How to Replace an Outside Car Door Handle


The outside door handle is held on by two bolts on the inside the door. Usually too much force causes the arm that operates the door latch to break off. Door handles are normally not made of a material with much tensile strength. They can be quite easily broken if undue force is applied. Care should be taken to avoid scratching the paint as the door handle is removed. Always make sure that the gasket is in place behind the handle before it is installed.

Things You'll Need

  • Set of ¼-inch drive sockets
  • Common screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Long pair of needle nose pliers
  • Extract the two Phillips screws in the armrest and the one screw, if present, in front of the inside door handle, using a Phillips screwdriver. Remove the cover over the inside bolts for the outside- view mirror if it is not part of the door panel. Either snaps or a singular Phillips screw will hold it in.

  • Remove any Phillips screws that may be around the outside the door panel. Insert a common screwdriver between the door panel and the door and pry out the trim fasteners around the door panel. If the vehicle is a Ford, there are no fasteners. These panels have an upside down hook. Just lift the door panel straight up to release the hooks from the door. Disconnect all electrical connectors.

  • Remove the plastic vapor barrier from the rear of the door exposing the access hole in the door. Remove the two operating rods from the inside the door handle. Make sure the window is all the way up. Use the needle nose pliers to twist the plastic retaining clip on the end of the rod where it attaches to the door latch. When twisted it will release the rod. Continue by pulling the rod out of the door latch. The one rod to the rear is the locking mechanism and the one toward the front of the door is the door opening rod to door latch.

  • Remove the two nuts on the door handle with the ¼-inch drive socket. Pull the door handle out carefully from the outside the door. Replace the door handle in reverse order of removal.

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  • Don Bowman, A.S.E. Certified Mechanic
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