But it’s just a door handle! That’s how some people brush off a car door handle from other ‘important’ parts of a car. It is one of those parts that you expect to function properly for as long as you have the vehicle.
You can’t understate the importance of a car door handle since it is one of the most utilised parts of a car. As such, it becomes vulnerable to wear and, ultimately, dysfunction. It can become loose or get stuck in the locked position prompting a car door handle replacement.
Here’s what you should know before buying one.
Questions to Ask Before Buying a Car Door Handle Replacement
1. Can any car door handle work for my car?
Each car door handle is unique to the type of car for which it was designed. A handle will only function as designed when fitted to the vehicle it was intended for by its manufacturer. You must identify the right car handle for your car model before you make the purchase.
Ensure that you have as much information as you can about the product before you buy, including its installation procedure and material. You may also try your luck on aftermarket car door handle replacements labeled to be compatible to your car model and make.
2. What are car door handles made of?
Most car door handles are made of durable plastic, aluminium alloy, magnesium alloy, and zinc alloy. Materials will vary in quality, durability and price.
3. Does it come with a lock cylinder?
Before shopping for a car door handle replacement, make sure you know if yours came with a lock cylinder. This will guide your decision on which key option to choose. You can opt to have the old key or get a separate new key for the car handle. Your dealer should help you determine if your door handle comes with a lock cylinder or not.
4. What about cheap car door handles?
It may seem appealing to settle for a cheap car door handle replacement to save money. However, don’t be tempted to settle for a poor-quality car door handle just to save money because it may only cost you more in the long run. It can present the same problem in a few months or weeks, bringing you back to square one. Worse, a low-quality car door handle may jeopardise your safety and security.
5. Should you repair or replace a faulty car door handle?
It depends on what’s damaged. If it’s only a disconnected or loose rod or cable, then it’s something you or your mechanic can tinker with and fix. If it involves a broken lock or mechanism, then you may need to replace the damaged part or the whole door handle.
Whether to DIY the repair/replacement or not depends on how handy you are around the garage. This is the "cheaper" option. However, if you are not sure about it (in the case of automatic door locks, for instance), then you should seek expert assistance to avoid worsening the situation.
It is advisable that you immediately resolve your car door handle issues as soon as you notice signs of dysfunction to avoid a more costly resolution.
Procedure for Replacing a Car Door Handle
If you are good at DIY car procedures, this should come easy for you.
You will need these tools: the new car door handle (obviously), masking tape, a rubber mallet, and flathead and Philips screwdrivers. The steps are as follows.
Step 1: Detach the Interior Door Panel
Identify the fasteners and use the appropriate screwdriver to detach the door panel from the door. Taking a picture prior would help you remember details once you reassemble the panel. Also, use the masking tape to label the relevant parts where the pieces are to be fixed.
Step 2: Disconnect the Car Door Handle
There are mechanisms within the car door's interior, which you will notice after step 1. Carefully disconnect these parts from the door handle and use the masking tape to label them for easy reassembly.
Step 3: Change the Car Door Handle
This stage requires extra attention, so have a manual with you if you are not sure. But generally, first, you need to clean the panel edges, then attach the new car door handle by installing back the mechanism. This is a critical stage that will require your focus.
Step 4: Test Car Door Handle Functionality
Of course, you will need to check if your installation is successful by testing whether the car door handle functions properly. Anything less would mean that the installation has not been successful and that you may need to repeat the process.
Step 5: Reattach the Car Door Panel
Once you have confirmed that the door handle has been installed successfully, you may then reassemble the door panel. At this point, you must tighten the screws or plastic clippings as a protective measure for your car's interior. Use the rubber mallet to reinforce the connections.
Driving a car with a damaged or faulty car door handle poses risks both to your safety and security. You need it working to ensure that when you lock it inside, no intruder can get in. In emergencies, you don’t get delayed or trapped inside your car because of a problematic car door handle.
So, getting a new car door handle ASAP is not merely for convenience. The solution is simple, so there’s no reason to delay. Buy the correct car door handle replacement from your local car part dealer and follow the above procedure or bring your car to your go-to shop.
To save you the trouble of going around for parts, you may use our auto parts finder at Carpart.com.au. All you have to do is fill out a request form and provide all the details about your car (make, model, VIN) and the car door handle or other parts you need. Hit ‘send request’ and wait for quotes to come in. Easy. Fast. Free. Try it now!