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Chevrolet Malibu Interior Door Panels Removal Guide
How to take off the plastic interior door panels in a ninth generation 2016 to 2023 GM Chevy Malibu.

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2020 Malibu Door Panel
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Door Opener Handle
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Pry Out Trim Cover
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the ninth generation 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 GM Chevrolet Malibu in taking off the plastic interior door panels in order to upgrade the OEM speaker, add soundproofing material, fix a faulty electrical switch or change a broken power window motor.

The 9th generation Malibu was supposed to undergo a "facelift" in 2022 or 2023 and the refreshed vehicle may have continued being produced into the 2024 and 2025 model years but it will now apparently be discontinued after the 2023 model year.

Owners of other General Motors vehicles from Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, GMC and Holden such as the Impala, Corvette, Bolt, Sonic, Spark, Express, Trax, TrailBlazer, Equinox, Traverse, Blazer, Tahoe, Suburban, Colorado, Silverado, Cruze, Volt, Camaro, Encore, Envision, Enclave, Regal, LaCrosse, Canyon, Sierra, Terrain, Acadia, Yukon, Savana, XT4, XT5, XT6, Escalade, CT4, CT5, CT6 and Commodore may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The tools needed to complete this procedure include a small flat head screwdriver, a plastic pry bar tool, a 7mm socket with an extension bar and a 1/4" drive ratchet.

The first two steps are to lower the power window all the way down and then fully open the door.

Use a small flat head screwdriver or a plastic automotive trim panel removal tool to gently pry out the small plastic cover located behind the chrome silver door opener handle.



 

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Trim Piece Removed
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Armrest Well Pull Handle
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Pry Out Rubber Cover
Gently remove the trim cover and set it aside in a safe place.

Move down to the door pull handle well in the armrest behind the switch panel.

Pry out the rubber cover at the bottom of the well with the flat head screwdriver.

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Armrest Well Cover
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Loosen Counterclockwise
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Door Handle Screw
Set the rubber cover aside in a safe place.

Loosen the screw located behind the door opener handle by turning it in the counterclockwise direction with the 7mm socket, an extension bar and a 1/4" drive ratchet.

Set the screw aside with its corresponding plastic trim cover.

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Loosen Counterclockwise
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Armrest Screw Removed
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Front Lower Edge Screw
Then move to the well in the armrest and loosen the screw by turning it in the counterclockwise direction with the 7mm socket and a 1/4" drive ratchet.

Set the door pull handle screw aside with the rubber cover.

Move to the bottom edge of the door panel and locate the black metal screw just below the speaker grille closer to the front of the door.

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Loosen Lower Screw
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Lower Screw Removed
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Two Covers - 3 Screws
Loosen the screw at the bottom edge by turning it in the counterclockwise direction with the 7mm socket and a 1/4" drive ratchet.
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Pry Up Switch Panel
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Release Friction Fasteners
Use the plastic pry bar tool to very gently lift up the switch panel.

You will need to remove and re-insert the plastic pry bar tool in several locations along the front, side and rear edge of the switch panel to fully release all of the metal friction fasteners and plastic retaining clips.

Avoid using excessive force to prevent from cracking or scratching the plastic switch panel.

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Be Gentle & Careful!
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Switch Panel Removed
Just be patient and take your time to loosen and lift up all of the retaining clips.

Once all of the clips have been released, turn over the switch panel to access the electrical connector.

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Electrical Connector
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Pry Out White Lock Tab
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White Lock Tab Released
Use a flat head screwdriver to gently slide the white plastic locking tab out and away from the switch panel.

You might also be able to use your fingernail to slide out the white plastic lock tab.

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Push In Release Button
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Slide Out Power Plug
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Electrical Connector
Then push in the black plastic release tab on the electrical connector before sliding the power plug straight out of its socket.

If you are removing the driver side door panel, there should be an extra electrical connector or two that you will have to disconnect due to the additional buttons on that switch panel.

