Door Handle Problems? Here’s How to Remove the Panel to Make a Diagnosis

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There’s nothing more frustrating than when your car door handle decides to stop working. If you’re starting to become tired of getting in and out of your vehicle through the passenger side, there are some solutions to help you fix the issue yourself. Before you can diagnose a door handle problem, you’ll need to remove the door panel in order to figure out what’s causing it. Read on to learn more about common car door problems and how you can get that stingy door panel off.

Common Causes of Door Handle Problems

In most cases, you’re dealing with a door handle problem due to wear and age. Over time, the door will simply wear out either from the inside or the outside and the locking or handle mechanism will need to be replaced. Any controls you use to lock and unlock your doors are connected to the locking mechanisms via small rods. When the mechanisms quit working, the rod or cable has either fallen out, become bent or broken, or the bushings are worn out from too much wear and tear. Other problems might stem from the electrical component inside the door if you have automatic locks. No matter what, you’ll need to take the door panel off so you can see what’s going on.

How to Remove Your Door Panel

A quick item of note before you remove the door panel: all vehicles have hidden screws that might be hard to find right away. These can be located behind door cover plates, under armrests, and under armrest covers. Make sure you look closely to try and find these screws before you begin to make the process easier. Perform a visual inspection of the door and look for any pieces of trim that appear to be easily removed. You can use a plastic pry tool designed for interior work to help you remove the trim and prevent it from getting damaged.

Once you’ve located and removed all the screws in the door, make sure you put them in a safe place so you can easily replace them later. Many car doors use clips that hold the panel to the door, so keep those in the same place after you pull it off. You can pop the clips out of the door and put them back in the panel, too. Use a flathead screwdriver to help you gently pry the panel off. Be aware that some clips can become brittle and may break under pressure.

Lift the door panel up and off the door. Make sure you don’t pull too hard since there is likely a few wires and cables that are connected to it. Free all wires, switches, and connectors from the door panel and set the panel aside. Once the process is done, you should have access to your door handle mechanism. You can now determine whether it’s a lock problem or an electrical problem and start the process of repairing your stubborn, broken door handle.

For all your car’s maintenance and repair needs, remember to call Kirk’s Auto Care in Livonia, MO at 734-402-8722 today!

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