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We fixed it! Oh yes, we did. And saved a pile of money to boot.

What is “it”? That would be the door on my van, which we fixed by replacing this:


In case you’re wondering, that thing in the picture is a broken door handle. One day, I went to open Zoe’s door as I usually do, and the handle just snapped. Unfortunately, it’s made of plastic, and the piece that broke rendered the handle useless.

Thankfully, that particular handle was for the sliding door, which meant that we could easily reach in through the front door and open the sliding door from the inside. This was especially fortunate because the handle broke right before vacation, and we had to open the sliding door using alternate means the whole time we were away. It would have been far more aggravating to deal with a broken front door for two weeks.

There’s always a bright side, isn’t there?

Anyways, after the handle broke, I called around to see how much a new handle would cost. Toyota was willing to sell me a color-matched handle for a mere $160. Yikes. How exactly you can charge $160 for a plastic door handle and keep a straight face is sort of beyond me.

Toyota also graciously offered to install this $160 door handle for just $100 more. Whee! The dealership is just the best place to get parts and service, isn’t it??

Riiight. Instead of scheduling an appointment with the dealership, I hopped onto the internet and found that a primed black door handle could be purchased for $30. That’s more like it. Of course, if I owned a white van or a blue van or really, any van that wasn’t black, this wouldn’t have worked too well. But, joy of joys, mine is black, so the primed handle matches just fine. My other handles are actually painted, sure, but the paint is peeling off of them. So, I figured a primed handle wouldn’t be any more unsightly than the existing handles, which look like this.


When the part arrived, my husband and I consulted our handy-dandy Haynes manual (love this thing!) to figure out how to take the door apart.


It turns out that we just had to pop the plastic off the inside of the door, unscrew the old handle, screw in the new one, attach it to the power-lock system, and put the plastic back onto the door. Easy-peasy (especially since my husband did most of the work!). I think it took all of about 15 minutes.

It’s the best looking handle on my van now.


And what makes it even more beautiful to me is that it cost $30 instead of $260. That’s some gorgeous savings right there.

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Monday 29th of August 2011

Thanks for your post. It is a great experience and practice for you, and for the people who are not an expert in car maintenance. I have also D.I.Y maintenance with my Toyota. It turns out that if anyone has the perseverance to do it yourself maintenance. They only need to follow the repair manual to fix/ maintain their cars. It is easy and short time rather than the long time mechanic repairing. After finished all the fixing, It is giving out a successful and joyful to the people who totally D.I.Y their car and save a large amount of money from their work. Congratulation you did it, keep going with your D.I.Y car maintenance. It is a wonderful experience share with everyone and encourages D.I.Y maintenance.


Saturday 14th of November 2009

Gosh, Dee. I'd be ticked off too! I hate the repair part of dealerships.

It's really not too bad to install yourself. Go online and order a Haynes manual for your van if you need some help. There are pictures of how to take the door apart in the Haynes manual.

Dee Trope

Saturday 14th of November 2009

This sounds sooo familiar!! Our 2001 Seinna passenger outside door handle has been broken for a while now. It was still attached, but has slowly been broken off piece by piece, even though we have the kids all get in on the other side of the van. I felt so bad, a friend's little girl, who wasn't aware the handle was broken tried to get in one day and broke it clean off.

So my hubby wanted to finally get it fixed. He had me call the dealership and get a quote on how much it would cost to get it fixed. About two weeks ago I set up an appointment to go in today to have it fixed. I was told that they had the part in stock and that it would cost $234 and change to have it fixed. I was choking on this price but my husband told me to go ahead and make the appointment.

So I took it in to get it done today. The guy I spoke to on the phone was not there, they couldn't find our appointment on the schedule. Then the guy, who looked barely out of his teens, looked and said, "This is Friday's schedule! No wonder we can't find her appointment!" Then I was directed in to a guy to schedule my service, (which I had already scheduled!!). He tells me "Oh that part is not in stock. Do you want to order it?" Knowing that my hubby wanted it done, I told him to go ahead. In the process the price magically morfed into $264 and change!! WHAT??? I asked the guy why it was more than when I first called and he just mumbled something about the cost of the part and the cost of the service.

Anyway, to shorten this long story, my hubby was NOT happy when I told him they jacked up the price and we had to order the part. He went online and found it for less as well. I think he is going to try installing it himself.


Monday 9th of November 2009

Thanks for this post! I recently broke the side mirror off of my car. I don't know why, but it would never have occurred to me to try to fix it myself if I hadn't read this post. I ordered a new one off of Amazon and my husband (who is not handy at all) installed it. Saved me about $250 and all the time of driving to the dealership, etc. Thanks!!


Thursday 5th of November 2009

Yay! I did the same thing with my driver side mirror. I live on a street where people cut into the parking lanes to get into the turning lane going to the train station. My mirror was hit before and it cost me $200. It was hit again and I ordered the mirror. The original is remote but I decided to go with the manual one. I just tucked the cables that control the mirror from inside into the door panel. The remote hook up would have been complicated. It cost me $31.95 to get the mirror and my labor. I saved $168.00.

I got my info from an internet website that gives advice on making car repairs for Ford vehicles. Gotta love the internet!

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