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Replacing an entire car door on a 2006 Toyota Corolla

We had an accident where we accidentally backed the car up with the driver’s side door open. The bottom of the door caught on a rock and bent the door forward ~30-45 degrees beyond it’s usual maximally open point. I’ve already removed the car door and looked at the frame, and I don’t see anything there that looks like a big deal, but I’m also not an expert on car bodies/frames. As far as I can tell, only the door, door hinges, and the front fender are damaged. I do see what looks like it could be some minor warping (i.e. the frame looks slightly curved as opposed to flat) at the points where the hinges attach, but it’s almost imperceptible. Ideally, I’d like to snag a door from a junk yard and just replace the whole thing, along with the fender. So, a few questions:

  1. What is the chance that there is invisible damage to the car frame?
  2. Is the minor shifting of the metal on the frame where the door hinges attach likely to affect the way the door closes when I attach a new door?
  3. If the minor shifting does affect the door opening/closing, is it likely that I’d have to take it to a body shop, or are minor frame distortions like this simple enough to fix on my own?


Having done this before, let me tell you about a few things to consider. The bolt holes to the hinges may not allow enough adjustment to make up for the bent column. You may need to widen/slot cut the holes for a more perfect fitting. If the holes become large enough, washers, and even fender washers can be used to maintain proper tightness. Always fit the door to the hinge side of the door, then fit the front fender to the leading edge of the door. A hammer is a good tool in case the hinge column is pulled out a bit. A slide hammer can help if it is pushed in a bit. Also, and most important, make sure to black-out or render the VIN tag and bar code of the donor door unreadable, since this VIN tag will be for the wrong car. Doing this will require a state agency or emissions station to use the VIN plate at the base of the windshield, ensuring the correct VIN is read. The repair will not be to body shop standards, but may be good enough for your peace of mind.

  1. chances are good there may a little damage to the hinge post, what you are calling the frame.
  2. if the hinge post is bent it will affect how the door closes. Not only will the door not tight enough, sometimes it will be bent vertically.
  3. it’s simple only if you know what to do, otherwise a trip to the shop will be in order.

This might be had to explain or to picture what I’m trying to illustrate.
If the post is slightly bent a socket can be placed between the hinge halfs so it is captured and wont fall down. Then gently push the door as if your closing it. This sometimes bends the post back and the door can then be closed properly.

I’ve worked on several doors and I would leave it to a body shop. The hinges are bent and need to be replaced and likely the hinge post needs to be straightend too. These are awfully hard to get adjusted right if you’ve never done it before and doors are hard to mount without the door holder or a couple guys. If you don’t get it right it’ll leak.

I would strongly imagine that once bolted on that door is going to require a lot of adjusting and tweaking to ever get it to fit and operate correctly. A lot could depend upon the amount of patience you have.

It sounds like a lot of you are saying that it would be good to take it to a body shop. In this case, would it still be reasonable to get the door and fender from a junk yard (assuming no damage to the door on the car from which it is salvaged)?

A salvage yard door and fender should not be a problem. Ideally, it would be great if you can find them in the same color and that eliminates any repainting costs.

If you decide to go with a body shop, let them handle it all, including getting the parts. They can source them cheaper than you can.

A few years ago, my wife backed into a light pole in a parking lot. Smashed the rear door and glass of a Suzuki Sidekick. I thought the damage was just to the door, so I called around and did an internet search to find a salvaged one. I found one in another State, but they wanted $400, not including shipping. My deductible was $500, so I let the body shop handle it. They estimated $1, 175. When I took it in, they called me back a few hours later to tell me it was ready. The door they got, at substantial discount probably from the same place I found, was a match for color and badging. They just needed to pop out a dent in the seam seal where the door mounted, and hung the door. Because the job was so easy, they sent a large refund to insurance and charged me $425 to deductible.

Why bother speculating? Hang a used door on there and see how it closes. If the pillar is out of position on the unit body then you will know soon enough then you will know that it is going to have to be straightened.

@rattlegas …I have to disagree with your assessment. There is no “speculation” involved here in my opinion. I don’t know what your degree of experience is but you must agree that when you “bend the door forward ~30-45 degrees beyond it’s usual maximally open point” you are going to do damage to the pillar.

@missileman It depends on how weak the door is. I had a guy with a 2001 S10 bend the door fully around to the fender and all it needed was a door and a hinge pin kit.

This guy needs to buy a door no matter what. Why not get on with it? The old door is already removed.

I suspect that it’ll end up in a body shop, but I’m inclined to agree with rattlegas. The OP has nothing to lose by giving it a shot. And if it doesn’t close to his satisfaction, it can always be brought to a body shop.

If you know anyone with a welder, a steel plate can be fabricated that matches the holes and the shape of the hinge. On this steel plate a steel pipe is welded. Mount the plate/pipe in place of the hinge, and now you can pull on the pipe to pull the sheet metal back into shape.