You might want to know what to look out for when removing the door panel. You might also want to know how to safely remove parts like trim pieces without damaging them. This guide has general tips on how to remove a door panel, and how to remove them from specific models.
How to Remove a Door Panel from Any Vehicle
Tools to Help Remove a Door Panel
Interior Trim Removal Kit
Interior trim removal tools will help you with each step in removing a door panel without breaking any components. These tools are made of a soft plastic material to prevent scratches and damage to the panel when removing parts like push-pins and trim pieces. This set has different styles with most of them double-ended to help remove different kinds of clips. These tools can help you pull off the door panel easily, and help you remove multiple door panels from different models.
Door Panel Removal Tool
A door panel removal tool can help remove push-pins from the door and door panel. This tool is spring-loaded with a cushion grip, and it’s designed specifically to help with removing door clips, as shown in this featured video.
These tools will also help with removing the door panel depending on how it’s installed
General Tips to Remove a Door Panel
Find All the Fasteners and Trim Pieces, and Use Small Picks
Before removing the door panel, find all of the fasteners and trim pieces that need to be removed. This can range from buttons covering screws on the door pull to trim pieces behind the door handle.
If you have access to small picks, use them to remove parts like trim pieces covering screws.
Don’t Pull or Push Too Hard
Don’t pull or push components of the door panel too hard. If a component feels like it’s breaking, ease up on the amount of force you’re using.
Wear Mechanic Style Gloves
Mechanic style gloves can protect your hands from the many sharp pieces of metal you’ll find behind the door panel. You also won’t leave grease all over the door panel if they’re clean.
To Remove the Panel, Slide It Up or Pry It Off
You’ll find that door panels aren’t all fastened the same. The panels in some models need to be lifted up to be removed, and others can be pulled and pried off with a trim tool. You may find that some panels have pins that press into the door that the door panel remove tool is great for removing, and others may have metal slide pins.
If you’re unsure how your door panel is fastened, you can try pulling it up and off first to see if it needs to slide out. If it won’t slide up, pry around the edges to loosen the clips.
Disconnect All Wires Before Removing the Entire Door Panel
Once the door panel is loose and disconnected from the door, you’ll still need to disconnect any wiring harnesses or cables that are connected to parts like the window switch and door handle. If you pull the door panel away too quickly and forcefully, you could damage these parts.
How to Remove a Door Panel from Your Specific Model
The general tips above can help you with a lot of door panels in different models, but you can also use these resources to remove door panels from a specific model.
Use 1A Auto’s How to Videos
We have thousands of how-to videos in the 1A Auto video library to help you with repairs in specific models. You can learn how to remove parts like the door panel, side view mirror, and more by following our expert mechanic’s step-by-step instructions. You can also find basic, general, advanced tips, and more.
Find a Model in a Junkyard
You can try a test-run on models in a nearby junkyard. You may be able to find a specific year or generation you’re looking for, or a model that’s very similar to the one you’ll be working on.
Find Information of a Vehicle of the Same Generation
Vehicles in the same generation are often designed the same. This means the same model of certain years will have the same or a similar process, and sometimes the information regarding the install and removal of one year or model can help you with another. This explains why the same steps can apply to different makes and models.
For example, if you want to find out how to remove the door panel from a 2001 Ford Explorer, you can find out how to do this by finding out the process for years 1995 to 2003, or for a Mercury Mountaineer in the same year range.
What Should I Do If Parts Break?
It’s common to break components when removing the door panel, but here’s what you can do if this happens
Glue Them Together
If a part like a trim bezel breaks after being pried out, two-part plastic epoxy can help keep the broken plastic together.
Find Replacement Clips at a Nearby Parts Store
If a door panel clip breaks, you can still fix the problem. Door panel clips are inexpensive to replace, and you can find new ones at a local parts store. They also have the same design in a lot of models, so it likely won’t be difficult to find some replacements.