How to Unlock a Honda Civic

Written by josh baum
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The Honda Civic was first introduced to the North American market in 1973, making it one of the longest continuous model lines sold on the continent. During this long span, many advances have been made in automotive door lock technology. There are several ways to unlock a Honda Civic, but depending on your model year, options package and aftermarket modifications, all or some of these methods may apply to your Civic.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Key
  • Electronic remote key fob (may not be available)
  • Inflatable door wedge
  • Wire clothes hanger or slim metal rod

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    Normal Unlocking Methods

  1. 1

    Unlock any door from the outside by inserting the key into the door's keyhole and turning it 1/8 turn to the right.

  2. 2

    Unlock any door from the inside using up to three manual unlocking methods. On older Civics, there is a knob at the top of the interior door panel that can be pulled up to unlock the door. On many older and newer models, there is a manual lock switch just in front of the interior door handle. Also, on most models, simply pulling the interior door handle will automatically unlock and open any door.

  3. 3

    Look for power lock switches, which may be installed on both the driver's side and passenger's side door panels. On the driver's side, there may be two power lock switches; one unlocks the driver's side door and the other unlocks both doors. On the passenger's side, the power door lock switch only unlocks the passenger's side door. Power door locks are now standard equipment on the Civic, but this was not always the case, so they may not be present on your model.

  4. 4

    Check to see if your Civic has an electronic remote key fob. This is now standard equipment on some Civic models and optional equipment on the rest, but the technology was not available at the time of the launch of the Civic line. Still, aftermarket remote keyless entry systems may have been installed on your Civic. To unlock the driver's side door with the key fob, press the unlock button once. To unlock the passenger's side door, press it once more.

    If You're Locked Out

  1. 1

    Check to make sure you do not have an extra key available. The following process does present a slight chance of minor damage to the door frame and weather stripping around the door, so it pays to make sure that it's your only alternative before proceeding.

  2. 2

    Consider hiring a professional locksmith to unlock the doors for you. Someone with training and experience may be less likely to inadvertently damage the car during this process, and if you're a member of an auto club such as AAA, this service may be provided to you at no cost.

  3. 3

    Acquire an inflatable door wedge. This is a device designed specifically for getting into locked cars. It consists of a flat, rectangular and inflatable component which is attached to a rubber bulb by a rubber or plastic tube.

  4. 4

    Insert the flat, inflatable end of the inflatable door wedge into the space between the locked door and the body of the car. The ideal position for this is at the very top of the vertical edge of the door. Push it in from the rear end of the door toward the front end of the door. It only needs to go in a little more than one inch.

  5. 5

    Squeeze the rubber bulb on the inflatable door wedge several times. The inflatable panel will fill up with air, gently prying open this corner of the door. Stop inflating it as soon as you have enough room to stick an instrument through the gap.

  6. 6

    Use a straightened coat hanger or a long, thin rod to reach in through the gap and unlock the door via the most convenient means. The easiest way to do this would be to try to hit either the power lock switch or the manual lock switch, located just in front of the interior door handle. With a wire hanger or hooked instrument, it may also be easy to hook the interior door handle and pull it open. Unfortunately, the door lock knobs on most Civics are smooth and streamlined, which makes them very difficult to pull up using this method.

Tips and warnings

  • If your Civic has an aftermarket alarm installed and armed, the alarm may go off if you attempt any of these unlocking methods without first disarming the alarm using a remote.
  • Never attempt to use a traditional "slim jim" to open the door of a Civic. The lock control arm in every Civic moves side to side, not up and down, so this device will not work. It can, however, wreak havoc on the wiring, locking mechanisms and side-impact air bags inside the door cavity.

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