How To Replace A VW Door Handle

Replacing a door handle is a project you can do yourself. Even if you've never replaced a car door handle before, you'll be able to tackle the project like a pro after going through this tutorial.

The Tools You'll Need 

Handle tools

Image Credit: HumbleMechanic

Before starting the replacement job, you would need to get the following tools:

  • Wrench set
  • Flat blade screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Socket set

Ordering a Replacement Door Handle

Replacement handle

Of course, you would need a replacement door handle before you can proceed with the job. The first decision you have to make is whether to buy an OEM or aftermarket door handle. We strongly recommend getting OEM replacement door handles because OEM handles offer much more value than aftermarket handles.

If you decide to get an OEM replacement door handle, look no further than our catalog of genuine OEM Volkswagen door handles.

Steps to Follow

The replacement process basically involves removing the door panel, removing the door handle, and then installing the new door handle. The process varies slightly between VW models, but the general overview is the same.

The list of steps below is based on the Golf model. You can try to follow this tutorial with another VW model, but the door panel removal process may be a bit different.

Here's how you can replace an exterior door handle on a VW vehicle:

  1. Pop the hood.
  2. Disconnect the ground cable from the negative battery terminal. You can do this by loosening the retaining bolt and then pulling the clamp off the negative terminal.
  3. Open the door with the faulty door handle.
  4. Tape the window to the door frame to ensure that the window stays up.
  5. Carefully pull off the triangular trim panel above the door panel (on the opposite side of the side mirror). You can do this by prying it loose with a screwdriver.
  6. Carefully turn the interior door lock knob counterclockwise to unscrew it.
  7. With the flat blade screwdriver between the window handle and the spacer beneath it, carefully slide the spacer away from the knob. When the handle is disengaged from the regulator, remove the handle and the spacer.
  8. Find the armrest handle cover and then pry it away from the armrest with a flat blade screwdriver.
  9. Disconnect the wiring harness from the power window switch (if there’s one).
  10. There are two screws holding the armrest in place. Remove them both, and then remove the armrest.
  11. Insert the flat blade screwdriver between the door panel and the steel door frame. Carefully slide it around and undo all of the plastic clips you feel.
  12. Lift up the door panel and then pull it off the door.
  13. Unplug any wires that are still connected to the door panel.
  14. There’s a door handle retaining bolt that can be accessed from the interior of the door. Remove it.
  15. Carefully slide the door handle forward.
  16. Insert the key into the lock and then turn it 90 degrees to separate the handle from the lock actuating lever. At this point, the handle should come off completely.
  17. Install the new door handle and then reassemble the door in the reverse order of removal.

Got any questions about the door handle replacement process? Contact us and we'll assist you.