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How to Replace a Toyota Exterior Door Handle

Are you a Toyota owner who’s looking to save money on an exterior door handle replacement? You came to the right place.

Not only is a broken exterior door handle a pain to deal with, but it can also be pretty dangerous. It may prevent you from entering your car in an emergency situation. It’s best to replace a broken door handle as soon as possible.

This tutorial has all the steps you need to pull off the replacement job successfully without needing to bring your car to the shop. Please note that this tutorial is based on the Camry, but it can still be applied to another Toyota model with minor changes.

1. Order an OEM Replacement Exterior Door Handle

The very first thing you need to do is to get an OEM replacement exterior door handle. We don’t recommend getting an aftermarket replacement handle for the reasons outlined here.

You can buy an OEM replacement door handle at a Toyota dealer, but expect to pay a jacked up price for it. However, you can find a genuine OEM Toyota door handle at wholesale pricing on our website. Look up your Toyota in our catalog to see all the door handles we have available for your car.

2. Gather Together All the Tools You’ll Need

In order for this replacement job to go smoothly, you need the following tools on hand:

  • 10mm socket, ratchet wrench, and extension
  • T25 Torx socket
  • Interior trim tool kit
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Side cutters
  • Gloves

3. Remove the Door Panel

To access the exterior door handle assembly, you will need to remove the door panel first. To do this:

  1. Open the door with the bad handle.
  2. With a plastic prying tool (from the interior trim tool kit), pop out the light fixture at the bottom of the door panel.
  3. Disconnect the light fixture and set it aside.
  4. Pop off the triangular cover opposite of the side mirror.
  5. Pop off the grab handle cover.
  6. Pull the interior door handle open and then pop out the trim behind it.
  7. On the inside edge of the door, pry out the two undercaps.
  8. Remove all of the screws from the inside edge of the door, the inside of the interior door handle and inside of the grab handle.
  9. Gently pop out the door panel and set it aside.

4. Remove the Door Handle

Handle pull

Image Credit: The Original Mechanic

To remove the exterior door handle, take the following steps:

  1. Carefully peel off some of the interior plastic door lining near the handle and leave it hanging.
  2. From the interior side of the door, you can see the exterior door handle through a large hole. If you look inside the hole, you’ll see a control rod that’s attached to the door handle assembly. Pop it off with your finger or a trim tool.
  3. On the rear edge of the door, remove the rubber plug.
  4. Inside the hole is a screw. Loosen it fully. The screw is "captured", so you can't fully remove it, or drop it.
  5. Carefully twist and wiggle the lock cover slightly to pop it off of the door. Then remove the lock cylinder.
  6. Slide the handle rearward out of the door.
  7. Pop the weather seals out of the door.
  8. Now you’re looking at two holes. There’s a little tab in each hole. Push down on both tabs and then pull out the whole door handle assembly from the large hole in the interior side.

5. Install the New Door Handle

To install the new door handle:

  1. Remove the threaded insert from the door handle assembly. Set it aside.
  2. Put the door handle assembly inside the door and line it up with the handle holes.
  3. Take the threaded insert and then put it through the left handle hole to hold the assembly in place.
  4. Clip the weather seals into place.
  5. Take the door handle and then slide it into place.
  6. Put the door lock cylinder back into place. Make sure that the four prongs slide into the door lock actuator.
  7. Put the door lock cover back into place.
  8. Screw in the bolt on the outer edge of the door and then cover the hole with the rubber plug.
  9. Install the other Torx bolt inside the door to hold the door handle assembly in place.
  10. Put the control rod back in place. There’s a gray clip. Put the rod into the gray clip and then push it into place. Pull the clip down and then lock it.
  11. Test the rod and the handle to see if it’s working correctly.

6. Put Everything Back Together

Now it’s time to put the door panel back together. To do this:

  1. Reinstall the plastic lining. The adhesive should still be good to use.
  2. Put the door panel back on the door. Make sure all of the clips on the panel click in place on the door.
  3. Reinstall all of the screws you removed before taking the door panel off.
  4. Put the undercaps back in place on the inside edge of the door.
  5. Put all of the plastic covers back in place.
  6. Reconnect the light fixture and then pop it back in place.

And you’re done! Please contact us with any questions or if you need assistance.

Written by Jason Lancaster