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How to Replace Front Door Handle and Lock Cables 00-07 Toyota Highlander

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How to Replace Front Door Handle and Lock Cables 00-07 Toyota Highlander

Created on: 2018-03-15

How to repair, install, fix, change or replace a broken or snapped off Exterior / Outside door handle and door lock and door latch cables on 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07 Toyota Highlander.

  1. step 1 :Removing the Door Panel
    • Pry up the master window switch with a trim tool
    • Disconnect the wiring harness
    • Remove the switch
    • Pry up the door pull with a trim tool
    • Pry off the sail panel with a trim tool
    • Pry off the trim door on the door handle
    • Remove the Phillips screw from the door handle
    • Pop the trim off from the door handle
    • Pres in the push clip and remove it from the door panel
    • Remove the Phillips screw from the door panel
    • Pry out the edges of the door panel
    • Lift the door panel up and off of the door
    • Disconnect the courtesy light
  2. step 2 :Removing the Interior Door Handle
    • Remove the 10mm bolt from the interior door handle
    • Slide the interior door handle out of the door
    • Pop the lock cable out of the door handle
    • Lift the cable ball out of the lock
    • Pop the handle cable out of the door handle
    • Lift the cable out of the handle
  3. step 3 :Removing the Front Exterior Door Handle
    • Peel off the vapor barrier with a razor blade
    • Press the door lock cylinder rod clip up
    • Remove the rubber plug from the side of the door
    • Loosen the captured T-30 Torx screw
    • Pry out the door lock cylinder with a trim tool
    • On the outside of the door, push the door handle backwards
    • Remove the rubber grommets
    • Remove the handle
  4. step 4 :Removing the Front Door Lock Actuator
    • Remove the three T30 Torx screws from the door lock actuator
    • Remove the 10mm bolt from the door lock actuator
    • Unclip the cables from the door
    • Disconnect the wiring harness
    • Remove the 10mm bolt from the run channel
    • Remove the door lock actuator
  5. step 5 :Removing the Door Handle and Lock Cables
    • Remove the Phillips screw
    • Remove the plastic cover
    • Pull the lock cable straight up and disconnect it
  6. step 6 :Installing the Door Handle and Lock Cables
    • Connect the cables to the actuator
    • Press the cover on
    • Tighten the Phillips screw
  7. step 7 :Installing the Front Exterior Door Handle
    • Press the grommets into place
    • Slide on the door handle
    • Insert the door lock cylinder into place
    • Tighten the T30 Torx screw to the door lock cylinder
    • Press on the rubber plug
    • Press on the vapor barrier
  8. step 8 :Installing the Front Door Lock Actuator
    • Insert the front door lock actuator into place
    • Tighten the 10mm bolt to the door lock actuator
    • Tighten the T30 Torx screws to the door lock actuator
    • Clip the cables to the door
    • Connect the door lock cylinder rod clips to the rods
    • Connect the wiring harness
    • Press the vapor barrier on
    • Tighten the 10mm bolt to the run channel
  9. step 9 :Installing the Interior Door Handle
    • Hook the cable into the door handle
    • Clip the cable on the door handle
    • Insert the cable ball into the lock
    • Pop the lock cable into the door handle
    • Insert the door handle onto the door
    • Tighten the 10mm bolt to the door handle
  10. step 10 :Installing the Door Panel
    • Connect the courtesy light
    • Press the door panel onto the door
    • Tighten the Phillips screw to the panel
    • Press in the push clip
    • Press on the door handle trim
    • Tighten the Phillips screw to the door handle
    • Press on the trim door
    • Press on the door pull
    • Press on the sail panel
    • Connect the wiring harness to the master window switch
    • Press the master window switch into the door panel

Tools needed for replacement

  • General Tools

    Razor Blade / Gasket Scraper


  • Ratchets & Related

    Socket Extensions


  • Screwdrivers & Related

    Flat Blade Screwdriver

    Phillips Head Screwdriver

  • Sockets - Metric

    10mm Socket

  • Specialty Tools

    Trim Tool Set

  • Star Drivers & Sockets

    T30 Driver

Installation Video
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Hi, I’m Mike from 1A Auto. We’ve been selling auto parts for over 30 years!

Open the door. To remove the master window switch we're going to use the plastic trim tool. You can get these from Otherwise, you'd have to use a flat bladed screwdriver, and you could damage your trim with the hard metal. These are nice, soft plastic, and then kind of get underneath here, it's a little tight fit, and kind of slide it to the middle. There's a clip, we're going to push in this way, and at the same time pry up to pull the master window switch out of the door panel. Put this aside here. Now you can unlock the connector. There’s a tab here, push down and pull out on the switch to pull it out. Put the master window switch aside.

