The exterior driver’s side front door handle on my 2001 toyota camry cracked on one end and is now coming off. Is this a DIY project for a mechanically challenged car owner or is it off to the body shop for a pro? thanks much, jimmy_chop
If you’re willing to remove the inner door panel and work inside the door you may be able to replace the handle yourself, but there’s not a lot of room in there.
I’d want a service manual, such as Haynes, to guide me if I were doing this. The manual will show the location of all fasteners and make removing and reinstalling the inner door panel much easier.
If you are really mechanically challenged, and are really bad about breaking stuff you try to work on, this job may not be for you. A body shop is not necessary to do this repair. You will want to go to an auto body supply store and have a can of paint mixed up if you have a body color door handle. They can put it in an aerosol can for you, usually for around $20. Painting the new door handle, if necessary, should be easy and straightforward for most anybody. Installing it is not too difficult either, but if the door panel is not removed carefully, it can be damaged. Once the door panel is off, two nuts hold the handle on, and one clip for the push rod, maybe another one for the lock cylinder. I don’t remember on this vehicle. It then pulls out from the outside of the vehicle. If you doubt your abilities, any halfway decent shop can do this in less than an hour, probably for $50-100 labor.
Thank you for your detailed reply. Honestly, $100 sounds reasonable to me vs. hours of cursing and frustration. I can do some stuff, but this sounds like the type of project for the pro. Much rather go outside and just split wood this time of year. Appreciate it!
$40 for the labor
$105 for the part!
Worth it to try a salvage / junk yard? Or would I be putting a part on the car that will potentially break again sooner?
I’ve had really good luck getting door handles off cars at junkyards. I’ve done this more than a dozen times, and they seem to hold up just fine.