How to Replace a Door Handle on Vehicles

by Contributing WriterUpdated June 12, 2017

If any of the door handles on your Vehicles are broken, you need to replace them or opening and closing the door will be very difficult. Both the inside and outside door handles are mounted to the door from the inside and connected to the door latch, with the fasteners Vehicles the handles located behind the inner trim panel. Removing and replacing a door handle is very similar regardless of whether its the outside or inside handle.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace a Door Handle on a Ford Explorer

Remove the fasteners from the door panel using your socket set. Most should be 8- or 6-millimeter.

Slide the trim pin removal tool under the trailing bottom corner of the door panel and pry the corner away from the door. If you do not have a door trim pin removal tool, you can use a sturdy putty knife to pry the panel away where the pins seat into the door, but take care not to damage the door panel.

Look between the door panel and door and note the location of the other trim pins holding the door panel in place.

Remove the rest of the trim pins from the door.

Disconnect the wiring harnesses from the door-lock and window switches.

Lift the door panel up and away from the door, being careful to slide the door-lock and window switch wiring harnesses through the holes in the panel before pulling the door panel.

Unbolt the door handle assembly and bolt the new one in its place.

Lift the door panel back toward the door and reconnect the door lock and window switch wiring harnesses.

Reinstall the door panel by lining the trim pins up with the corresponding holes, then firmly pounding them back in place with the side of your fist.

Reinstall the fasteners you removed in Step 1.

Items you will need

  • Socket set

  • Trim pin removal tool or sturdy putty knife

  • Replacement door handle assembly

 How to Replace the Door Handle on a Mustang

Push-button Door Handle

Remove the door armrest by backing out the two retaining screws with a Phillips head screwdriver. Remove the interior door handle and window crank by loosening the set screws at the base of the handles with the screwdriver. Pull the handles straight off.

Pry off the door panel with a panel removal tool until the retaining clips release. Peel away the paper backing on the door to reveal the backside of the door handle. Lift up on the hinged retaining clip that holds the lock rod to the back of the handle. Lift the lock rod up from the handle.

Remove the two retaining screws from the backside of the handle with the screwdriver. Remove the handle from the outside of the door.

Place new mounting gaskets (included with a new handle or use the old gaskets) onto the back of the replacement handle. Hold the handle into position on the outside of the door while tightening the retaining screws from the inside of the door.

Push the lock rod into the mounting hole on the inside of the new door handle. Push down on the retaining clip until it snaps into place.

Push the door panel back into position until all of the retaining clips snap into place. Replace the door armrest and handles and tighten the retaining screws.

Lift-up Handle

Lift up the door handle to reveal the retaining rivets underneath. Place a center punch in the center divot of the rivet and strike it with a hammer to drive the rivet out. Remove the second rivet in the same fashion. Note that the handle will still be attached to the lock rod inside the door.

Remove the screws that attach the interior door handle cup, door armrest and the triangular piece of trim at the upper front side of the door panel with a Phillips head screwdriver. Set all of the pieces aside.

Pry up on the lower side of the door panel with a panel removal tool to release the retaining clips. Lift the panel straight up then away from the door.

Peel away the paper or plastic door lining near the outer door handle. Reach inside the door through the access hole revealed after removing the liner. Pry the door lock rod downwards from the inside of the door handle with a flat head screwdriver. Remove the door handle from the outside of the door.

Attach a new door handle into place with two small bolts, washers and nuts. Tighten the bolts with a small adjustable wrench. Push the lock rod onto the mounting hole on the inside of the new handle until it snaps into place. Press the lining back into place. Replace the door panel, door handle cup, armrest and triangular trim in the reverse order of removal.

Items you will need

  • Phillips head screwdriver

  • Panel removal tool

  • Center punch

  • Hammer

  • Flat head screwdriver

  • 2 small bolts, washers and nuts

  • Small adjustable wrench

 How to Replace the Door Handle on a 2003 Chevy Silverado Pickup

Removing the Trim Panel

Raise the window all the way up. If the door uses power windows and locks, disconnect the negative battery cable.

Detach the hand-window crank, if the truck is equipped with manual windows, using a hooked tool to detach the clip or by rubbing a towel behind the handle. Pry out the power controls (if equipped) with a trim stick and disconnect the electrical connector.

Pry off all small trim panels with the trim stick. This includes the trim surrounding the inside door handle and the triangular panel surrounding the rearview mirror mount.

Remove all mounting screws for the trim panel with a screwdriver.

Lift and pull the trim panel away from the door and unplug all electrical connectors behind it.

Peel away the plastic water shield covering the door.

Changing a Handle

Disconnect the link or rod connecting the door handle to the latch.

Remove the mounting bolts or nuts for the door handle using a wrench and remove the handle from the door. On an outside handle, remove a rubber plug in the door jamb to locate one of the mounting nuts.

Insert the replacement door handle into the door and apply the mounting nuts or bolts. Connect the link rod to the handle.

Reinstall the inner trim panel with its electrical connectors and screws, followed by the smaller trim panels and window controls.

Reconnect the battery cable if it was disconnected.

Items you will need

  • Screwdriver

  • Wrench

  • Trim stick

 How to Replace a Door Handle on a Chevrolet Prizm

Remove the screws on the interior armrest of the Chevrolet Prizm and take the armrest off the door.

Take the trim off the top interior of the door by prying it carefully with a screwdriver. Remove it, then unclip the trim cover and take it away from the door armrest section.

Find the screws that hold the door trim panel in place and remove them with a screwdriver, then locate the clip that holds the window regulator handle onto the door.

Remove the clip from around the window regulator handle with a cloth, and pull the handle straight off the door.

Slide a flat blade tool underneath the door accessory switch mounting plate and pull the plate away from the door trim.

Remove the door trim panel from the door frame, pulling it off the retaining clips that are holding it on the frame.

Find the screws that are holding the exterior door handle onto the door from the inside. Use a screwdriver to unfasten the handle, then detach the cover plate and lock mechanism from the old door handle, with a screwdriver.

Replace the old handle with a new one, reattaching the cover plate and locking mechanism to the new door handle, and secure the handle to the door with the screws, using a screwdriver.

Snap the door trim panel back onto the door, securing it with the retaining clips, then snap the door accessory switch mounting plate back into place.

Push the window regulator handle back into place and secure it with the retaining clip, then secure the trim panel with the screws that you removed.

Clip the trim cover back over the door armrest section of the Chevrolet Prizm, and then secure the trim over the top of the door panel and reattach the door armrest with the screws.

Items you will need

  • screwdriver

  • dry cloth

  • flat blade tool

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