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Chevrolet Sonic Interior Door Panel Removal Guide
How to take off the interior door panels of a 1st generation 2012-2014 GM Chevy Sonic to upgrade the speakers.

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2013 Sonic Door Panel
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Trim Piece Behind Handle
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Pry Out With Screwdriver

This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the first generation (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016) Chevy Sonic in removing the plastic interior door panels in order to upgrade the OEM speakers, add soundproofing material, fix a faulty electrical switch or replace a broken power window motor.

Owners of other General Motors vehicles with similar interior door panels such as the Spark, Cruze, Malibu, Impala, Traverse, Tahoe, GMC Terrain, Acadia, Yukon, Buick Verano, Regal, LaCrosse, Encore, Enclave and Holden Barina may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The tools needed to take off the panels include a small flathead screwdriver, a 7mm socket with a 1/4" drive ratcheting wrench, and a standard flathead screwdriver or a panel removal tool.

The OEM door speaker is held in place by one 7mm screw.

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Trim Panel Removed
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Door Pull Handle
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Pry Out Screw Cover
The first step is to pry out the rectangular plastic trim piece behind the door opener handle with a small flathead screwdriver.

Set the trim panel aside in a safe place.

Then move down to the arm rest and pry out the small round plastic screw cover located behind the door pull handle.

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Pry Off Sail Panel
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Remove 7mm Screw
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7mm Door Handle Screw
Next move to the top inner corner of the door panel and pry off the sail panel with the small flathead screwdriver.

On some vehicles, this panel may also contain a small tweeter speaker that will need to be disconnected.

Remove the screw behind the door opener handle by turning it counter clockwise with the 7mm socket and ratcheting wrench.

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Remove Arm Rest Screw
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2 Trim Panels & 2 Screws
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Pull Out Pop Rivets
Remove the screw behind the door pull handle and near the arm rest by turning it counter clockwise with the 7mm socket and 1/4" drive ratcheting wrench.

Set aside the trim piece, sail panel and two 7mm screws aside in a safe place.

Move to the bottom edge of the door panel and carefully insert the standard flathead screwdriver or use an automotive panel pry bar tool.

Firmly pull out the bottom of the door panel to disengage the plastic pop rivet friction fasteners.

Continue pulling out the pop rivets all along the bottom edge and both sides of the panel.

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Lift Panel Off Frame
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Door Opener Handle Cable
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Pry Off Retaining Clip
Lift the plastic door panel straight up and off the lip at the top of the metal door frame.

Tilt the top of the door panel towards yourself while supporting the bottom with your thighs.

Locate the light grey plastic retaining clip that holds the door opener handle cable in place.

Gently pry off the grey plastic clip from the black mounting bracket.

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Swing Out Cable
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Pull Metal Ball Out of Socket
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Disconnect Power Plug
Swing the cable away from the door panel and lift the metal ball at the end out of its socket.

Press the release button on the white plastic electrical connector for the switch panel and slide it straight out of its socket.



 

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Plastic Door Panel Removed
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Metal Door Frame
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Remove Stuck Pop Rivet
Now you can pull the plastic door panel away from the metal door frame and set it aside in a safe place.

If any of the plastic pop rivet friction fasteners from the back side of the door panel are still attached to the door frame, pull them out with a pair of needle nose pliers and re-insert them on to the door panel.

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OEM Door Speaker
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Remove 7mm Screw
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Pry Off Speaker
The OEM front door speakers are held in place by a single 7mm screw.

Remove the screw by turning it counter clockwise with a 7mm socket and ratcheting wrench.

If the speaker remains stuck to the door frame, gently pry it off with a small flathead screwdriver.

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Old Speaker Removed
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Disconnect Power Plug
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Power Window Motor
Press the release tab on the speaker's electrical connector and pull it straight out of its socket.

The OEM door speaker can be replaced with the following aftermarket speaker sizes: 6 1/2" (6.5") or 6 3/4" (6.75"). I'd recommend purchasing new speakers from Crutchfield since they usually include any necessary electrical connectors, wiring adapters and mounting brackets.

If you'd like to reduce road noise and rattles, apply some Dynamat Sound Deadener to the metal door frame. It will help stop vibrations when you crank up the volume.

To access the power window motor and regulator, peel back the plastic sheet attached to the metal door frame with adhesive.

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Line Up Door Panel
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Re-Insert Metal Ball
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Attach Plastic Retaining Clip
To replace the door panel, hold it near the door frame and support the bottom with your thighs.

Insert the metal ball at the end of the door opener cable in to its socket at the rear of the door handle mechanism.

Swing the cable towards the door panel and snap the grey plastic retaining clip on the black plastic bracket.

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Push In Electrical Plug
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Re-Insert Door Lock Stalk
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Hang Panel On Lip of Frame
Push the switch panel's power plug straight in to its socket until it clicks securely in to place.

Lower the door panel down on to the lip at the top of the metal door frame while also inserting the door lock stalk in to the hole at the top outer edge.

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Pop Rivet Friction Fasteners
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Push In Pop Rivets
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Tighten Door Handle Screw
Line up the plastic pop rivet friction fasteners on the back side of the door panel with their corresponding holes in the metal door frame.

Firmly push on the bottom edge and both sides of the door panel to re-insert the fasteners.

Re-insert the screw behind the door opener handle and tighten it by turning it clockwise with the 7mm socket and ratcheting wrench.

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Tighten Arm Rest Screw
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Push In Screw Cover
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Snap In Trim Piece
Replace the screw by the arm rest and tighten it by turning it clockwise with the 7mm socket and ratcheting wrench.

Push in the small round plastic screw cover.

Snap in the rectangular plastic trim panel behind the door opener handle.

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Line Up Sail Panel
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Push On Sail Panel
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Door Panel Replaced
Line up the sail panel and push in the friction fasteners to secure it in place.

Sit in your Sonic, close the door, and verify that the door opener handle, door lock stalk and electrical switches all work properly.

For more, check out my other Chevy Sonic Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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