How to Install New Car Door Locks

Lead Image
  • 1-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 15-100
What You'll Need
New lock

Car door locks do eventually wear out and need to be replaced. The locks on the driver’s door will almost certainly go first as it’s subject to so much more wear and tear. Replacing car door locks is a very easy procedure. You don’t even need any experience working on cars to do it.

Step 1 - Accessing the Lock

The car door locks need to be accessed from inside the car door. To do this, begin by taking off the arm rests and the covers of any speakers that are in the door. These will all unscrew. Having completed this, the next step is to remove the door panel itself. It usually clips into place, being held on by plastic clips. Do this very carefully as it’s easy to break the plastic clips.

The handle for the door will be held in place initially by screws, Remove these and place them where you can find them again. Now you’ll need a pair of pliers to take out the clip that keeps the door handle in position. Pop it out and then twist it. This will release the interior door handle, which will then swing free. Pull out the door panel to give you free access to the lock and its mechanism.

Step 2 - Removing the Old Lock

There is a lock core, which is the part that has to be replaced, and a rod. Start by disconnecting the rod from the car door locks. Two bolts will hold the assembly for the door handle in place. Remove these with a pair of pliers, but before you take them off mark their position on the rod in the door. After this, open the clip holding the handle in place and take out the door handle.

Step 3 - New Lock

A snap ring will hold the old car door locks in place. Take out the clip to release the old lock and remove. Slide the new car door locks into place, ensuring they’re in the correct position and then put the clip back on and the snap ring. This will hold the new car door locks in place.

Step 4 - Reassembly

Put the outside door handle back in place and then secure the clip to hold it. You might need pliers to reinstall it, then replace the bolts, tightening them fully. Test the door handle to ensure it moves freely with the rod. With this done, reconnect the rod to the new car door locks. Turn the key in the lock to ensure to movers the rod smoothly. If it seems slowly, use a drop of oil.

Put the inside door handle back in its proper place and secure it with the plastic clip, then with the screwdriver on the handle. Test it to make sure it works properly. Finally slip the door panel back on to its clips, pushing each one down hard until the panel is completely back in the door. Screw the speaker covers and arm rest back into place. Repeat the procedure for the other car door locks.