8 Common Honda CR-V Locking Problems (Solved & Explained)

The Honda CR-V is one of the most popular and successful compact SUVs in history.

While it’s both practical and reliable, it can suffer from door locking issues from time to time.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most common locking problems owners have reported and look at ways to fix them.

1. Honda CR-V Unlocking Itself

Many Honda CR-Vs have issues with one or more of their doors unlocking on their own.

In a lot of cases, the doors automatically unlock as soon as you lock them whether the engine is running or not, so people can easily open the doors while the vehicle is parked.

The car will keep trying to re-lock the doors as soon as you go over 10 mph because the Body Control Module keeps seeing that one of the doors is unlocked.

This occurs more often in the 2007 to 2009 model years of the Honda CR-V which actually have a recall and warranty extension for the door lock actuator. 

It can also happen to other model years starting with the second generation CR-V onwards because these have door locks that can be automatically triggered by vehicle speed or after shifting out of Park.

Here’s one owner’s description of the problem on CRVOwnersClub.com

“I have a 2017 CRV. Whenever I accelerate over 10mph my doors click as if they are trying to relock. It’s really annoying in stop and go traffic.”

Fortunately, this issue can easily be fixed by replacing the door lock actuator which isn’t too expensive. You might have to replace more than one actuator, or in some cases, all four, which can take some time.

It’s also possible that you’re inadvertently hitting the unlock button on the key fob while it’s in your pockets or bag.

2. Honda CR-V Keeps Locking Itself

The CR-V can automatically lock the doors every time you shift out of Park or go over a certain speed.

This feature has been available on the CR-V since its second generation model. In modern CR-Vs, it can be disabled/enabled by going into the vehicle settings.

In older CR-V’s, you’ll need to program it manually.

To disable all the auto door locks:

  1. Make sure you’re in ‘Park’.
  2. Turn the key to the ‘On’ position.
  3. Hold down the front switch of the master door lock on the driver’s door for 5 seconds or until you hear a click.
  4. Release the switch, wait a few seconds, then turn the key to ‘Lock’ position.

To disable the auto locks when shifting out of Park:

  1. Make sure you’re in ‘Park’.
  2. Turn the key to the ‘On’ position.
  3. Hold down the front switch of the master door lock on the driver’s door for 5 seconds or until you hear a click. Keep holding it down until it clicks again.
  4. Release the switch, wait a few seconds, then turn the key to ‘Lock’ position.

To disable the auto lock by vehicle speed:

  1. Make sure you’re in ‘Park’.
  2. Turn the key to the ‘On’ position.
  3. Hold down the brake pedal and shift out of Park.
  4. Hold down the front switch of the master door lock on the driver’s door for 5 seconds or until you hear a click. Keep holding it down until it clicks again.
  5. Release the switch, and within 5 seconds, turn the key to the ‘Accessory’ position.
  6. Shift into Park.
  7. Wait a few seconds then turn the key to ‘Lock’ position.

Newer CR-Vs also lock the doors automatically if you unlock it with a key fob and none of the doors are opened in 30 seconds, but this doesn’t include the tailgate. If you unlock the doors and someone opens the tailgate, the doors will lock again after some time.

If the doors are still locking themselves after disabling the auto lock feature, it could be caused by:

  • Defective door lock actuator
  • Key fob issues
  • Faulty wiring harness
  • Defective tailgate switch
  • Issues with aftermarket alarms

3.Honda CR-V Not Locking With Key Fob

Some CR-Vs have door locking issues when the key fob is used. 

Here’s how one owner described their experience:

“I have a 2009 Honda CRV EXL model. I can’t understand that sometimes my key fob works always on unlocking the car, but lately my fob won’t lock my car. Have to do it with the key. Then in a couple of days it starts working and locks my car.”

This could be caused by a faulty door or tailgate switch. Some model years of the CR-V have a history of tailgate switches going bad over time. These switches tell the car if the door is closed or not. If it detects that one of the doors or the tailgate is still open, it won’t let you lock all the doors using the key fob.

Although there should be a warning on the dash if any of the doors are still open, a faulty switch might cause it to not light up properly.

You’ll also want to check for broken, disconnected or frayed wires in the wiring harness under the door panels and going into the body. The part where the wiring harness goes into the door gets stressed repeatedly and can deteriorate over time. Trace the wiring back to the Body Control Module or fuse box and inspect for possible issues.

It’s also possible that your key fob is not working properly. The lock button may have worn out over time or the key might have to be reprogrammed.

Related: Honda CR-V Walk Away Auto Lock Not Working? (13 Solutions)

4. Honda CR-V Not Unlocking With Key Fob

If you’re unable to unlock your Honda CR-V using the key fob, try holding down the unlock button for a few seconds. Otherwise, the car’s 12-volt battery or the key fob battery itself might be weak.

In older CR-Vs, you can simply unlock the car using the physical key, but this may not be as obvious in newer cars. 

Newer CRVs that have a smart key still have an emergency key hidden inside the fob. There should be a switch on the fob that you can press so you can get the key out from the top. To start the car, place the key fob right next to the start/stop button and push the button down.

