How to Fix a Car Door Handle in 7 Steps

After 8 years of going everywhere with my car, a sign of aging finally appeared in the form of a broken door handle. The interior door handle of the car which is for the driver’s seat was made of plastic and one day it snapped and left me with a hard to open door.

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After looking for ways in the internet on how to fix a car door handle, I’ve finally been able to do it without having to pay for a mechanic. Cars are complex machines, but with an organized and systematic approach, fixing that equipment is as easy as pie.

What You Need

Here are the materials you will be needing for this tutorial:​

  • Replacement Handle​ - The replacement handle should be specific to the car you own.
  • Screwdrivers​ - Every car door interior has screws to unfasten, old models even have screws visible on the interior door handle. In addition, you may also need a rubber mallet to tap and re -install the interior door panel.
  • Towel​ - This can be used to gather all the screws in one place, or to provide additional cushion to the interior door panel when it is being hammered or pinned down for re-installation.
  • Masking Tape And Marker​​ - If you're a clumsy person like me, a masking tape can be your best friend when fixing the car door. Disassembling is easy, but re-assembling can take time if you are unable to remember which piece comes in which part. Use a masking tape to label the pieces you removed.​

A few minutes after my car handle broke, I brought my car to a near auto shop to have it assessed and quoted. To my surprise, a single door handle replacement can reach up to a hundred dollars, I thanked them, drover away and started browsing for DIY solutions.

Here, I’ll teach you how to fix a car door handle without having to shed off too much money.

What You Need To Do

Step 1: Find a Replacement Handle​

replacement-door-handle

​To find the perfect replacement handle, make sure you know the exact model, year, and make. Remember that no car handle is universal, or can be used for any type of car.

Contact your dealer, look for resellers, or check the scrap yards for parts similar to your vehicle. If you're lucky, you may find a similar car in the scrap yard, take all of the handles so you would not have to worry about future supplies.


Step 2: Remove Inner Door Panel​

remove-inner-door-panel

Have a good look at your door panel, or even take a photo prior to removing it. Remove any plastic caps that protect the bolts and screws, and lay them down on the towel. Unscrew all that needs to be removed one at a time, and make sure to label every single one of them.

There are cars that have plastic clips instead of screws, when dealing with such remember to use gentle force when removing the panel. Plastics can become brittle over time, so be careful not to break any interior clippings.


Step 3: Remove Waterproofing Paper​

Because the car door handle is susceptible to moisture and water seepage, some cars models have waterproofing paper installed. This material deflects any possible water seepage from damaging the interior latches and mechanisms of the door panel.

Remove the material prior to working and make sure it is not damaged and can be easily returned after handle replacement.


Step 4: Remove the Connections​

remove-door-handle-connection

Now that you’ve removed the door panel, take a good look at the connections present. Take a photo if you must, to ensure you can fully re-assemble the connections in the right place.

As you remove the connections, focus your attention on carefully labeling each rod and connected piece to make sure you would not have trouble later on.

However, if you were able to get a copy of the reassembly manual for door handles, use this as reference.


Step 5: Replace the Handle​

replace-door-handle

Clean the edges of the interior and place the replacement handle in it. See to it that it is installed in the correct direction; look at the photo you took before disassembly and carefully re-assemble the connections removed to the new replacement handle.

Keep in mind that a single screw can affect the performance and locking function of the car.


Step 6: Check Door for Proper Operation​

remove-inner-door-panel

Test the new mechanism if the locks and latch functions are working perfectly. Test it several times prior to re-attaching the interior panel to make sure there’s no faulty connection or loose mechanisms.

Do not just focus on the replacement interior door handle, but also test if the exterior handle still functions.

Often times we focus on what’s being repaired and forget the other part, test the exterior and make sure the latch is working in perfect connection with the interior door handle.​


Step 7: Re-assemble the Interior Panel​

check-door-handle

Once you’ve tested your replacement handle and made sure it is sturdy and well connected, it’s now time to return the interior panel of the door. Depending on your car model, you may need a towel and a rubber mallet to put everything in place.

Return all screws originally found in the panel surface including the rubber covers. If your car has plastic clippings instead of screws, use the towel to receive the impact of the rubber mallet so as you do not damage the interior of the door.

Conclusion​

A car is like a family member, you treat it with love and care as exchange for being able to go to places without having to commute. Replacing a car door handle might sound too advanced, but its a skill that is useful and will save your hard-earned money.

If you like this tutorial, please do not forget to share this page. I’m sure you can add more tips on how to fix a car door handle. Let me know by leaving a comment at the section below, and who knows it might make my fixing method easier.​

Sources

Anthony Ebden
 

He's an auto blogger. He worked as an auto mechanic for more than 5 years and his mission is to provide our readers with the best car maintenance tips, DIY guides and the most updated trends in the automotive industry.

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