We need to remove this little door handle pull. This little pocket here, where your hand goes. Use the plastic prying tools to kind of go underneath to kind of catch the metal and then pop it up, just like that, and if this side doesn't come, you have to do the same thing, there's a similar clip, pop it up, pull it out, see what you were doing is you were going underneath, pushing in on this metal tab to unlock it.

To remove this black trim cover, take the plastic prying tool, reach in here, just pop it out, and pull that right out. You need a small flat blade screwdriver to carefully open this little door here to expose the screw that's behind it. Use a Phillips head screwdriver to remove the screw. Take the plastic prying tool, there's a slight opening just above the lock, push the plastic prying tool up, and then pop it up off, pull it down so it pulls down from this one. That needs to go out this way, and then you'll have to move this. So you're unhooking it by going this way, and then you're just feeding it off the lever.

To remove this push clip, actually push in on the center. It unlocks it, and then you can take the other side of your plastic prying tool and get underneath it and pry it right out, then to reuse it. Just push it right back out through, and put that aside. Remove the Phillips head screw that was inside our opening for our little cup here, pull handle. Using a Phillips head screwdriver.

The rest of the door panel is held on with clips along the edge. As you pull this off you will need to unplug the courtesy light that should be the only thing that is plugged into the door panel. You just kind of reach underneath, and if you need to, you can use a plastic trim tool, but there's a little bit of a finger hold here I can get it in, get my fingers in and pull out, and we're going to lift up off of the steel part of the door, the door panel kind of hooks around the top, so lift up and straight out. And the only thing plugged in, I can turn this, so I can see it, is the courtesy light. You’re going to push in on the lock, pull it right out, we'll put our door panel aside.

Remove the door handle and lock. There's a 10mm bolt here. I'm going to remove that. Bolt out, pull this off, it slides out of the steel panel. There's a hook here and a hook here. Flip it over, so the door opening handle is this green one and it's going into the handle there. We can pull it out of the plastic. Just pop it straight out, and then when it comes out, you'll just push the cable up and out. Then for the lock one, it's the same thing. Just push it up and out, and then unhook it.

To remove the vapor barrier, it's stuck to the door panel with butyl tape, it's forever sticky. You want to take a razor blade, and sometimes you have to gently pull it and then cut it a little bit to get it to separate. We should be able to reuse the vapor barrier, and it'll restick to this butyl tape. Just work your way all the way around, peeling, cutting it. I'm just going to feed this harness out of the opening in here.

Be very careful to lay it sticky side up and then reuse it. There's two actuator rods inside here, so the one with the yellow moves whenever you pull the door handle. The red one is for the lock cylinder. They can be difficult to get off. If you can reach in and push the lock off and unlock it and then pull the rod out of the lock cylinder, that's very helpful. This one seems to be stuck, I'm going to unlock both of them, and then to remove the door handle, or loosen the door handle first and see if I can get them off.

So reach down, unlock the red one, push it up, and then pull it out. Pop this cap off, plastic prying tool. There's one of the T-30 Torx screws, and the other one is in here. That actual goes right between the shield here. I'm going to loosen it. Now the second shield, capture it so it can't fall. That one is also capturing. With that loose, we'll need the plastic prying tools. There's the lock cylinder assembly. Hold the door handle towards the back of the car, then lift it up and out. Take these little gaskets out, so they don't get lost, and remove the door latch.

There's three T-30 Torx screws here. Unbolt door lock actuator, that should lift up and out of the door panel. I'm going to unclip the cables and feed them out. Now, normally your door latch assembly would stay in the vehicle if you get the control rod off of there. I wasn't able to, it was stuck. So it's coming out all as one piece. Going to unplug it, push the plug in, pull it down, push that lock in there, and pull it down.

Now I'm going to unbolt this here for the window run track. Remove this run track out of the way slightly, just sliding the whole assembly out. Normally in the vehicle, you can unlock this by pulling it up, and this has a bit of a rounded bump to it. Towards the end of it, and you should be able to push it out, but this one's kind of stuck. I'm going to use a little right angled pick. I'll lift up on the yellow, and at the same time pull the metal out. That should be able to happen in the car, but this one was really stuck.

To swap the cables over, I'll remove this screw. Put that aside. There's a little tab here. You push that out, and up off this tab here. And this whole protective cover will lift right off. Undo the lock cable—just pull it straight up and unhook it. Pull it straight up. And, pull around it this way, pull it straight up and off.

So, you can't mix these cables back up. You can't mix these cables up, they have two different ends. They're only going to fit in one way. So, this one is going to fit in just like that, slide in place, clip it in. And, this one is going to go in and down, and then clip it on. We'll reinstall the cover. The rods are going to go through this opening here. We'll lay this down on top and clip it over. And, then in place there. Put the screw back in.

