Honda element key woes

I own a 2003 Honda Element with 74,000 miles on it. The key will not open the driver’s side door any longer. I must open the passenger side door and crawl to open the driver’s door from the inside. I have read this is a problem with '03 Elements and I don’t want to pay the $200. for a new lock the other owners said they had to buy, only to see it fail in the future, also. How does one get Honda to do a recall since so many owners are having the same problem? Not OUR doing, but a faulty lock system. Biggest problem is that I read it will then go to the passenger door then to the ignition lock. Bad wafers all 'round. HELP

You should be aware that it can actually take YEARS for a recall to be initiated. In the meantime, while you hesitate to spend any money, you are–at the least-- being greatly inconvenienced, and in the long-term, perhaps totally locked out of your vehicle and/or unable to start it. To me, that just does not make a whole lot of sense, but you may have different priorities than I do.

For the time being, you should telephone Honda’s Customer Care staff (or whatever they call their phone staff) to report the problem. The toll-free phone number is listed in your Owner’s Manual.

There are occasions when reputable car companies (and I definitely put Honda into that category) will perform “good will” repairs free of charge, or at reduced cost, even when a vehicle is out of warranty. It doesn’t hurt to ask, but I hasten to remind you that if you approach the Honda people with a “I’ll never buy one of your cars again” rant, then you are giving them absolutely no motivation to help you. Instead, if you come across as a vexed, but loyal Honda owner who is seeking assistance, you may just wind up with an answer that makes you happy.

You could also report this situation to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but I have to say that I’m not sure if a defective door lock falls within their purview. They are more used to complaints such as failing brakes, sudden uncontrolled acceleration (better known as not knowing the difference between the gas and brake pedals), stalling engines, and the like. But, it does not cost you anything other than a few minutes of your time to report your complaint to NHTSA.

I would suggest that, if Honda does not offer any assistance with the repair costs, you repair this problem on your own dime. In the event of a later recall, you can have your repair costs refunded simply by sending a copy of your repair invoices to Honda of America, along with a cover letter.

Recalls Are For Safety Defects. Manufacturers Can Offer Service Campaigns Voluntarily For Things Like This.


Honda’s TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) #03-068 Dated 10/29/04 Deals With Repairing These Lock Cylinders.

There is information suggesting that sometimes beyond warranty repairs may be covered by the goodwill of the District Parts and Service Manager or your Zone Office and you must get a decision on your requested consideration before work begins. Honda points out that this bulletin is for their technicians, not DIYers. It also cautions against assuming that this applies to your vehicle or that your vehicle has the condition described and to contact honda.


Thanks so much for these replies. Yes, I love my Element, just a bit disgruntled re: this problem. I will make an appointment with the dealership where I purchased it this week to see what they have to say. I also downloaded a ‘do it yourself’ method via the element owners site. Last resort. ha. Thanks again.