8 Honda Passport Locking Problems (Solved & Explained)

The Honda Passport is a midsize SUV that sits between the CR-V and Pilot in Honda’s lineup.

Although Honda is known for its reliability and dependability, the Passport can suffer from locking issues from time to time.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some common locking problems Passport owners have had to deal with and ways you can fix them.

1. Honda Passport Door Handle Not Unlocking Automatically 

Many third-generation Honda Passports have issues with their interior door handles failing to unlock and open the doors automatically when pulled.

Normally, the door locks only affect the outer door handles. When you pull the inner door handles, they should open the door whether it’s locked or unlocked — unless the child locks are engaged.

However, many owners have had issues getting the door to open from the inside. If the doors are still locked, the handles become really hard to pull and many fear that they’ll break something if they apply too much force.

Here’s how a few owners on the PassportForums.com described their issue:

’22 elite currently at 5k miles. Passenger door handle is tough to open when door is locked. For fear of braking the handle, passenger needs to unlock manually or through the unlock button before pulling the handle.

“The front passenger issue feels like it may unlock and open the door if you pull hard enough, though you also don’t want to pull hard fearing it may break something.”

This problem may be caused by a faulty interior door handle or a problem with the door’s locking mechanism. While some owners have reported this issue to their dealers, some dealers have claimed that this behavior is normal for the car.

If your dealer doesn’t want to diagnose the issue further, you may want to take apart the door panel yourself to see if there’s anything wrong with the locking mechanism. A good mechanic should also be able to find out what’s causing the issue and come up with a solution.

If you don’t want to accidentally break the door handle, you just have to remember to unlock the door manually before trying to open the doors.

2. Honda Passport Unlocking By Itself

If the doors are unlocking on their own as soon as you get out of the car, you might have accidentally left the key fob inside the car which is inadvertently triggering the auto unlock feature. 

The Honda Passport’s smart keyless system is programmed to automatically unlock the doors if you close the doors with a key fob inside the car. This prevents you from getting locked out of the car unintentionally.

There have also been cases where owners left one of the two key fobs inside the car so it keeps on unlocking by itself.  

If one of the doors is unlocking its own after you’ve locked the doors with the key fob or the door switches, you might have an issue with the electronic door lock actuator. 

In most cases, a defective door lock’s tab will swing back to the unlocked position immediately after it is locked. This is a fairly common issue with many Hondas after they’ve been on the road for a few years.

To fix this, you’ll need to take off the door panel and replace the door lock actuator. This can be done at home in about an hour if you have some experience with DIY car repairs.

The Honda Passport can also automatically unlock the doors in the following scenarios:

  • Shifting into park
  • Ignition is off
  • Driver’s door is opened

These can be customized and configured by navigating to the vehicle settings using the infotainment system. 

First and second generation Honda Passports don’t have these advanced features and will only unlock on their own if there’s an issue with the key fob, the power door lock electronics, or the locking mechanism inside the doors.

Related: Honda Passport Beeping? (7 Causes & Solutions)

3. Honda Passport Keeps Locking Itself

If your Honda Passport is locking on its own, it might be caused by one of the door lock settings or a faulty door lock actuator.

By default, the Honda Passport will automatically lock the doors whenever you go over 10 mph. It can also be configured so that the door will lock when you shift out of park. 

If you have a faulty door lock actuator and the car sees that one of the doors is still unlocked, it will trigger the automatic door locks every time you come to a stop and then go past 10 mph. 

This is especially annoying in stop and go traffic since you’ll be constantly hearing the door locks cycling and trying to lock the unlocked door. 

To fix this issue, you’ll have to replace the door lock actuators. It’s quite common for several door locks to go bad at roughly the same time, so you might have to replace more than one actuator.

In the meantime, you can disable the automatic locking in the vehicle settings so that it’s not always cycling the door locks as you’re driving.

The Honda Passport will also automatically lock the doors if you unlock them but don’t open any doors within 30 seconds. This is to ensure you don’t accidentally walk away and leave the vehicle unlocked and unsecured.

4. Honda Passport Not Unlocking With Key Fob

You won’t be able to unlock the Honda Passport if the key fob or 12-volt batteries have died.

Batteries in modern key fobs typically only last 2 to 3 years because it’s constantly monitoring for the car’s radio signal. Key fob batteries in older cars lasted longer because they only had to be used when you clicked on the lock/unlock buttons. 

If your key fob or 12-volt battery suddenly stops working, you can still unlock the car using the emergency key that’s hidden inside the key fob. 

After opening the doors, you can still start the car by holding the key fob right next to the start/stop button.

If the key fob still doesn’t work after replacing the battery, there might be an issue with the key fob itself. 

The buttons on the fob might be stuck or the electrical contacts underneath might need to be cleaned. In some cases, the key fob might need to be reprogrammed to work with the car again.