Set the switch panel aside in a safe place.

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Two Screws Exposed
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Loosen Counterclockwise
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Remove Second Screw
Once the switch panel has been removed, you'll be able to see the last two screws that have to be removed.

Loosen the two black metal screws by turning them in the counterclockwise direction with a 7mm socket, an extension bar and a 1/4" drive ratchet.

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Second Screw Removed
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Pull Out Bottom Edge
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Release Friction Fasteners
Set the two screws aside with the switch panel.

Insert the plastic pry bar tool (or a large flat head screwdriver) in between the bottom edge of the plastic door panel and the metal door frame.

Firmly pull out the bottom edge of the door panel to release the plastic pop rivets.

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

The door panel is still held in place by five metal retaining clips situated along the top edge of the door panel by the rubber weatherstripping.

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Top Inner Edge Pop Rivet
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Lift Door Panel Off Frame
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White Plastic Cable Clip
Carefully lift the door panel up and off the upper lip of the metal door frame.

Lifting the top edge of the door panel will remove the five metal retaining clips from their slots on the top of the door frame.

Tilt the top edge of the door panel towards yourself to access the back side.

Locate the white plastic clip that secures the door opener handle cable to the back side of the door panel.

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Push Down Release Tab
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Pull Off Plastic Clip
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Pull Ball Out of Socket
Push down the release tab on the white plastic retaining clip before pulling it off the black plastic bracket.

Swing the metal cable out of the slot and away from the door panel.

Lift the ball at the end of the cable out of its socket.

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Power Door Lock Plug
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Pry Out Red Lock Tab
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Push In Release Button
Locate the small electrical connector for the power door lock switch near the top inner area of the door panel.

Gently slide out the red locking tab.

Push down the release button on the connector before sliding the power plug straight out of its socket.

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Remove Connector
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Door Panel Removed
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Metal Door Frame
Set the plastic door panel aside in a safe place.
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Slide Out Weatherstrip
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Rubber Strip Removed
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Metal Track / Clip
According to my recent experiences with new GM vehicles, they all have a new door panel setup for the rubber weatherstripping.

In order to re-install the plastic door panel later on, you must slide the rubber weather strip out of the metal retaining clips on the door panel, detach the five metal clips and re-attach them to the metal door frame.

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Metal Clip Removed
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Pop Out Other Clips
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Five Metal Clips Removed
Pry out the five metal retaining clips out of the back side of the door panel near the top edge.

Use a flat head screwdriver or a plastic pry bar tool to pop out the five clips.

Be careful when you pry out the clips since they might come flying out into your face or become lost.

The clips also act as the guide slot for the rubber weather strip.

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Metal Clip & Slot
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Slide Clip Down In Slot
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Five Clips Replaced
Then take the five metal clips over to the metal door frame.

Lower the metal clips into the metal slots on the top edge of the door frame close to the glass window's slot.

Please take a look at the picture above to make sure you have re-installed the metal retaining clips in the correct orientation.

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Rubber Weather Strip
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Lower Strip Into Clips
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Weather Strip Secured
Then carefully lower the rubber weather strip down into the slots on the metal retaining clips.

Make sure the weatherstrip is fully seated and properly installed by checking the picture above.

Note - If you do not remove the weather strip and metal retaining clips from the plastic door panel and re-attach them to the metal door frame, you will NOT be able to properly re-install the plastic door panel later on.

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OEM Door Speaker
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One Speaker Screw
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Speaker Screw Removed
The OEM (original equipment manufacturer) front door speaker is located at the front bottom corner of the door frame.

The speaker is held in place by one 7mm screw located at the top of the bracket.

Remove the screw by turning it in the counterclockwise direction with the 7mm socket, a short extension bar and the 1/4" drive ratchet.

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Pull Out Old Speaker
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Slide Out Red Lock Tab
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Push In Release Tab
Pull the top of the speaker out of the door frame and lift out the plastic bracket on the bottom edge.