Before the key fob battery goes completely dead, you should get a warning on the dash that the battery is low. But this doesn’t work all the time so you might still get caught out with a dead battery.

The Honda CR-V’s key fob uses CR2032 size coin batteries which you can easily find online or at any parts/electronics store.

You can access the key fob battery by pushing the button or switch that takes out the emergency key. Once the emergency key is out, you should be able to easily separate the two halves of the key fob housing.

Honda CR-Vs might also have unlocking issues using the key fob if it’s left running while locked. In such cases, just restart the car using the start/stop button or the key. 

If it’s only one of the doors that doesn’t unlock, then you might have a bad door lock actuator or a wiring issue.

In CR-V’s equipped with a smart entry system, you can program the doors to unlock just the driver’s side or all the doors when touching the door handle by going into the vehicle’s settings. Each key fob has its own settings, so you’ll want to program both fobs to do the same thing.

5. Honda CR-V Door Not Locking

If your Honda CR-V door locks don’t work at all, you might have an issue with the door lock actuator or the locking mechanism.

Before you take off the door panel though, check if you can lock the car using either the key, the door switch or the fob. If only one of these methods doesn’t work, just focus on troubleshooting that first. 

Here is how one owner described their experience:

“I just bought an 04. Driver’s lock doesn’t work. You can manually lock it if the door’s closed or if you pull out the outside handle then press the manual lock. Electronic switch doesn’t lock it. Other door locks work fine. Key fob doesn’t do anything for any door, battery is good.” 

The key cylinder can go bad over time which would prevent you from locking the door using the key. If you can still lock the door using the key, it might just be the door actuator that needs to be replaced. If the door switch doesn’t work, the switch itself or its wiring might be bad. 

Signs of a bad door actuator include:

  • Strange electric motor noises
  • Keeps unlocking on its own
  • Becomes harder to move by hand
  • Door doesn’t latch closed properly

Over time, the locking mechanism’s linkages can also get caught on something or just get disconnected, which would prevent the door from locking properly. Once you take off the door panel, check if the locking mechanism still works smoothly.

Door locking issues can also be caused by a faulty BCM (Body Control Module) or what Honda calls a MICU (Multiplex Integrated Control Unit). The BCM controls the car’s electrical accessories and can cause strange electrical gremlins if it’s shorted. Your dealer or mechanic should be able to diagnose this properly.

Related: Honda CR-V Beeping Problems? (7 Causes & Solutions)

6. Honda CR-V Tailgate Not Locking

If you’re having issues locking your Honda CR-V’s rear tailgate, it’s usually caused by a faulty tailgate switch.

The second generation Honda CR-V, in particular, has known issues with its tailgate switch not properly detecting that the hatch is closed because it’s slightly out of position. If the car thinks that the tailgate is still open, it won’t trigger the tailgate actuator.

Typically, you’ll also notice a warning on the dash and the dome lights turning on indicating that the tailgate is still open.

Here’s how a few owners described the issue:

“I recently bought a 2006 Honda CR-V. The rear hatch won’t lock, but all the other doors will either lock and unlock.” 

“So I just bought my CRV several days ago. All the other doors stay locked when I use my key fob but the hatch wont lock no matter what I do.”

In most cases, the switch itself is still working properly, but it’s just not being moved far back enough when the tailgate is closed. You can pull back the switch, loosen the screw a little bit, and move the switch closer to the tailgate.

Many people also just wrap some tape or a rubber band around the ends of the tailgate switch which allows it to get pushed back far enough.

If you’re experiencing issues keeping the tailgate closed, it could be caused by a bad actuator, something caught in the latch, or a misaligned hatch.

7. Honda CR-V Tailgate Not Unlocking

Many CR-V owners have had issues with their tailgate not unlocking or opening properly.

This is more common in the second and third generation CR-Vs, but other model years can also suffer from similar issues over time.

It’s usually caused by either a faulty tailgate or door actuator. The tailgate actuator itself may be broken and not locking properly, but it also won’t work if one of the other door actuators is broken and the car thinks that it’s still locked. 

You also won’t be able to open up the tailgate if the tailgate handle/switch is broken. 

To quickly open the tailgate, go in through the back seats and pop off the plastic cover on the bottom of the tailgate. This will reveal the latching mechanism which you can slide free with a screwdriver.

8. Honda CR-V Not Beeping When Locked

If the hood, rear hatch or a door is not shut properly then the CR-V may not beep when locking.

Older Honda CR-Vs don’t usually sound the horn if you’re just pushing the lock button on the key fob once. It will only honk the horn or beep if you press the lock button twice.

If it beeps every time you lock the doors, it could be caused by an aftermarket alarm. 

Newer Honda CR-Vs starting with the fourth gen model have an option in their vehicle settings to turn on/off the keyless beep or acknowledgment whenever you lock the doors with the key fob.

If the keyless acknowledgment beep is disabled, the car should only make beeping noises if there’s an automatic locking issue.  






  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...