How to Change Your Car Door Locks

  • 2-8 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 15-100
What You'll Need
New car door lock assembly
Phillips screwdriver
Common screwdriver
Needle-nose pliers
Common pliers

When you are changing your car door locks, it is a good idea to change all of the locks at the same time even though only one might be broken or not working properly. Door locks are fairly similar in most vehicles. Check you owner's manual for the specifications on the door locks to your vehicle.

Step One – Closing the Window

Ensure that the car door window is in the fully closed position.

Step Two – Removing the Manual Window Handle

If your car has a manual window handle, you will need to remove it. Use your screwdriver to unscrew the handle to remove it from the regulator shaft.

Step Three – Removing the Door Screws

Open the car door and locate the screws on the around the perimeter of the inside of the driver door panel. Use the Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws. Locate the screws inside the armrest. Remove those screws as well. Find the cover inside the armrest and remove it and the speakers in the door. Finally, remove the two screws inside the armrest. As you are removing pieces, be careful not to break any of the plastic clips that are securing parts to the door.

Step Four – Removing the Door Panel

Gently pry off the door panel from the door with the common screwdriver. There is a moisture shield behind the door panel. Remove it so that you can see the parts inside the door.

Step Five – Disconnecting the Electrical Connections

The electrical connections for the window and door lock switches must be disconnected along with the lower marker light connection.

Step Six – Removing the Old Door Lock

Make sure the window is closed completely so that it is possible to view the rod from the door lock to the latch. Use the needle nose pliers to disconnect the door latch from the door lock rod.

Step Seven – Transferring the Rod Holder

Use the common pliers to lift and remove the C-spring clip, releasing the door lock. Take out the door lock through the front of the car door. Put the rod holder at the end of the door lock you are removing onto the new lock. Be sure it is in the same position.

Step Eight - Installing the New Door Lock

Put the new door lock in through the front of the door. Using the pliers, push down the C-spring lock over the top of the new lock. Make sure that it is secured tightly. Put the door lock rod into the door latch. Carefully snap the plastic retainer clip into place.

Step Seven – Replacing the Door Panel

Replace the moisture shield. Put the door panel back into position. Replace the armrest screws, the armrest cover, any door speakers you may have had to remove and the screws around the inside of the driver door panel.