2003 Honda Odyssey auto locks won't work

  • 85,000 MILES
Took our 2003 Honda Odyssey to the garage after all of the lights came on in the dashboard, assuming it was the alternator as it went a few years ago and did the same thing. The garage said yes, alternator, and replaced it only charging labor because it was still under warranty. Went to pick it up 3 days after it was done (I was having surgery and couldn't get there the day they finished) and the battery was dead. They recharged it, got it running, but the locks on the doors wouldn't work. I noticed because I tried to unlock it to put something in the back and I couldn't get the doors to unlock. I can use the actual key in the door manually and get the front driver and passenger doors to unlock that way, but the two back doors are the automatic ones and they won't open. If you are in the car and hit the lock button on the door to unlock or lock you can hear a slight, electronic clicking sound as if it is trying to work, but nothing happens. If I reach in and manually unlock the back door it just slides right back locked again. That has never happened before. We've always been able to manually unlock the back door from the inside. The hatchback won't unlock either (and unfortunately that manual key entry is rusted and won't let me turn it). If I use the remote and press the lock button nothing happens. If I press the unlock button, the lights come inside and the flash on the outside the way they always do when the locks were working, but nothing else happens. The garage kept it for two more days and they say they have run all of the diagnostics on it and just can't figure it out. They did say that whatever is wrong with it also seems to be draining the battery as the battery consistently loses a charge while the car is just sitting, not being driven. I've made an appointment with the dealership to look at it next week, but I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts before then. The dealership will charge me $100 just to look at it. I hate to not fix it because it's still a great car with not a lot of mileage for the age, and we can't afford a new one, but I also don't want to dump a lot of money into an eleven year old car.
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have the same problem?
Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 AT 4:52 PM

1 Reply

11 years and 85,000 miles? My 25-year-old Grand Caravan has over 415,000 miles, just got home from a 1500 mile round trip, and I would stick a thousand bucks into it if I ever had to just to avoid buying anything newer with all the over-complicated, unnecessary, and unreliable computers. If you like your van half as much as I like mine, fix it.

From what you described, it sounds like one of the lock switches is sticking on. There's a number of things that can happen. One is to have a switch physically stuck, typically due to food or something getting stuck in it. A less-common cause is to have frayed wires between a door's hinges, and two are touching. Depending on the design of the circuit, a lock wire could be touching a ground wire, (or power window wire), or a 12 volt feed wire.

When you have remote keyless entry, you usually will have the driver's door on a circuit by itself because it takes two presses of the remote button to open the other three doors. That means a computer is involved, and therefore, more potential for problems. When you said a rear lock slides back to the locked position by itself, that is a major clue. A power lock motor will typically overheat when it's left energized too long and a thermal auto-resetting circuit breaker will trip. That means the locks won't be operating all the time, but when they are, they can draw enough current to kill a good battery in a few days or less.
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Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 AT 10:49 PM

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