Take our inner door handle. Slide it in place and try to hold it up. With our captured screw, if I go forward a little bit you can see, there's the screw there, needs to go into this little grommet piece here. This will sit like that. Get the T-30 Torx in here. Get threaded into that plastic grommet. There you go, if it's tight, just stop it's just going into plastic. Don't forget to reinstall your grommets. These go underneath the door handle. They just have little clips, or little tabs, so they're going to slide in, stay in place.

This one will go this way. Install the door handle this way, and at the same time you're going to sit it here and go in here. Push it in and then it's going to push forward. Lock in place. Lock cylinder's going to go in. Push it in place. Now hole the lock cylinder by hand and then tighten the torx screw. Put the rubber plug back in.

Now reinstall the door lock actuator. You feed it in. I'm going to start with the wires, or the cables, and then control rods and maneuver it around. Get those out. That's where they need to go. And this is going to have to lift up. And the run channel is down here. You grab that and lift it up and carefully flex it. It did slide down the rubber when I took it out, so be careful you don't pull it all the way off.

So I'm going to get this up in place, so at the same time I'm also guiding these controls rods up. Right here is the bolt hole of this little hook. So I'm going to go into this opening here. That'll hang just like that for now. Slide the run channel back and push it up. That will come over here and line up, if it doesn't line up with this opening here where it was bolted. You can slide it down a little bit, or up. We need to go up.

There it is. Put the bolt in, and I'm just going to thread this in lightly. I'll come back and tighten it afterwards. Reinstall the torx screws. If you need to, you can go in and push this up against the door panel. I'll start to tighten these, not too tight. Just get them until they get tight and then stop. Just like that.

I'm going to recheck inside the door. I'm going for the red one here. You're going to push it in to the opening. Then push that down. It'll lock in there. Lift up the yellow, push it in, and then push it down to lock it.

Put the old screw connector back in. It'll click when it locks in place. And reroute our cables back into the clips. They just snap over, then down through here. I'll reinstall the vapor barrier. You can tell by the orientation of the holes which way it goes, so these two holes match up with these two here, and then these two openings match up with these two here, so I know that'll go up. Then also the slip there is to go around the cables. I'm going to feed the wire through for the courtesy light.

Now I'm going to start in this corner. And this stuff is just always sticky. Put it back in place and just push it down. It'll want to stick to everything. Now I'll lift up the cables underneath. Line it up with the holes, and just go along the outer edge and push it right back in. I mean don't be worried about getting it perfect, that's good enough right there. Tighten up the run channel.

Reconnect the door handle. The inside door handle with the lock one. So the white one went in the outer one. It just hooked in, and then push right down in, and the green one, that hooks down in place there, and it looks like this actually is broken a little bit. It'd have a tab over it that would lock it. I'm just going to push it down in place, just like that. These two tabs here, they're going to go into the door panel this way. I'm going to push it down.

There are two openings in the handle. This one is for when the door panel is on, the screw will go through that and the cap will go over it. This one is the one you access with the door handle off, and the 10 mm self-tapper will go in here.

If one of these clips get stuck, you can just take a trim panel tool, pull it in here, pop it out and put it back in your door panel and reuse it. This went in down here—kind of push them in place. Plug in the courtesy light and there we go. The top of the door panel is kind of curved—it's going to hook over the metal frame, so I'm going to start by going up in here. It doesn't matter if the window is up or down. Hang it over it, and then we'll get it in place. Make sure that your master window switch harness is accessible, and now we can push it into place on the clips. It will snap into place. Just go around the door, and push them in place. Put a push clip back in.

Reinstall the screw that was under the door pull handle. Reinstall this door handle pull, the arrow points toward the inside, push it in, just like that. Reinstall this cover. It has a hook that's going to hook into here in the black plastic, so we're going to lift that up and slide it this way. Get it hooked first, and then push this in and we reinstall the screw.

Reinstall this black A-pillar cap. It just slides in place and then snaps in. Put the harness back in. It will click when it locks in place. There's a tab here that will slide underneath, and then this metal tab is going to push into this opening here.

Thanks for watching. Visit us at for quality auto parts, fast and free shipping, and the best customer service in the industry.

Tools needed for replacement:

    General Tools

  • Razor Blade / Gasket Scraper
  • Pick

  • Ratchets & Related

  • Socket Extensions
  • Ratchet

  • Screwdrivers & Related

  • Flat Blade Screwdriver
  • Phillips Head Screwdriver

  • Sockets - Metric

  • 10mm Socket

  • Specialty Tools

  • Trim Tool Set

  • Star Drivers & Sockets

  • T30 Driver

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