My girlfriend has a Toyota Corolla from the early 90’s. One by one the external doors are becoming inoperable, it is to the point where we have to open the car from the rear passenger door to get in. Took it a body shop adn got quoted $200 bucks to fix the driver side door, feel like there has got be a more cost effective way.
Exactly what’s wrong? Are the hinges shot? The latch mechanisms? Are the doors beaten up beyond proper alignment?
the actual handles and the car is a camry not corolla. The driver handle feels like a part of mechanism that actually releases the door has slipped on the exterior drivers door. thats the main issue we are trying to get fixed. The door hinges are in good shape they align fine, also the driver door can be opened from the inside.
Do you know whether or not the body shop pulled the interior panel and inspected? One important thing to keep in mind is just that a lot of the $$ you will spend on this will be labor. The interior door panel will have to come off. Given the car’s age, it is likely that all of the panel retainers will have to be replaced (not a big deal but more time and hassle). None of this is particularly complicated but it does involve plenty of time.
So the only real cost effective way is to do it yourself. For $20 at an auto parts store you can buy a basic repair manual for the car. It will tell you how to do things like pull the door panels. If you do this, have new panel retainers on hand and get them from an auto body shop or supply - don’t bother with the crap at the auto parts stores.
Other than that, you forego the windows and climb in and out.
The most likely problem is the plastic retainer that holds the latch rod to the door handle has broken and now the latch rod is no longer connected to the door handle. The fix is to remove the inner door panel to gain access to the door handle from the inside so the latch rod can be reconnected and a new plastic retainer can be installed.
This Car Is A Senior Citizen In “Car Years”. The Doors Becoming Achy And Stiff Is Just Mother Nature’s Way Of Telling You That It’s Almost Time For “The Home”.
Owning and operating an almost two decades old car is not for the timid. There are quite a few of these little things that will pop up. Get a manual and learn to DIY or makes plans to upgrade to a newer machine. Paying somebody else to keep the vehicle on the road is not a wise choice.
This girlfriend seems to be a “keeper”. Driving an old car instead of a newer one with payments says that she is good with money and likes to keep things around for a while.
Unfortunately, you may have to advise her to find a new boyfriend (please tell me you are one) that is better at doing simple jobs, like repairing a car door latch. She may be thinking along those lines, anyway.
$200 seems high. Your options are DIY or find a less expensive body shop.
For a DIY job, you need to remove the interior door panel. Find the screws which are hidden usually under plastic caps. Look at the interior grab area, and around the interior latch and window buttons. The perimeter of the panel will have clips securing it and you will likely break a few of them in removal. With panel off you’ll have to use a flashlight and see the door mechanism. At this point a repair manual is very handy. The access is poor light is poor and parts may have fallen off or are hanging where they are hard to see. It is like a puzzle figuring out what goes where if you’ve never done it before.
You may have to go to a Toyota dealer for some special plastic retainer parts.
The reason for the $200 quote is little jobs like this can become a real bear. The shop is going to make sure they turn a profit since dropping parts inside a door means you might not be able to fish them out.