Blog Car Care Advice The Ultimate Guide for Car Door Handle Repair
Car Care Advice

The Ultimate Guide for Car Door Handle Repair

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Does your car handle rattle every time you use it?
Well, that’s your cue to call a mechanic.

But how is a car door handle repair done?
And how much does it cost?

We’ll walk you through the steps to repair an exterior and interior door handle to give you an idea. We’ll also share how much it’ll cost and a few tips for choosing the perfect door handle.

Let’s go!

This Article Contains:

How to Repair the Exterior Door Handle

Once broken, an exterior door handle can’t be repaired and can only be replaced. However, attempting to DIY without tools or technical knowledge is a bad idea — that’s why you should leave it to professionals. 

Here’s how a mechanic will repair your exterior handle assembly:

Step 1: Dismantle the Inside Door Panel

The mechanic will remove the screws on the panel using a Torx screwdriver or a socket wrench. Then, they’ll pry it open and slide the door panel upwards to remove it.

Step 2: Remove the Water Shield

To access the outside door handle, the mechanic will strip off the water shield (plastic cover that prevents water and dirt from entering the interior panel). 

Step 3: Detach Wires and Connectors

Next, they’ll detach any electrical connector or cable from the exterior handle to disconnect the door lock and alarm. 

Step 4: Disconnect the Door Latch Assembly

The mechanic will unclip the connecting rod that links the inside door handle to the latch. This temporarily disconnects the door latch assembly, giving access to the outside door handle. 

The assembly consists of the latch, handle, and lock cylinder (lock that requires a key to unlock your car door). 

Step 5: Remove and Install New Door Handle

They’ll undo each screw on the broken door handle and carefully take it out.  In some cases, there may also be a fastener in the door jamb just near the corner where the outside door handle is located.

The mechanic will check for a rubber gasket and push the front part of the new door handle through the gasket to place it. They’ll then secure the back ends with bolts, reconnect the connectors and wires, and clip the latch to the interior panel.

Step 6: Test and Reassemble the Door Panel

Finally, the mechanic will test the handle and the latch assembly and reattach the door panel. 

Now that we’ve mastered replacing exterior handles, let’s shift our focus to the inner handle. 

How to Repair the Interior Door Handle

Inner door handles made of plastic can wear out faster with use. So, it’s better to replace them to avoid trouble. 
Here’s how a mechanic replaces an interior handle assembly: 

Step 1: Detach the Door Panel

To access the inner door handle, the mechanic will unscrew the bolts to loosen the panel. They’ll use a screwdriver or a plastic pry tool to detach it. 

Next, they’ll disconnect all connectors, wires, and the latch rods linked to the handle.   

Step 2: Disconnect the Door Latch Assembly

They’ll use needle-nose pliers to disconnect parts of the latch assembly. If the door has a lock cylinder, the mechanic will use a flat-head screwdriver to disconnect it from the door latch and handle.

Step 3: Remove the Broken Door Handle

They’ll unscrew the bolts of the broken car door handle and slide it out.

Step 4: Install the New Handle 

The mechanic will position the new handle and reattach all electrical connectors and cables of the interior panel.  After testing its functions, they’ll screw the bolts to secure the replacement handle and reattach the inner door panel.

Wondering how much a car door handle replacement will cost you?
Let’s find out.

How Much Does a Door Handle Repair Cost?

An exterior car door handle replacement will cost you between $100 and $500. Meanwhile, an interior handle replacement can cost around $70 and $300. Repair costs for a broken handle also depend on your insurance cover, car model, manufacturing year, labor charges, and the handle type your car uses.

Next, let’s explore the various types of exterior handles available in the market and how they differ. 

What Are the Different Types of Exterior Handles Available?

The exterior handle is fixed on the outside of the car door you use to open the door. Some common types of external handles include:

  1. Touch handle: It uses your fingerprint to unlock the car door. 
  1. Pull-out handle: You grab and pull it towards yourself to unlock the passenger door.  
  1. Push-down handle: Known as flush door handle, you push one end of the handle with your thumb to elevate the other end and grab it to open the door. 
  1. Trigger handle: You pull a trigger placed on the inside of the exterior handle. However, this variant was discontinued due to safety issues.  
  1. Pull-up handle: You pull the handle up to unlock the door. This handle was common before the pull-out handle replaced it.  

Note: These types apply to indoor handles as well. 

So, how do you choose the perfect car door handle?

What Factors Should You Consider Before Selecting a Door Handle?

Every handle may not suit your car, but you can select the right one if you keep these points in mind:

  1. The material and its durability: Choose a handle made of metal or durable plastic. Materials like fiber-reinforced Polyamide (PA) or Polybutylene Terephthalate (PBT) can withstand daily use and local weather.   
  1. Compatibility: Ensure the chosen replacement handle fits and functions correctly with your vehicle’s specific make, model, and door mechanism.    
  1. Design: Look for a design that fits your car’s aesthetics and ensure the front and rear door handles are identical.
  1. Ease of use: Ensure the car door handle is accessible to everyone. For instance, push-down handles are difficult for kids to access as the handles lie flat on the door. 
  1. Local reviews: Check product reviews on reliable websites like BBB, Yelp, and Google. 

If you’re unsure about buying a new handle, ask an auto repair mechanic for advice.

Still have questions? 
Let’s answer them next.

3 FAQs on Car Handles

Here are the answers to some common queries about car door handle repair:

1. What Are the Signs of Malfunctioning Car Door Handles?

You should get your handles fixed if:  

  1. The door doesn’t open as the parts inside start breaking, making it difficult to unlatch the door.
  2. The door handle is loose or wobbly. 
  3. The driver or passenger door needs more effort to open as the handle slips and fails to unlock the door smoothly.

2. What Causes a Car Handle to Break Down? 

Car door handles are durable but not everlasting. A few reasons why you can end up with a broken door handle include:

  1. Physical damage during accidents or severe impacts from foreign objects
  2. Wear and tear with daily use
  3. Low-quality aftermarket handles 
  4. Corroding metal fittings of the door handle 

3. How Can You Extend the Lifespan of Your Car Handle?

Some ways to care for your door handles are:

  1. Open and close car doors gently to avoid breaking the handle with excess force.
  2. Check handles frequently for signs of wear, loose components, or damage.
  3. Use a gentle cleaner to clean the dirt buildup on and around the handle to reduce wear and tear.
  4. Lubricate the metal and moving parts routinely to prevent corrosion and ensure smooth movement.
  5. Get professionals to inspect the door mechanisms and handles during car repair and maintenance service.

Tip: Routine car repair and maintenance can prolong the life of car parts. 

Unlock Easy Car Repairs with AutoNation Mobile Service    

A shaky or broken handle is not just inconvenient but can also be a safety hazard during emergencies. That’s why you should avoid delaying car door handle repair.  

But if replacing it yourself seems too cumbersome, don’t worry!
That’s where AutoNation Mobile Service comes in.

We’re a trustworthy mobile auto repair and maintenance service offering easy online bookings and a 12-month |12,000-mile warranty on every car repair. 

Contact us to get a new door handle installed or a brake service done right from your driveway.