You may have that annoying rattle coming from your door as you drive, your window may no longer work,our door locks or handles may not function properly, or you may even have a problem with the switches on the door. No matter the reason, removing your door panel at some point in time may become necessary. Door panels can be difficult to remove if you do not have the proper direction or the right tools and knowledge. Knowing how most door panels are mounted will be invaluable when you need y to remove them.
Part 1 of 4: Have the right parts and tools
Prior to removing the door panel it is a good idea to prepare yourself. There are some parts that commonly break when removing a door panel and there are a few tools that make the job easier.
Long and short flat-head screwdrivers
Metal pick (small)
Note: If you are repairing any other parts of the door, such as a window motor, make sure that you purchase this ahead of time also.
Part 2 of 4: Removal of the door panel
Step 1: Get your car ready. You should put your car into park and turn the engine off. It is best to park the car in a shaded area as you will be working outside of the vehicle, and it can get hot without any shade.
Step 2: Pry away covers and lights. The covers and lights on the door panel can be removed by lightly prying on them, which will expose the mounting screws.
Step 3: Locate all of the mounting screws. Most door panels have about 4 or 5 mounting screws which are now visible.
Step 4: Separate the door panel from the door. Once all of the screws and panels are removed, grab the bottom of the door panel and pull it firmly from the door. This should help release the locking tabs.
- Tip: If the door panel does not release, you can push the long flat-head screwdriver behind the bottom of the panel between the door and the panel.
Step 5: Lift the panel off the door. You can then pry the panel from the door, which will allow you to lift the door panel up and off the door.
- Tip: Once you remove the door panel you must be careful of the wiring if you have power locks and windows. Remove any electrical connections so that you can remove the door panel.
Step 6: Inspect the door clips. After you have removed the panel, it is important that you examine it to find any clips that may have broken in the process of removal and be sure to replace any that are broken.
Part 3 of 4: Installing the door panel
Step 1: Hold the door panel close enough to the door so that you can connect all of the electrical connections that were detached during the process of removal.
Step 2: Install the panel. In order to attach the new panel, you should start by installing the top of it into the window seal. Once the top is in place, you can push on the door panel until you hear the clips snap in place.
- Tip: You can look behind the panel when installing it to make sure that the panel clips and the mounting holes are aligned before you push it into place.
Step 3: Return the screws and plastic covers. Reinstall all of the mounting screws and plastic covers by pushing the covers back into place. This makes sure that the door is correctly attached.
- Warning: Plastic interior parts will become brittle over time. These parts can easily break if they are not removed and installed correctly.
Step 4: Check the door. Turn on the ignition and check the operation of all of the switches on the door to make sure that the normal functions of the door are restored as expected.
- Warning: Some door panels contain side airbags. If you do not follow the correct procedures, these airbags can deploy, causing serious harm.
Whether you are removing the door panel to install a new one or do other repairs within the door, the process is painless and straightforward, especially if you are prepared with the proper tools and materials. Don’t be afraid to remove the door panel because the task seems too difficult or daunting; instead, armed with the proper guidelines, you can finish the job happy with a new door panel.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Replace a Car Door Panel and was authored by Robert Tomashek.