Friday, December 30, 2022

A secret fix for Toyota door handles

Door handle in front of Toyota Camry door.
I never thought I would have to repair my Toyota.

 I don't mind repairing my old Royal Enfield Bullet. That's just part of owning a vintage Royal Enfield. 

I do mind having to repair my Toyota. 

It's no excuse that my 2012 Toyota Camry is not new. Toyota's reputation for reliability, no matter how old the car, is why I bought it. 

But annoyance turned to respect when I discovered that Toyota anticipated that this very repair would be necessary, and made it easy. The engineer's shocking foresight fully restores the company's reputation in my eyes. 

Here's what happened: My wife ripped the door handle off the passenger-side front door.

No, she's not an Amazon. What I think happens is that the driver (usually me) often doesn't remember to click the fob twice to undock all the doors, since the driver's door alone unlocks with a single click.

The result of this is that the passenger pulls the door handle and, not feeling the lock give way, continues to pull hard until the mechanism gets a powerful jolt.

Eventually, the plastic door handle snaps off inside the car door, at its fulcrum.

Ordinarily, I'd expect to have to disassemble the entire interior side of the door to access and repair or replace the door handle. But no!

Toyota anticipated that this would happen. And so, on the front doors it provided a small hole, visible only when the door is open, and sealed with a grommet. Stick a tool into this hole and loosen a single screw and the door handle comes off, ready to be replaced.

Access hole in side of Toyota Camry door.
Loosening one screw inside this hole made it easy.

One single screw is all it takes. But get this: the screw doesn't have to be somehow retrieved from inside the hole, and it won't drop into the body of the door (gone forever) because two tiny plastic arms keep it from falling.


But wait a second. If Toyota is so smart, why did it not provide a similar shortcut on the rear doors. Don't their door handles break off too?

Sure they do. They're essentially identical and probably no stronger. But, being on the rear doors, they are surely pulled on less often. Unlike the front door handles, the rear ones probably will last the lifetime of the car, saving the cost of drilling the hole and plugging it with a grommet.

They really thought this out.

Now I am disappointed that simply gluing the handle back together with Super Glue didn't fix it. The first passenger who didn't know to "baby" it immediately broke it off.

Toyota no doubt expects me to order an intact replacement handle. Unfortunately, these don't seem to be available in the exact color of my car (True Blue) and they aren't cheap.

So I'm working on a solution that will make a sterner repair. Wish me luck.

My thanks to YouTuber TROY-NEIL Findley, who posted a video alerting me to the "secret" hole in the Toyota door that makes this repair a breeze. All you need is a No. 30 Torx bit to loosen the star screw.


  1. Happy New Year to you and yours, David! Thanks for another 12 months of interesting, fun posts!

  2. Anonymous12/11/2023

    I dropped the bolt. And can't get it. How do I order a new one


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