Removing your inside car door panel is simple auto repair

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The car door is open, revealing the inside door panel that is already partly ajar.

Something's not right here – unless you're on a linking rod connector recon mission. (Photo Credit: ph0rk/Flickr/CC BY-SA)

Recently, Car Deal Expert shared information regarding how to deal when your car has trouble with its power locks. Assessing such things may require removing the inside car door panel to take a closer look. While this may sound like a daunting task, the reality is that when it comes to fixing car door problems, removing the inside car door panel isn’t all that difficult. Here’s a brief summary of WikiHow’s step-by-step take on the process. Get your flathead, Phillips and 12-point screwdrivers ready. You may also need an Allen wrench. Keep in mind that this is general info; consult your owner’s guide for specific information regarding your vehicle. A web search involving diagrams won’t hurt, either.

Open the door before removing the inside car door panel

It is all but impossible to generate the necessary leverage if you attempt to do this from inside the car with the door closed. Furthermore, without the proper angle, you’ll have to resort to unadvisable force to do the job.

Do you have an old-fashioned pop-up lock?

That is, does your lock extend from out of the top of the inner door panel? If so, it needs to come off before the panel is removed. Luckily, the old ones typically unscrew.

Level with your lever

The mechanism that opens the car door is next. Underneath it, there should be a visible screw. Lift the lever so you can get at the screw. When you’re done, you should be able to remove the plastic casing that holds the lever system in place.

Arrest the armrest

Again, look underneath. That’s typically where the armrest screws will be located. There may be plastic covers over these screws, but they should pop off with a flathead screwdriver. Get the screws out and the armrest off. One additional step would be unplugging the wires if you have power windows. This is safe and easy in most unmodified cars, as the plug ends are within plastic tabs. Squeeze and pull out.

Remove the window crank if it isn’t electric

You may have to remove a plastic case and a snap ring from the base of the crank. Use your trusty flathead screwdriver.

Pry it, putty please

A putty knife between the plastic panel and the metal door frame is the best method. Pry gently, popping the grommets from the cardboard panel underneath. Don’t Incredible Hulk this part; you’ll want to keep using those grommets, unless you’re itching to scour eBay. In fact, don’t take the plastic off completely until you complete the next step.

Lift the window out of its slot

As opposed to allowing the glass to shatter at your feet, it’s better to gently lift the window from its slot. Once you’ve accomplished this, pop, pop away. When it’s time to put your car door panel back together again, go in reverse order. Just remember, do the lock hardware and then the arm rest last. You might want to use something like a goopy marine adhesive around the outside of the panel to ensure that it sticks back in the frame.

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Here’s a car door panel removal video for your visual convenience

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