5. Honda Passport Not Unlocking When Touching Door Handle

Some Honda Passport owners have experienced intermittent issues getting their doors to unlock when grabbing the door handles.

Here’s how one owner on PassportForums.com described their issue:

“Today when I pushed the button on the driver door handle to lock the Passport, nothing happened. I locked it with the keyfob. When I returned from my errand it would not unlock by putting my hand on the door handle as it usually does, so I unlocked it with the keyfob. When I got home I tried locking and unlocking using the door handle and it worked fine.”

This could be caused by grabbing and pulling on the door handle too quickly and not giving the keyless entry system enough time to respond.

If pulling on the door handle several times still doesn’t unlock the doors, there might be something interfering with the key fob’s signal so the car isn’t recognizing it properly.

If the key fob is in your pocket or purse right next to your phone or keys, this can be enough to block its radio signals.

Having two key fobs within range can also confuse the car’s keyless entry system and prevent the doors from unlocking automatically.

If you’ve ruled out signal interference, then the door handles could be defective and might need to be replaced.

6. Honda Passport Unlocking When Near Door

If your Honda Passport’s doors are unlocking on their own whenever you’re nearby with the key fob, there might be an issue with the front door handles.

It’s fairly common for the door handles to be inadvertently activated when they’re covered in water during heavy rains or while you’re washing your car while the key fob is in range.

But if the door handles are completely dry and the car is still unlocking automatically every time the key fob is in range, then the handles may have some sort of defect.

The electronics in the door handle can go bad on their own, especially since it’s exposed to the environment. But the door handle can also break if you pull on them too hard or if somebody tries to break into the car and tampers with the door handles in the process.

Sometimes, the door handles and the keyless entry system encounter glitches which can cause strange behaviors to occur. 

You can try clearing out these glitches by disconnecting the negative battery terminal for 10 to 15 minutes so the electronics and computer modules can restart themselves.

If this doesn’t solve the issue, then you might have to replace the door handles.

7. Honda Passport Not Locking With Key Fob

If you’re unable to lock your Honda Passport’s doors using the key fob, it’s usually caused by an open door, tailgate or hood.

The remote locks only work if all the doors are closed. You should still be able to manually lock the car using the master switch on the driver’s door. 

If you’ve already checked that everything is properly closed, then one of the electronic switches for the door jamb, tailgate or hood might be defective. 

You should see a warning on the dash if the car thinks that one of the doors or the tailgate is still open, but there’s no such warning for the hood latch switch.

You can verify if it’s a switch/sensor issue if the factory remote start also doesn’t work using the key fob.

Locking issues can also be caused by a broken or stuck lock button on the key fob. Replacing the key fob battery might also help resolve the issue and increase its effective range.

Related: 12 Best & Worst Honda Passport Years (With Facts & Stats)

8. Honda Passport Tailgate Not Unlocking

Some Honda Passport owners have encountered issues getting their tailgate to unlock and open.

Here’s how one owner described their issue:

“Up until a couple of weeks ago, I could operate the rear tailgate by pressing the outside button,leaving the key in the cab. Now the tailgate will not operate until I fetch the key out of the cab and then the manual button on the tailgate will operate.”

If you go into the vehicle settings, you can choose whether the tailgate can be opened anytime you have the key fob on you or only when it’s been unlocked.

Sometimes, the car keyless entry system runs into bugs and glitches which causes weird behaviors. You can try disabling then re-enabling the different tailgate and door lock options to see if it will correct the problem. 

You can also disconnect the negative battery terminal for 10 to 15 minutes to restart the car’s electronic modules and computers which often clears up any strange glitches.

There are also two buttons on the tailgate. The larger button opens the tailgate while the smaller button locks it — so make sure you’re pushing the right button.

Lots of other Honda Passport owners have also had issues with the hands free kick-to-open functionality.

“I have the Touring model and I noticed that the tailgate sometimes does not open using my foot. I hold it for 1 sec in underneath the center of the bumper and back and nothing. I then go swing it horizontal and still nothing. It takes several more attempts to finally get it to open.”

“The first month I owned mine the hands free tailgate worked every time. Now it sometimes doesn’t. It seems to be sensitive to the duration of the kick.”

If you have the factory tow hitch installed, you might have more issues with the hands free tailgate because the sensor that comes with the tow hitch assembly uses a shorter antenna which is located on the right side of the hitch.

You’ll have to remember to perform the kick motion on the right side of the tow hitch if you want it to open reliably.

With or without the tow hitch, the power tailgate opens more consistently if you place your shin near the rear bumper while doing the kick. Standing too close to the tailgate might also prevent it from opening.

Related: Honda Passport Alarm Going Off? (12 Causes & Solutions)






  • 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...