Door Lock Repair Instructions, as submitted by 'MPayle' in our forums:

Instructions for replacing the door lock actuator on 2002 to 2006 MINIs.

These instructions are written from memory based on having replaced both the passenger and driver side actuators in a 2002 MINI Cooper-S over 7 years of ownership. Pictures are not available as I no longer own that particular car.

Replacing the door lock actuator is necessary when the lock stops properly responding to lock and unlock commands from the remote or dash mounted toggle switch. The same procedure is followed for either door; however the driver side actuator does take a bit more time to install as it has the key lock linkage to also get back in place. The passenger side takes about 1 hour to accomplish and the driver side takes about 1.5 hours. Leave the window rolled UP while doing all work - you need the room! You can get usually away with leaving the battery connected when changing the passenger side actuator;, however, you must disconnect the battery when changing the driver side actuator. The actuators act in a master-slave relationship with the driver side being the master. Disconnecting the battery will allow them to resynchronize when the battery is reconnected.

Tools necessary:

  • #20 Torx driver
  • #30 Torx driver
  • Small flat blade screw driver
  • Medium flat blade screw driver
  • #2 Phillips head screw driver
  • Socket set (metric)
  • Flashlight


First, you must remove the door panel and carefully disconnect the speaker connections. The door panel is held in place by 4 torx screws (either #20 or #30) and a series of clips around the perimeter.

Three of the torx screws are in obvious locations: the recesses in the panel. The fourth is hidden behind the small clear/white reflector slightly below the lock button at the back of the door. Use the small blade screw driver to carefully pry up the reflector to remove it from the door and put it aside (where it won't get lost or damaged, so you can re-install it later). Remove all 4 torx screws - keeping track of which holes each one came out of: 3 are identical length, 1 is longer and has to go back into its original location.

Then use the medium flat blade screw driver to carefully pry up the perimeter of the door panel. I start at one of the lower corners and work along the bottom then up each side. The top is held in by spring clips that remain on the window edge of the door - be very careful getting these to pop free of the door panel. To release them, lift out very slightly on the bottom of the panel and then firmly pull the panel away from the frame. DO NOT PULL TOO HARD OR TOO FAR! You just want to pull it away enough to reach behind and disconnect the speaker wire connections: the lower speaker stays on the door panel and the upper speaker (tweeter) stays on the door frame though its cover stays on the door panel! Once the speaker connections are released, set the door panel aside.

The push rod for the manual lock will now be loose from the door panel. It has the black plastic tip on one end and the other inserts into a clip on the actuator. Reach into the door frame and find where the push rod goes through the grommet in the door frame and follow the push rod to the actuator. Pull the end of the push rod out of the actuator and feed it back through the grommet and set aside.

Next, you need to disconnect the electrical connector for the actuator. The connector is on the bottom inside corner of the actuator. It is held in place with spring clips on the sides of the connector. Simply squeeze the sides together and pull the connector down at the same time. Just let the connector drop to the bottom of the door until you need it for reconnecting.

You will easily be able to see the cable for the interior handle. The exterior handle is also a pull cable. Removing the interior handle assembly from the door frame and releasing the cable from the retaining clips will give more flexibility for getting the old actuator out and the new one in. The handle assembly is held in place by 3 phillips head screws (again, note where each screw comes out for re-installing).

You will also see the rear window guide about 1/3 the way from the back of the door. This is held in place by a bolt in the bottom of the door. Make note of exactly where (inside to outside) the bolt head is located before loosening it - DO NOT remove it - only loosen the bolt to allow in/out adjustment of the guide channel (again, to give more room to work inside the back of the door). Next comes loosening and removing the actuator.

Before loosening the 3 #30 torx screws that hold the actuator to the end of the door, use the flashlight to look inside the door and examine how the two cables are attached. You may need to re-use the clip that holds the exterior handle cable. You will nee to release the end of the exterior handle cable from its retaining clips before trying to remove the actuator. YOU WILL BE DOING THIS BY FEEL! While examining the connection with the flashlight, squeeze the outside handle to see the cable function. You will be able to then observe how to get sufficient slack in the cable to free the end from its retaining clip and then free from the white plastic sleeve guide. Be careful to not break the sleeve guide, it gets re-used. The sleeve guide rotates in its bracket and can fall out as you remove the actuator once the cable is free. The cable end is like a nail head and fits through a slot in the bottom tab on the actuator. You pull down on the cable and tilt the end of the cable to flip it out of the tab.

