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Toyota Highlander Interior Door Panel Removal Guide
How to take off the interior door panels of a 2nd generation 2008-2013 Toyota Highlander to upgrade the OEM speaker.

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2013 Highlander Door Panel
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Pry Off Sail Panel
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Sail Panel Removed

This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the second generation (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013) Toyota Highlander 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 Toyota or Scion vehicles such as the Tacoma, Corolla, Yaris, Prius, Camry, RAV4, Tundra, Sienna, FJ Cruiser, Venza, Avalon, 4Runner, Sequoia, xB, xD, tC, iQ and FR-S may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The tools needed to take off the door panels include a small flathead screwdriver, a standard Philips head screwdriver and either an automotive panel removal tool or a large flathead screwdriver.

The OEM door speaker is held in place by four Phillips head screws.

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Pry Out Trim Piece
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Door Opener Handle Panel
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Pry Off Pull Handle Trim
The first step is to move to the top inner corner of the door panel and gently pry off the triangular shaped sail panel with the small flathead screwdriver.

Set the sail panel aside in a safe place.

Then pry out the small plastic trim piece behind the door opener handle with the small flathead screwdriver.

Set the trim piece aside with the sail panel.

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Trim Panel Removed
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Remove Phillips Screw
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Lower Door Pull Handle Screw
Next pry off the long rectangular trim panel that covers the outside of the door pull handle.

Insert the small flathead screwdriver in to the bottom edge first and then gently pop out the friction fasteners as you move up towards the top of the panel.

Remove the screw behind the door opener handle by turning it counterclockwise with the Phillips head screwdriver.

Remove the two deep set Phillips head screws on the door pull handle. One is near the very top and the other is near the bottom by the arm rest.

Do not remove the two screws that are closer to the center of the door pull handle.

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Loosen Screw Counterclockwise
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Pull Out Upper Screw
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Needle Nose Pliers
Pull the two screws out of their wells with a pair of needle nose pliers.
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2 Trim Panels & 3 Screws
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Insert Flathead Screwdriver
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Pry Out Pop Rivet Fasteners
At this point, you should have removed 3 plastic panels and 3 Phillips head screws.

Insert a large flathead screwdriver or a plastic automotive panel removal tool in between the bottom edge of the door panel and the metal door frame.

Firmly pry out the bottom edge of the door panel to disengage the pop rivet friction fasteners.

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

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Unplug Step Courtesy Light
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Lift Door Panel Off Frame
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Handle & Lock Cables
Press the release button on the power connector for the courtesy step light near the bottom of the panel and pull it straight out of its socket.

Lift the plastic door panel off the top of the metal door frame.

Tilt the top of the door panel towards yourself and support the bottom with your thighs.

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Pull Cables Out of Bracket
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Pull Out Plastic Collar
Pull the cables for the door opener handle and door lock switch out of the white plastic retaining clips.

Then pull the white plastic collar on the door lock switch cable out of the black plastic bracket.

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Lift Ball Out of Socket
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Pull Out Green Plastic Collar
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Lift Metal Ball Out of Socket
Lift the metal ball at the end of the door lock switch cable out of its socket.

Pull the green plastic collar near the end of the door opener handle cable out of the black plastic bracket.

Lift the metal ball at the end of the door opener handle cable out of its socket.



 

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Disconnect Power Plugs
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Unplug Switch Panel
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Plastic Door Panel Removed
Press the release buttons on the two white plastic electrical connectors on the bottom of the switch panel before sliding them straight out of their sockets.

Set the plastic door panel aside in a safe place.

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Metal Door Frame
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OEM Door Speaker
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Press Tab - Unplug Speaker
The OEM door speaker is located at the bottom inner corner of the metal door frame.

Press the release tab on the white plastic electrical connector and pull the plug straight out of its socket.

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Remove Phillips Head Screws
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Four Phillips Head Screws
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Pull Off OEM Speaker
Remove the four screws holding the speaker in place by turning them counterclockwise with a Phillips head screwdriver.

Pull the OEM speaker out of the door frame.

The OEM front door speakers can be replaced with aftermarket speakers in the following sizes (in inches): 6 1/2" (6.5"), 6 3/4" (6.75") and 6" x 9".

The OEM rear door speakers can be replaced with either 5 1/4" (5.25") or 6 1/2" (6.5") aftermarket speakers.

I'd recommend purchasing new speakers from Amazon since you can verify that they will fit your car and also whether or not you will need an adapter mounting bracket.

To help reduce road noise and allow your new speakers to sound their best, apply some Dynamat Sound Deadener to the metal door frame. It will stop vibrations and rattles when you crank up the volume.

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Push Out Courtesy Light
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Replace # 168 Bulb
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Hold Panel Near Frame
If you'd like to change the courtesy step light bulb, pop the light housing out of the door panel.

Pull the old bulb out of the socket and push in a new # 168 bulb.

If necessary, you may also use any other miniature wedge base bulbs such as the number 158, W5W, 2825, 194 or a compatible LED unit.

To re-install the plastic door panel, hold it near the door frame with the top edge tilted towards yourself while supporting the bottom with your thighs.

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Push In Power Plugs
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Lower Metal Ball In Socket
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Push Collar In Bracket
Push the power plugs for the switch panel straight in to their sockets.

Lower the metal ball at the end of the door opener handle cable (green plastic collar) in to its socket.

Push the green plastic collar on the door opener handle cable in to the black plastic bracket.

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Insert Cable In Clip
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Lower Ball In Socket
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Push Collar In To Bracket
Re-insert the cable in to the white plastic retaining clip.

Lower the metal ball at the end of the door lock switch cable (white plastic collar) in to its socket.

Push the white plastic collar near the end of the door lock switch cable in to the black plastic socket.

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Push Cable In Clip
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Lower Panel On Door Frame
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Plug In Step Courtesy Light
Push the cable in to the white plastic retaining clip.

Lower the plastic door panel on to the top of the metal door frame.

Push in the power plug for the courtesy step light bulb housing.

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Line Up Pop Rivet Fasteners
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Firmly Tap In Fasteners
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Replace Screw Behind Handle
Line up the white plastic pop rivet friction fasteners on the back of the panel with their corresponding holes in the metal door frame.

Firmly tap in the pop rivets all along the bottom and both sides of the door panel.

Replace the dark grey screw behind the door opener handle by turning it clockwise with the Phillips head screwdriver.

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Tighten Upper Screw
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Tighten Lower Screw
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Push In Plastic Trim Piece
Replace the two screws in to the deep wells at the top and bottom of the door pull handle.

Tighten them in the clockwise direction with the Phillips head screwdriver until they are snug.

Push in the black plastic trim piece behind the door opener handle.

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Trim Piece Replaced
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Line Up Trim Panel
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Push On Door Pull Handle Cover
Line up the trim panel on the outside of the door pull handle and gently push it back in to place.
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Line Up Sail Panel Fasteners
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Push On Sail Panel
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Door Panel Replaced
Line up the sail panel at the top inner corner of the door panel and gently push it back in to place.

Sit inside the vehicle, close the door and check that the door opener handle, door lock switch, power door lock switch and power window switch all still work properly.

For more, check out my other Toyota Highlander DIY Repair Guides.
 

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