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Mazda Mazda3 Interior Door Panel Removal Guide
How to take off the interior door panels of a 2nd generation 2010-2013 Mazda Mazda3 with photo illustrated steps.

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Paul B. Michaels
Author & Photographer
Auto Mechanic Since 1989

2012 Mazda3 Door Panel
Pry Out Trim Piece
Trim Behind Door Handle
This automotive "how-to" guide was specifically written to assist owners of the second generation (2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013) Mazda 3 in removing the interior door panels in order to upgrade the OEM speakers, add soundproofing material, fix a faulty electrical switch or replace a power window motor.

Owners of other Mazda vehicles such as the Mazda2, Mazda5, Mazda6, MX-5 Miata, Mazdaspeed3, CX-5, CX-7, CX-9, MPV, Tribute, RX-8, Axela, Demio, Verisa, Premacy, and Atenza may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The tools required to remove the door panel include a small flathead screwdriver, a Phillips head screwdriver and a standard flathead screwdriver or a trim panel pry bar tool.

To remove the OEM door speaker, you'll also need a Phillips head screwdriver.

Pry Up Door Pull Trim
Pull Handle Trim Removed
Remove Phillips Head Screw
The first step is to pry out the small triangular trim piece located behind the door opener handle using a small flathead screwdriver.

Then pry off the trim panel that covers the nearly vertical door pull handle. Start at the bottom of the door pull handle near the arm rest and gently pry up the bottom with the small flathead screwdriver.

Remove the single screw behind the door opener handle with the Phillips head screwdriver by turning it counter clockwise.

Remove Upper Screw
Remove Lower Phillips Screw
2 Trim Pieces & 3 Screw
Then remove the upper and lower Phillips head screws in the door pull handle.

Set the 3 Phillips head screws and two trim panels aside in a safe place.

Pull Off Sail Panel
Sail (Tweeter) Panel Removed
Pull Off Bottom of Panel

Move to the top inner corner of the door panel and gently pull off the sail panel that contains the tweeter speaker.

The tweeter speaker may pop out of the sail panel by itself. If not, gently pull the speaker out of the panel. Set the sail panel aside with the other panels.

Pull the lower edge of the door panel away from the frame to disengage the white plastic pop rivet friction fasteners.

You might need to use a plastic automotive panel removal tool or a large flathead screwdriver to disengage the pop rivets.

White Plastic Pop Rivets
Lift Door Panel Up & Off
Tilt Panel Away From Frame
You may need to insert a flathead screwdriver or trim panel removal tool in between the door panel and metal frame to pry out the friction fasteners.

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

Lift the door panel up and off the door frame.

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

Press Release Button
Remove Power Plug
Remove Power Connector
Press the release buttons on the two electrical connectors and slide them straight out of their sockets.
Switch Panel Power Plug
Lock & Handle Cables
Pull Out Door Handle Cable
Then move to the two black cables that operate the door lock knob and door opener handle.

Make a note of which cable operates the door lock switch and the door opener handle. On this 2012 Mazda3, the door opener handle cable has a white plastic collar at the end and the door lock switch at the top of the panel has a black plastic collar at the end.

Pull the plastic collar at the end of each cable out of the bracket and swing it out away from the panel.


Pull Metal Tab Out of Slot
Pull Lock Cable Out of Bracket
Swing Lock Cable Out
Pull the metal tabs at the end of the cables out of their sockets.
Pull Metal Tab Out of Slot
Plastic Door Panel Removed
Mazda3 Door Frame
Pull the door panel away from the frame and set it aside in a safe place.
OEM Door Speaker
Remove Phillips Head Screws
4 Screws Removed
The OEM door speaker is held in place by four Phillips head screws.

Remove the screws and set them aside in a safe place.

Pull the speaker out of the mounting bracket and press the release button on the power plug to disconnect it.

Pull Speaker Out
Speaker Mounting Bracket
Power Window Motor
The OEM door speaker can be replaced with 5 1/4" (5.25") aftermarket speakers.

I'd recommend purchasing new speakers from Amazon since you can verify which speakers will your car and whether you will need a 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.

The power window motor is held in place by Phillips head screws.

Re-Connect Power Plug
Insert Door Lock Tab
Swing Lock Cable Closed
To re-install the door panel, hold it near the door frame with the top tilted towards you while supporting the bottom edge with your thighs.

Push in the two power plugs straight in to their sockets.

Insert the tab at the end of the cable with the black plastic collar in to the slot for the door lock/unlock switch.

Snap Cable Collar In Bracket
Insert Handle Tab In Slot
Door Opener Handle Cable
Swing the cable towards the door panel and snap the black plastic collar in to the bracket.

Insert the metal tab at the end of the cable with the white plastic collar in to the lower socket for the door opener handle.

Snap Collar In To Bracket
Lock/Handle Cables Installed
Push In Electrical Connector
Swing the cable towards the door panel and snap the white plastic collar in to the bracket.

Double check that the power connectors and two cables are secure.

Hang Panel On Frame
Line Up Friction Fasteners
Tap Panel In Place
Hang the top edge of the panel on to the upper lip of the door frame.

Look behind the door panel and line up the white plastic friction fasteners with their corresponding holes in the door frame.

Firmly tap the bottom edge and sides of the door panel to fully seat the pop rivet fasteners.

Re-Insert Tweeter Speaker
Push On Sail Panel
Insert Door Handle Screw
Move to the top inner corner of the door panel and re-insert the tweeter speaker in to the sail panel.

Push the sail panel back in to place.

Insert the screw behind the door opener handle and tighten it with the Phillips head screwdriver by turning it clockwise.

Tighten Door Pull Screws
Phillips Head Screw
Tighten Lower Screw
To re-insert the screw at the top of the door pull handle, either use a magnet screwdriver or attach the screw to the tip of the screwdriver with a bit of tape.

Tighten the upper and lower screws on the door pull handle with the Phillips screwdriver by turning them clockwise.

Snap Trim Panel In Place
Push On Door Pull Handle Trim
Door Panel Replaced

Push the rectangular trim piece back in place behind the door opener handle.

Push the other trim panel back over the door pull handle.

Close the door and double check that both the door lock/unlock knob and door opener handle work properly.

For more, check out my other 2010-2013 Mazda Mazda3 Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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