As well as replacing a door because it has become rusted or been damaged in
, you may also need to do this job before a respray. With the doors
off, the door pillars and inside surfaces can then be resprayed properly.
Some doors have a check strap to stop it from opening too far. This has to
be disconnected along with any electrical wiring (such as to the speakers) and
air ducting before you can take off the door.
The check strap is usually held on by a small nut and bolt or a clevis pin
and split pin combination. On some cars the end of the strap is fixed inside
the door pillar or
and you have to take off the kick-strip or door trim
panel (see Bodywork 8) to get at the fixings.
Once the fixing is revealed, remove the split pin and clevis pin or the nut
and bolt holding the strap. The strap may have an unattached end in the door
pillar - if so, after removing the fixed end, tie it up to stop it falling down
inside. If the strap is held with a pin crimped at one end, the best way to
remove it is to hacksaw it off.
With the check strap disconnected, open the door as far as it will go. Clean
the area around the hinges and mark their positions with a felt-tip pen to help
Hinge bolts and pins are often very tight so soak them with
and allow time for it to work in before you start to undo them. Then disconnect
any wiring from the door (see sideline overleaf for details).
Types of hinge
Below are the three common types of door hinge.
The hinges may be held to the door and door pillar by bolts or screws, or
they may be bolted on one side and welded on the other. Alternatively, they may
be welded to the car and door on both sides and held together by a hinge
If the fixings are screws, use a tight-fitting screwdriver to undo them. You
may need to use an impact driver fitted with a suitable end bit to release
If the fixings are bolts, use a socket spanner. If they are very tight,
again you can often use an impact driver on them by removing the adapter head
and fitting a socket directly to the end of the impact driver.
Removing a car door
Lift off door
If the hinges are held on by bolts or screws, loosen all the fixings on the
top hinge and take them out except for one, and then do the same for the lower
hinge. Then get a helper to hold the outer edge of the door while you remove
the last two fixings. When they are out, you can lift off the door.
Note whether there are any
fitted behind the hinges and how many. Keep
them somewhere safe. If your door is fixed with hinge pins, drive them out with
a drift while a friend holds the door.
Get a helper to hold the door while you roughly line up the hinges. Refit
any shims and then screw all the bolts or screws into place - don't do them up
Move the door until both hinges are in line with the marks you made earlier,
then fully tighten the bolts or screws. If the hinges are held by pins,
pins by carefully hammering them into place with a drift or the old pin.
Reconnect the check strap and check the action and fit of the door. Adjust
it if necessary. Finally reconnect any wiring and air ducts, and refit the trim
panel if you removed it.
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One of the main reasons why so many cars are stolen is that a thief, even if inexperienced, can force a standard car door lock in a matter of seconds, often using nothing more than a piece of coat-hanger wire.