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02hondafreak, Honda/Acura Technician
Category: Honda
Satisfied Customers: 440
Experience:  3 1/2 years in Honda/Acura dealership-have done it all. 15+ years automotive work history.
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1998 honda accord: coupe..door latch..the door open first..removing

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I have a 1998 honda accord coupe with a inoperative door latch. I need to replace the latch, but need to get the door open first. What is the process for removing the latch on a closed door?

Welcome to Just Answer!


If you are unable to open the door, you will need to try to remove the door panel to access the internals of the door, including the latch mechanism. From there you should be able to remove some parts to open the door & then properly put everything back together. Here is an exploded view:

Any other questions, please feel free to contact me again. Thank you.





Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Wes what parts need to be removed to get the door open? Do I need to remove all of the latch mechanism and if so what method? Drilling it out or chilseling the latch apart?



Here is some information for the door panel:


  1. Remove the outside (side view) mirror.
  2. If equipped with manual windows, remove the regulator handle by pulling the clip out with a small wire hook.

Click image to see an enlarged viewRemove the window regulator handle (A) by using a small hook (C) to remove the retaining clip (B)

  1. Remove the screw from the door handle trim.
  2. Slide the handle assembly forward and out to access the lock rod clip.
  3. Release the clip
  4. Disconnect the door lock switch
  5. Remove the inner door handle assembly.

Click image to see an enlarged viewTo remove the inner handle, pry the cap out (B) and remove the screw. Pull the handle forward and halfway out, then detach the rod (C) and power door lock connector (D)

  1. Carefully pry at the small opening on the bottom of the speaker grill.
  2. Remove the speaker grille.
  3. Remove the speaker mounting screws.
  4. Detach the electrical connector and remove the speaker.
  5. Remove the caps screws in the armrest (pull pocket panel), then remove the armrest.

Click image to see an enlarged viewExploded view of the armrest (also called the door pull pocket panel)-model equipped with power windows shown Click image to see an enlarged viewLocation of the door trim retaining clips. Also, note the trim pad removal tool which makes releasing the clips much easier

  1. Remove the center from the trim clip at the upper front of the door panel and remove the clip.
  2. Using a suitable trim panel removal tool, unsnap the door panel from the door frame and detach any necessary electrical connectors.
  3. Carefully lift the door panel up and away from the door frame.
  4. Installation is the reverse of the removal procedure.

& for the door locks:

  1. Remove the door panel.
  2. Remove the plastic vapor barrier.
  3. Remove the lock cylinder and outer door handle.
  4. Remove the bolt from the rear window channel guide.
  5. Unplug the electrical connectors, wire harness clips and inner handle rod.
  6. Remove the latch mounting screws, using a hand impact driver if necessary.
  7. Installation is the reverse of the removal procedure.

You may have to drill the latch. Try first without drilling if you can. Any other questions, please feel free to contact me again. Thank you.





02hondafreak and 4 other Honda Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thanks Wes, the information helps, but what I really need to know is precisely what can be removed from the inside of the door that will release the latch? The screws that hold the latch assembly in the door come through from the outside of the door. You cannot access these with the door shut.


I have taken the other door panel off of the passenger side to compare it to the driver's door, so I will kow what I need to remove. It is very dificult to rull remove the panel from the drivers door while it is shut. Some damage may occur to the panel while trying to remove it.




Sorry it took so long to get back to this response. You can get the door panel off wit out damaging it. Just have to be very careful. If you can get the rear driver's side seat out, that would give you some extra room to work there. There are a few clips, that can be replaced as long as no damage to backside of door panel. Removal of key pieces of the door panel like inner door handle, window controls, light, security indicator, should assure removal of door panel.

Now with the latch, once inside, you will have to remove the rods to the outer door handle. There are little plastic snap pieces that hold the rods together on the different components, be sure not to break them. They can carefully be removed with a flat head screwdriver, by popping the plastic snap off of the rod & turning it away from it, then lift the rod out of the plastic snap. Once inside, you can try to remove the actuator assembly from the latch. It unscrews. You can try pulling on the some of the rods to see if by chance the door will unlatch, if not you will need to get a drill inside the door & drill a
1/4" hole in the latch/lock mechanism from inside of the door, just above
the star shaped rivet. It may take more that one drilling session to get the latch to release. Hopefully that might help a little bit better. any other questions, please feel free to contact me again. Thank you.



Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thanks Wes, that was very good information and it will be helpful in performing the final steps of releasing the door latch. If by chance you have a picture or a diagram of the position of the star on the latch assembly that would be really helpful. Since the lock assembly is so hard to access it really become quite hard to see this while it is still in the door.


Last but not least you speak of removing the rear drivers seat? This is a 2 door coupe and the rear seat is a full bench seat, which I can remove if that is what you are indicating? I'm wondering if it would be helpful to remove the drivers seat itself or is it just best to position it all the way forward or back to perform this work?


Thanks again,





Removal of the driver's side seat, helps you get into a tight spot & have as much room to work with as possible. You may need to remove the center console & passenger side seat as well.

Now, here are some photo's of the latch assembly & where to drill:


Now, there is rumor to push on a dowel as indicated in the first photo, if you press it, it will open the door without drilling. If not the second you be a good place to start drilling. Any other questions, please feel free to contact me again. Thank you.



Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thanks for the additonal information Wes, I was unable to open the images for whatever reason? If you have another way of sending them to me rather than by link, please do so, if not I will make do.



Thanks again,


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