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Fixing: Key Won't Turn Right / Won't Unlock Door

22 February 2007
Sunny SW
If you have an older NSX and started to notice that sometimes when you try to unlock your driver's side door, the key sometimes has difficulty turning right, this might help. When this first started happening to me, I was afraid I was going to break my key if I forced it. Some solutions I had read on prime were first turn left then turn right, which sometimes worked for me or other threads stated that the problem just went away by itself or was so infrequent, nothing was ever done about it. Well, that's not the solution I was looking for and mine wasn't getting any better over a year or so and I was tired of going to the other side of the car every now and then to unlock the door.

Anyways, I opened up the door and this is what I discovered.

The moving piece for the locking mechanism was literally coated in grime and dirt. This photo shows the door in the lock position. The piece circled in red is what I'm referring to and needed to be cleaned, badly. The grease was coated with sand/dirt and looked almost like sandpaper!


Next was to unlock the door and clean all the dirt-filled grime off the bottom half of the same slotted guide and then adequately re-grease that part of the latch assembly.


Finally, notice the arrow pointing to the metal rod. This rod is the rod that unlocks and locks our doors from the inside and normally points up and the door-lock pegs screw onto it. The reason it is down in the pic is you have to angle it down to get the door liner off. This rod, in my case, had some white door seal liner gunk on it that the dealer had used to seal the liner back on to the door after replacing the window regulator. I just got some WD-40 and wiped this rod clean so it was smooth again since it seemed this might have caused some additional resistance. All this to say that anytime the actuators sense resistance on our cars and other cars for that matter they want to "quickly" return to their default position.

Make sure you inspect your white door liner for tears and seal it shut. Either replace the liner or use some heat activated adhesive and seal it good. Any dirt or dust that gets in there will eventually cling to greased surfaces over time such as the glass guides, window regulator rail, or in this case, the door lock mechanism.

Now my door unlocks with ease and is smooth again!
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Re: Fixing: Key Won't Turn Right, Can't Unlock Driver's Door

It has now been more than half a year since I performed this cleaning on the driver's side door lock mechanism and the key is still turning great and unlocking the door like butter everytime! :smile:
was looking thru old threads and saw this and thought I would respond but possibly no one will read due to age--I have the same problem from time to time and I think the lock mechanism just gets mixed up somehow--what I do is unlock/lock the door from the passenger side and then go back to the driver's side and it will then work--it only happens rarely and simply unlocking from the passenger side seems to correct the problem on the driver's side
Thank you for posting this! I know it's an old thread, but as our cars get older, this may become a relevant topic as it has become for me recently. Both the door locks on my car are "broken". First it was the driver's side, but I never used it so I didn't give it much thought. It just so happens that I'm getting a new alarm installed and suddenly the passenger side lock stops working too.

My key will turn, but the turning does nothing to the lock. The power locks still work from the interior switch. Going to open it up and take a look. Will report back.


Removed the door panel and found that the lock latch had come loose.


I snapped it back into place, but not sure how long this is going to last.


Looking for a better solution.
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I locked my keys inside my car yesterday. Luckily I was home with a spare set so no big deal. On the driver's side, the key turns, but does nothing. On the passenger's side, I can lock/unlock both doors. The button inside also works. And no problems with the remote. So odd.
a small ziptie behind it will hold it so it will never pop off again. what happens is the plastic is brittle and eventually a part of it falls off making the locking cap no longer lock.

seen it before

so zip tie the release arm and the keylock arm