How to Remove a Volkswagen Exterior Door Handle

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If the plastic exterior door handle on your Volkswagen is damaged or broken you must first remove the interior door trim panel before removing the handle. Removing the door handle on a Volkswagen is a repair that can easily be carried out by the vehicle owner. All you need is a few simple tools and an hour or two.

Things You'll Need

  • Wrench set
  • Flat blade screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Socket set

Remove Interior Door Trim Panel

  • Disconnect the ground cable from the negative battery terminal by loosening the retaining bolt with a wrench and pulling the clamp off the negative terminal.

  • Remove the side view mirror trim panel cover on the front of the door by prying it loose with a screwdriver.

  • Unscrew the interior door lock knob by turning it counterclockwise.

  • Remove the manual window handle. Place a flat screwdriver between the window handle and the spacer beneath it on the side of the handle directly opposite the operating knob. Slide the spacer away from the knob to disengage the handle from the regulator. Remove the handle and spacer.

  • Remove the armrest handle cover by carefully prying the cover away from the armrest with a flat blade screwdriver. Disconnect the wiring harness from the power window switch if equipped, by pushing in with your hands on the two retaining tabs.

  • Remove the two screws that connect the armrest to the door using a Phillips screwdriver. Remove the armrest.

  • Remove the interior door trim panel. Insert a flat blade screwdriver between the door panel and the steel door frame. Slide the screwdriver around the panel until you contact one of the hidden plastic clips. Pull straight out on the screwdriver to disengage the clip from the door frame. Continue around the door panel until all the clips are disengaged.

Remove the Exterior Door Handle

  • Insert the key into the lock.

  • Remove the door handle retaining bolt from the rear of the door handle on the interior of the door using the appropriate sized wrench or socket.

  • Slide the door handle forward.

  • Pivot the handle to disengage it from the door while turning the key 90 degrees to separate the handle from the lock actuating lever.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are storing the vehicle outside, cover the door handle hole to prevent water from collecting inside the door.

References

  • "Haynes VW Golf & Jetta 1993 thru 1998"; George Parise, Mark Coombs, Spencer Drayton and John H Haynes; 1997
  • "How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive"; John Muir; 1997
  • "Volkswagen Vanagon Official Factory Repair Manual 1980-1991"; Volkswagen of America; 1991
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