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How can I reattach a car door handle?

I grabbed the handle to my passenger side door today and it just came right off. I’m really not sure why this happened! I need to find out how to reattach this thing. How do you fix a car door handle?

avatar
Chloe Jenkins · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
Since you have the original, the process of reattaching your car’s door handle should be relatively easy—so that’s a great start!
Keep in mind that if your door handle came off as a result of a collision or force outside of your control (weather, fallen tree limb, etc.), your car insurance may be able to cover the replacement if you have
collision
and/or
comprehensive coverage
on your policy.
If you do not, consider shopping for a new policy with the
Jerry
app. Jerry will gather competitive quotes from over 50 name-brand providers so you can get the coverage you need at a price you can afford.
If you’re certain that the damage to your door handle is not something your insurance can cover, start by finding a good place to work on your car. Then, gather the following supplies:
  • A Torx bit set
  • Socket wrench set
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Painter’s tape
Once you have the proper tools, you can get started on the handle replacement:
  1. Determine how your handle works. Study the handle and its place on the door to determine how it is attached. If your car has automatic door locks, there may be little levers that have to be connected—or even electrical connections if the car is equipped with a security system. If that’s the case, this could be a job for a mechanic.
  2. Locate the fasteners. These may be in plain sight, hidden by a piece of plastic or weatherstrip, or in the door jamb. Usually, they are not difficult to spot—so don’t worry!
  3. Cover your handle in painter’s tape. To protect the handle’s surface while you work, it’s a good idea to cover it up. Wrap the handle securely in painter’s tape.
  4. Remove the bolts. Using your Torx bits and screwdriver, remove any bolts or mechanisms on the door handle. There may be small wires for the alarm or a plastic rod to an automatic door lock. These can usually be popped off with your fingers.
  5. Install the door handle. Be sure to replace any rubber gaskets that were removed when you started. Slide the small end (front) of the handle into the slot first, then the larger end. Reconnect any links or electrical connections and guide the handle into the slot.
  6. Reinstall the fasteners. Return the fasteners to the appropriate places, but do not tighten them. Check to make sure that the handle is properly secured against the door. If there is a fastener on the front, install it now—but again, do not tighten it. When you feel confident that the handle is properly placed, go ahead and tighten the fasteners on the door jamb and then all the others.
Try the door handle. It should be all set! Also, test the lock and check the alarm to be sure you have everything hooked up properly.
MORE: How to repair loose car door panel upholstery
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