How Do You Reset Automatic Door Locks?

If you are driving an older Toyota, it can be a little more difficult to perform “simple” tasks such as resetting your automatic door locks for a few reasons. First, chances are this isn’t likely a car you bought new, and therefore you haven’t had to or been able to read the owner’s manual to find out how to reset the automatic door locks.

Additionally, the owner’s manual may be long gone or you may very well find that even with the manual resetting your automatic door locks are no walk in the park. This guide will answer how do you reset automatic door locks, whether you can, why you potentially cannot, how to do so, and why you might want to do so, we will cover everything that online forums or your owner’s manual do not. Let’s dive right into it.

Can You Reset Automatic Door Locks?

In theory, you should be able to reset automatic door locks by following a guide outlined in your owner’s manual. Or, in a pinch, by following a step-by-step walkthrough online (we will provide one later). However, they are not guaranteed to work. Even if your vehicle comes with an owner’s manual explaining the process that doesn’t necessarily mean it is possible for your vehicle.

Which is so obscure it almost feels like it shouldn’t be true. But it certainly is. Toyota (and many other car manufacturers) have been known to “cut and paste” parts from one owner manual to the next and in the case of the automatic door lock reset procedures you will find that they regularly don’t work on some vehicles. Despite claiming they do. Toyota is aware, but, it’s 20 years after the fact so there isn’t much to do about it anymore.

What Happens If You Cannot Reset Automatic Door Locks?

So, given that tiny rant about Toyota messing up their owner’s manual guides, what are your options if the owner’s manual leads you astray? Unfortunately, you should probably get in contact with a Toyota dealership that can put you on the right track. It is an onboard computer error, not a mechanical one so without being able to trick the system into resetting (as is common in many older vehicles).

Toyota can connect to your vehicle and forcibly reset your automatic door locks. Though they may charge you fifty bucks for your time. Or they might do it for free. It depends on who you speak to and what kind of mood they are in whether or not they will actually charge you. If it’s your regular mechanic you can probably be cheeky and ask them to do it for nothing.

How Do You Reset Automatic Door Locks?

So, how do you reset automatic door locks when you can’t find your manual. Or you simply can’t be bothered to try (we don’t blame you) and are looking for the method behind Toyota’s madness for resetting the automatic door locks. Here’s what you need to do.

First, there are two automatic door-locking methods. We are going to cover them both as the bulk of each set of instructions is the same be sure to make sure you are reading the right one for whichever setting it is you are attempting to activate. To reset the automatic door locks you must make sure all the doors are closed and the ignition is switched to “on”. Then you need to place your shifter into the:

  • “P” position for setting the automatic door locks to lock when the vehicle is in gear.
  • “N” position for setting the automatic door locks to lock when the vehicle is over 12mph.

Once your gear stick is in the correct position for the setting you wish to use you must hold the driver’s side power door lock switch in the lock position for 5 seconds and then release it. You MUST release or it won’t activate the setting. And, you MUST perform the entire process within 10 seconds of starting the engine. It may take you a couple of tries to get it right. You will know it has worked when all 4 doors lock and unlock in unison to alert you that the process has been successful.

Why Would You Want To Reset Automatic Door Locks?

Given that there are two options you may well want to swap between one or the other. Additionally, if you find that the automatic door locks have stopped working you may want to activate them again. Automatic door locks are an excellent safety feature on cars, especially if you have young children on board, and are something that doesn’t detract from the day-to-day driving experience of the vehicle.

Which Models Do Not Allow You To Manually Reset Automatic Door Locks?

All Toyotas with automatic door locks should allow you to manually reset them. However, it is most commonly an issue on 2002 vehicles such as the Sequoia. If you have a Sequoia and find that you can’t quite get the locks to reset then you may need to make sure you are releasing the button within 10 seconds but after 5 seconds. Use a timer on your phone if you are unsure. If you are certain you are doing it right but simply cannot get the automatic locks to reset then you should give your mechanic/dealership a call or a visit.

Isn’t Being Unable To Reset Automatic Door Locks A Safety Concern?

Obviously being unable to reset the automatic door locks could be considered a safety concern. However, since you are still able to manually lock the doors from the driver-side lock panel it isn’t a major concern. As long as the doors are actually locking you should be perfectly fine. If it’s something that you find overly concerning you should of course contact a professional to fix it for you.


So, now we’ve answered in depth, how do you reset the automatic door locks, you know how to reset them as well as understand what to do if you can’t quite get it to work. Being completely unable to reset it manually isn’t a super common issue, to be honest. While it does occur it is far more likely that whoever is attempting to reset the automatic door locks simply isn’t following the above steps closely enough and isn’t quite getting their timing right.

Similar Posts