Slide the red locking tab out away from the speaker. Then push in the release button on the electrical connector before sliding it straight out of the socket.

The OEM front door speaker can be replaced with aftermarket car speakers in the following sizes: 6 1/2" and 6 3/4".

I highly recommend applying some Dynamat sound deadener to the metal door frame and the back side of the plastic door panel to help reduce vibrations and rattles when you crank up the volume.

There is nothing more frustrating than installing awesome new car speakers and having the experience ruined by a rattling plastic panel or a vibrating metal door frame.

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Slide Out Speaker Plug
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Pry Out Stuck Pop Rivets
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Re-Attach To Door Panel
Check the door frame for any pop rivet fasteners that remained stuck in place.

Pry them out with a pop rivet removal tool and re-attach them to the back side of the plastic door panel.

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Yellow Pop Rivet
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Re-Attach Yellow Fastener
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Pop Rivets Replaced
I found one red pop rivet and one yellow pop rivet that were still stuck to the door panel.
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Line Up Door Panel
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Door Lock Switch Plug
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Slide In Red Lock Tab
Once you are done replacing the speaker or any other repair procedure, hold the door panel near the door frame.

Make sure you have already transferred the rubber weather strip and the five metal clips back on to the door frame.

Push the small electrical connector for the power door lock switch into its socket.

Slide the red lock tab in to secure the connector in place.

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Lower Ball In Socket
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Move Cable Into Slot
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Push On Retaining Clip
Lower the ball at the end of the door opener handle cable into its socket.

Swing the cable towards the door panel and into its slot.

Push the white plastic retaining clip on to the black plastic bracket until it "clicks" securely into place.

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Line Up Slots & Clips
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Metal Clips - Plastic Slots
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Push To Secure Clips
Line up the metal retaining clips on the top edge of the door panel with the plastic slots on the back side of the door panel.

Push the top of the plastic door panel towards the door frame to secure the clips into the slots.

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Line Up Pop Rivets
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Firmly Tap In Fasteners
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Two Armrest Screws
Line up the plastic pop rivets on the back side of the door panel with their corresponding holes in the metal door frame.

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

Replace the two armrest screws by turning them in the clockwise direction with the 7mm socket and the 1/4" drive ratchet.

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Tighten Clockwise
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Pull Out Electrical Cable
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Push In Power Plug
Pull the connector and cable for the switch panel out of the opening in the armrest.

Push the electrical connector straight into the socket on the underside of the switch panel.

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Slide In White Lock Tab
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Line Up Metal Clips
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Push Down Switch Panel
You should hear the or feel the electrical connector "click" securely into place.

Slide the white lock tab in towards the switch panel to secure the connector in place.

Line up the retaining clips on the underside of the switch panel with their slots on the armrest.

Push down the switch panel to secure it into place.

Make sure every edge of the switch panel is flush with the armrest.

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Replace Well Screw
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Door Handle Screw
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Pop In Trim Cover
Replace the screw into the bottom of the door pull handle well by turning it in the clockwise direction with the 7mm socket and a 1/4" drive ratchet.

Replace the screw behind the door opener handle by turning it in the clockwise direction until it is snug.

Try to avoid over tightening the screws to prevent from cracking the plastic door panel.

Gently pop the plastic trim cover back into place behind the door opener handle.

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Replace Rubber Cover
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Tighten Bottom Screw
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Door Panel Replaced
Lower the rubber cover down into the armrest well.

Replace the screw into the bottom edge of the door panel by turning it in the clockwise direction with the 7mm socket and a 1/4" drive ratchet.

Sit inside the car, close the door and verify that the door opener handle, power door lock switch, power window switch and speaker are all working properly.

Be sure to record the speaker upgrade or any repair procedure in your vehicle's service records.

Please check out all of the 2016-2023 GM Chevrolet Malibu DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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