Hyundai Kona Won’t Lock – Mechanic’s Tips!

Hyundai Kona is a super car for around town, but no car is practical if it won’t lock. I’ve been a mechanic for 25 years, and very soon, you’ll know why your Kona won’t lock.

The most common reasons your Kona won’t lock include:

  • A door is open
  • The car is running, and the key is inside
  • Auto-lock is not enabled
  • Smart Key Fob is dead

In this article, we will discuss why your Kona won’t lock, how to diagnose what’s happening, and how you go about fixing it.

Infographic - Hyundai Kona Won't Lock

One or More Doors are Open

This might seem a little obvious, but usually, the simplest of explanations are the ones that solve our problems.

Your doors won’t lock either internally or externally if a door is slightly open. The onboard computers quickly check as you press the lock button and won’t complete the task if one or more are open.

If you have exited the car and it won’t lock, you can quickly walk around to see if one of the doors is not fully shut. I find that when you travel with small children, modern-day car doors are too heavy for them and sometimes don’t entirely shut all the way. Or if you have teens in the car, they can be too preoccupied with their smartphones or headphones and not realize the door is still open. (Even when you say it to them!)

If you are inside the car and the doors won’t lock, the Dash information will tell you exactly which door, hood, or tailgate is open.

Although your car will lock if your tailgate is open.

After you have found and properly closed all the doors, your car should not lock as usual. If not, try the following explanation.

The Car is Running, and the Key is Inside

One of the most significant differences between EVs and ICE cars is the noise or, more importantly, the lack of noise. Because there is no engine as such, they can lead us to believe they’re not running.

Nearly all modern cars are a push-button start, and although we need a key with us at all times, there are times when we forget to actually turn the car off.

Hyundai has realized that this can happen, and if you exit the car without the key and try to lock the car using the exterior handle button, the warning sound will chime for 3 seconds, and the car will not lock.

You can, however, lock the car while the car is still running with the Smart Key fob. Many owners have done so only to return to their car and realize they never powered it off. Unless someone else had a key, no one could steal your car, but it may have been running all day and is now flat, which is another problem entirely.

Auto-Lock Not Working

Auto-lock and Auto-open are fantastic inventions for when we have our hands full of groceries, children, or both! It allows you to open and close your car without needing a lock key.

Passive locking is not as intuitive as it could be. We must press a button on our Smart Key Fob or the door handle.

By pressing the Lock on the fob, the doors will lock, the hazards will flash momentarily, and the mirrors will fold.

The onboard computer will quickly check that everything is secure and closed and that an additional key is not in the car. The same thing will happen if you press the button on the door handle.

If this is not happening for you, then the Auto-Lock / Unlock is disabled

Auto-lock and unlock are activated through the LCD screen in your car. It won’t custom work unless it is activated. To do this, go to:

  • User Settings
  • Door
  • Auto-Lock

When you select Auto-lock, you are given three choices:

  • Disable
  • Enable on Speed
  • Enable on Shift

To have Auto Unlock, you must return to settings and choose Auto Unlock.

If you go to these settings and Autolock is Disabled, this is a reason why it’s currently not working.

If you Select Enable on Shift, when you put the car in gear, the car will lock. If you Shift to P, then all doors will unlock. This is important if you have young children in the car that are no longer in 5-point harness seats. You can also activate Child Locks to be 100% sure.

Smart Key is Dead

The last reason we’ll look at is your Smart Key. It operates on a battery. (CR2032) They last about four years; you can buy them in large grocery stores. You can usually tell that the battery is dying as it will start to fail intermittently.

If the battery dies completely, don’t panic. Although you won’t be able to use it to lock your car or start it, it has a mechanical key within the casing.

Remove the release lever and remove the mechanical key. This can then be used like normal to unlock and lock the car using a keyhole in the driver’s door.

You will then need to replace the battery in your Smart Key Fob

  • The battery required is a CR2032
  • Remove the mechanical key if you haven’t already
  • Pry open the rear of the fob with a thin file or blunt knife
  • Remove the old battery, making a note of the way it’s facing
  • Insert the new battery, trying to touch it as little as possible
  • Replace the cover
  • Replace the mechanical key

All should now be working correctly, and your car should lock again without issue.

There are a couple of reasons why your fob might misbehave, even after you have replaced the battery.

These are:

  • Too close to a Smartphone
  • Too close to another fob from another car
  • Too close to a radio transmitter

All of these scenarios cause interference with your fob, and sometimes the only solution to locking your car is the mechanical key.

I’ve covered a few of the other common Hyundai issues which you hopefully won’t experience, but if you do, we have you covered with these posts:

If you are curious about other EV models, check out the EV FAQ category.

John Cunningham

John Cunningham is a technical writer here at He's a Red Seal qualified Auto Service Technician with over twenty-five years experience working on Classic and Modern Cars. He's worked for GM, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo, Audi, and VW main dealers.

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