How to Fix a Broken Door Handle on a 2002 Mazda Tribute

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Replacing a handle on a 2002 Mazda Tribute is like replacing one on similar Ford-manufactured models, such as the Escape and Mariner. The exact process depends on whether you're fixing a front or rear door. However, in both cases, you must first remove the inner trim panel.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Trim stick
  • Torx wrench

Door Panel

  • Twist and unscrew the single screw within the inner door handle using a screwdriver and pull out the door handle bezel.

  • Pry off the sail panel from the door (rear door only) using a trim stick.

  • Remove all of the door panel's retaining screws, including the ones along the edges, the one in the pull handle and the ones behind the small, circular screw covers that you need to pull off.

  • Pry the trim panel off the door with the trim stick to disengage the clips from the door. Disconnect the electrical connectors behind the panel and remove it.

  • Peel away the plastic water shield that is between the door and the trim panel.

Front Handles

  • Remove the screw holding the latch assembly to the door near the tie rod; this screw should require a Torx wrench. Move to the outside of the door and pull off the handle cover.

  • Slide the door handle toward the rear of the car and remove it from the assembly, then take out the rubber insulators within the handle assembly.

  • Unscrew and remove the second door latch screw, then loosen the remote control assembly. Release the clip for the inner door handle and pull off the handle.

  • Install the replacement inner handle, clipping it in place on the door. Tighten the remote control with the outer screw on the door latch assembly.

  • Connect the old or replacement outer handle, installing the rubber insulators and sliding the handle in place. Install the door handle cover and secure the other screw on the door latch assembly.

  • Press the water shield back onto the door with its adhesive. Reconnect the door trim panel with its clips and screws and reconnect its small trim panels and bezels.

Rear Door

  • Release the clip for the rear door latch's electrical connector and unplug the connector.

  • Unscrew the Torx bolts for the window glass's top run channel; these bolts are in the bottom left corners of the two door openings. Lift the run channel out of the door.

  • Disconnect the outer handle's screws--they are accessible from the inside of the door--pull off the cover at the end of the door handle and slide the handle to the rear to remove it.

  • Unscrew and loosen the remote control assembly, then unclip and remove the door handle's actuating rod.

  • Remove the three mounting screws for the door latch on the door's outer edge and discard them. Remove the latch, lift and slide the cable conduit from the inner handle, disconnect the door handle cable, pry off the handle clips with a trim stick and remove the handle.

  • Clip the door handle in place and connect the handle cable and cable conduit. Reinstall the latch using new Torx screws on the outer edge with your Torx wrench, then connect the actuating rod.

  • Retighten the remote control assembly with its screw and your Torx wrench.

  • Slide the outer door handle into place on the door, connect the door handle cover and apply the handle's screws from the inside.

  • Lower the window glass's top run back into the door and secure it with its two bolts, then connect the latch's electrical connector.

  • Reconnect the trim panel in the reverse order of removal.

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References

  • "Chilton Repair Manual: Ford Escape/Tribute/Mariner"; Mike Stubblefield; 2007
  • Photo Credit car door handle image by robert mobley from Fotolia.com
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