar being difficult to remove, I think this was the most difficult part of the process. Thanks!


    • Whizy
      September 19th, 2011 at 20:52 | #21

      Hello, Antonio. Glad this ancient article could still be of use in our world of video DIY. You obviously have a strong aptitude for mechanical engineering, much more so than your Mechanic. All the best!

  13. October 30th, 2011 at 02:21 | #22

    Thanks for the photo shoot and sharing the experience (albeit negative in nature as it’s a bummer to lend time for repairing sub par items that wear out prematurely, but I digress). Videos are fine, but not practical in some cases like mine… I like to collect the relevant data (pictures and their collective text) in regards to the repair, load it all onto my mobile repair data computer (laptop) and have the data there in a click of a button without worrying about stopping/playing/rewinding/forwarding a video. Also, picture/text guides are printable. ๐Ÿ™‚

    By the way, did you use a large flat head screwdriver to remove the “the exterior door handle transfer bar” from the plastic containment lock? I guess this is the hardest step of all. Any tips for us newbs?

  14. Whizy
    October 30th, 2011 at 12:58 | #23

    With a handle like CivicUnrest and a mobile repair data computer, your noob persona is highly suspect. :-p
    Future Readers, have a large flat head screwdriver handy as recommended by CivicUnrest.
    I’m in absolute concurrence with the superiority of printability aspect of old school photo/description blogs when it comes to auto repair. Firstly, laptop screens are impossible to see outdoors. Secondly, I have a terrible memory and will screw things up without a checklist/photo reminder. Thirdly, it is much easier to throw away a piece of paper covered in grease and grime than it is to clean a laptop. Lastly, there are enough poorly produced video out there. Thanks again for your invaluable contribution, CivicUnrest. Your input updates and strengthens the legitimacy of this home-brew blog.

  15. CivicUnrest
    October 31st, 2011 at 03:06 | #24

    My former repairs were limited to a fleet of Cavaliers and other clunkers I’ve owned over the years (rhyme master. ;p) whereas the 01+ Civic is a new beast for me which rightfully defines me as a novice… well, asides from your valuable lessons of repair shown right here on your blog. My recently acquired ride is a 2003 Civic sport coupe with a few annoyances such as a dead driver’s side lock actuator. Be that as it may, I’m not missing GM at all.

    The large flat head was another picturesque tool I noticed from another repair guide along the information highway. I’m about to attempt this job soon and wish to be as fully prepared as I can be. Armed with tips from you and tidbits from others, my car will be in good, capable hands.

    Indeed I was going to print out your guides directly, but my laser printer is currently acting up and the print quality is absolutely terrible. However, I do suppose that a new toner cartridge is overdue and having a paper file is easier to follow than fooling with a laptop. Point taken and considered.

    Your knowledge is valuable to those, like myself, who don’t trust or don’t wish to support dealerships (who only care about the bottom line over customer service and quality) whenever possible. I just have to give credit where credit is due, so you’re welcome for my input, but thanks again for providing the means with your home-brewed blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Shannon
    June 14th, 2012 at 23:51 | #25

    Thanks for posting this. I’m a total car newb and your instructions helped me to confidently remove my door panel to investigate my window situation. After exploring a little, I found that it was, in fact, my regulator that’s not working properly. You’ll save me a couple hundred by allowing me to do it myself rather than paying someone to install it for me. Thanks!

    • Whizy
      June 16th, 2012 at 10:36 | #26

      All the best, Friend. Thanks for the positive words. Your encouragement keeps me coming back to my own website and helps stoke the flame of progress… sort of. It’s been much too long since my last update and with the momentum you’ve provided, I shall… soon… get back into it. There’s much fixing in this world that needs documentation. Ciao.

  17. Bill
    May 3rd, 2014 at 20:53 | #27


    I really appreciate the job you did with this DIY tutorial. I am half way home with completing a change out of the door actuator, but am having a hard time figuring out where that darn brown cover gets re-installed. I cannot for the life of me remember where it came from or figure out where it goes back to.

    I am pretty sure it goes inside the door cavity….but beyond that I am lost.

    I have everything back together and working (test run before panel install). Can you help point me in the right direction? I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the answer was right under my tired nose…LOL. I have spent the entire day on this and am mentally exhausted.


    Bill ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Randall
    November 30th, 2014 at 12:31 | #28

    Great and Informative- Thanks! That said, I ventured into the world of actuator replacement this weekend. It took one day for each door. Why, one might ask? Because the blankity-blank latch bar would not remove from the outside door handle, and despite my wrestling with it I gave up in order to Not break the door handle back plate. Thus, I had to replace each actuator, within the door, by feel, with a lot of frustration. Also, the passenger door handle latch rod locking snap broke, they are very fragile (I knew that) but it broke anyway. Both doors work fine now but I NEVER look forward to this job again, I would rather rebuilt a couple more engines first! By the way, the original actuators failed at about 160K and 190K. Thanks again for the tutorial!

  19. Jim
    August 4th, 2015 at 17:18 | #29

    Just wondering how you accomplished Step 28. I’ve unhooked the “plastic thingy” as you describe up and I’ve taken a large, flat-blade screwdriver underneath the transfer bar and I pry like heck with the screwdriver against the door frame. Everything, including the plastic plate that the transfer bar is connected into moves and I’m scared I’m going to break the plastic plate before the transfer bar disengages. I’m wondering how much force is necessary.

    Great pictorial on the process, I just need to get past Step 28 so that I can replace a broken door lock plunger.

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