You will still have the interior handle cable attached to the actuator. Its attaching clip on the actuator is under a hinged cover. You will find it easier to remove this cable after you get the actuator loose and out of the door frame enough to open the cover, thus the freeing of the handle assembly and cable from the retaining clips along the door. Observe where the interior handle's cable is routed as you will need to ensure it gets routed the same way with the new actuator. You will be pulling the cable out around the window channel guide, so you will be sliding the interior handle close to the channel guide. Remove the three torx screws that hold the actuator to the door (should be #30). Then jiggle loose the actuator and work it out of the door far enough to open the cover and release the interior handle's cable. This will test your puzzle solving skills as you are in a tight space, working around the window guide channel with a relatively bulky 'L' shaped actuator. You have to snake and rotate it around the guide channel to get it out. Be careful to avoid putting a sharp bend in the handle cable. Pay some attention to how you get it out as inserting the replacement will be similar.

NOTE: if doing the driver side, there is also the control rod for the key lock. This is a rod with a u-joint style hinge near the key lock and a star head at the actuator end. The star fits into a socket in the top of the actuator and will be fairly clear to see when examining with the flashlight before removing the actuator. The star just slides into the fitting in the actuator. Getting the star back into the new actuator makes the driver side job take a bit longer than the passenger side.

Once you have the old actuator past the window guide channel and to the opening in the door frame, you can then open the retaining cover for the interior handle cable and free the cable from the actuator. Try to keep the cable from snapping back into the door Compare the old actuator with the replacement as there are a couple of small brackets you may need to transfer from the old actuator to the new actuator.

At this point one could use the classic phrase from the Haynes manuals: "assembly is the reverse of disassembly", but that would not be completely fair. Much of the re-assembly is the reverse of the above procedure, but there are steps that should be highlighted again anyway.

After transferring any brackets and/or clips necessary from the old actuator to the new actuator, make sure the interior handle cable is still making the "u-turn" around the guide channel and attach the cable to the actuator and secure the retaining cover. You may want to use a small piece of tape to help hold the white plastic clip for the exterior handle cable to its slide bracket. Manipulate the new actuator back into the door frame and past the guide channel. Pull some of the slack in the interior handle cable back outin order to help align the new actuator. As you manipulate the actuator into its position, you will need to ensure the exterior handle cable is not trapped behind the actuator as it needs to come over the top of the actuator to reach its guide clip and retaining clip.

NOTE: If doing the driver side door, you will also need to position the key lock rod into place for the star end to slide into its place in the actuator.

With the actuator in position, start threading one of the three torx screws that hold it to the door. This will hold it in place enough while you reconnect the exterior handle cable. This will again be mostly by feel. You will need to thread the cable into the guide clip then pull it down enough to tilt the end and slip it into the retaining bracket. Then thread the other two torx screws to hold the actuator to the door. Snug the screws down, but not fully tight - just enough to hold it still in place.

Remount the interior handle and its cable to the door frame. Thread the manual lock push rod back through the grommet and insert the end into its clip in the actuator. You should be ready to manually test the lock to be sure the cables are functioning. Use the manual push rod to lock and unlock the door. With the door unlocked, see if the outside handle cable is operating correctly. Use the push rod to lock the door. Pull the interior handle once to see if it unlocks the door. the second pull should then open the door.

If all this is working, fully secure the actuator to the door by tightening the torx screws to "hand tight" (about 14 lb-ft torque). Now reconnect the electrical plug for the actuator and then reconnect the battery. Fully test the actuator with the toggle switch on the dash and the remote control.

If satisfied that all is working, it is time to re-install the door panel. Do not forget to reconnect your speaker! Snap the door panel into place starting with the top, down each side and then along the bottom. Then replace the torx screws in the same locations they came out of. Put the reflector back over the fourth screw. You will also need to reprogram your radio presets and set the time on the clock.

At this point, you should have successfully completed the repair procedure. Dispose of the defective actuator appropriately.