How to Remove a Car Door Panel Professionally.
A door panel covers the interior part of the door and hides the inner working elements of the door accessories such as the speakers, window and door latch mechanisms. This padded cardboard object is held on by screws and plastic clips that must be removed to service such items as a speaker or window switch, door lock and window motor and regulator. All door panels basically perform the same job, however, the removal process will vary slightly for each vehicle. In most cases, a newbie can complete this task easily if he follows the following steps. Once the panel is removed be mindful of how and where it is stored during the repair work. Most door panels are made of fabric and can pick up dirt and stains easily.
WHAT GOES WRONG?
In most cases, a door panel will have nothing wrong with it. The reason for removing the door panel is to access other problems behind the panel. Once the problem is solved the panel can be reinstalled.
WHAT DOES IT COST?
When you are taking your car into a repair garage or dealership to remove the panel, it will cost between $55.00 and $95.00(US) depending on the design or the car manufacturer.
1. Remove Small Trim Pieces
Most panels will have small trim pieces located at the top of the panel on either the left or right side. Use a small screwdriver or plastic trim removal tool and detach (pop off) any trim pieces above the door panel.
Here is an upper trim piece to the left of the panel. These pieces must be removed before removing the panel.
2. Remove Plastic Fascia Pieces
There could be a series of plastic fascia pieces that need to be removed which house the inner door handle, armrest or window switch. Look for hidden plastic covers which need to be removed to access the hidden screws behind it.
After all mounting bolt covers have been removed, loosen the panel mounting screws. These screws can be hidden so look around and also under armrests.
3. Remove the Door Handle
Remove any screws holding the inner door handle. Grab the handle and remove it by pulling it upward. Be cautious of the linkage attached to the handle so as not to bend it or break it.
Use a small screwdriver to push the plastic clip over the linkage and release it from the handle.
4. Remove Door Speaker
Some car door panels are fitted with one speaker or more which has to be removed before the panel can be taken off in some cases. Hold the speaker cover and gently pull outward to unclip the cover to access the speaker screws.
Unscrew the speaker to remove it. Be careful not to punch the speaker cone with any sharp tool.
Once the speaker is loose, disconnect the wire harness connector by releasing the wiring connector safety clips.
5. Remove The Panel
Check that all mounting hardware and small hidden doors have been opened. Some screws can be well hidden as in the image below.
Use a screwdriver or door panel removal tool and wedge it in between the panel and the door. This will release (pop) the plastic clips holding the panel to the door. Follow this action around the bottom of the door until completely released.
Once all mounting screws or bolts and plastic mounting clips have been released or removed lift up the door panel to release it from the window sill. Hold it in place as wiring may still be attached at the rear of the panel.
6. Disconnect Window Switch Wiring
Locate the wiring connector to any accessories such as a window switch or side light. Some window switches can be removed before the panel removal.
Release the window switch electrical harness connector by pushing downward on the safety release clip.
7. Finish Removing the Panel
Once the electrical connector has been released the door panel will become free from the door. Remove and gently place it away from the work area to keep it free from dirt, stain dust and grease.
8. Door Panel Reinstallation
After repairs have been completed and the door panel is ready to be reinstalled grasp the panel and hold it in position while reconnecting all the electrical connectors.
Make sure the latch control rods are safely in place and hook the door panel into the window sill and push it down to secure.
Once the door panel is secured at the window sill pop the plastic clips back into place. Physical alignment of the clips into their respective holes may be needed.
9. Reinstall Speaker
Hold the speaker while reconnecting the electrical connector and then set the speaker back into place.
Reinsert and tighten speaker mounting screws and reinstall the cover.
10. Install Inner Door Handle
While holding the door handle reattach the door handle linkage by popping the plastic clip over the control rod.
Snap the door handle back into place while ensuring the linkage can move freely.
Reinstall and tighten the handle mounting screws.
11. Reinstall Door Panel Mounting Screws
Reinstall all door panel screws or bolts and recover them with the small hidden plastic panels or doors.
12. Reinstall Trim Pieces
Once the door panel is properly secured reinstall the front and rear trim pieces and you are all set.