I was out on Sunday evening getting some dinner and when I went to get back into the car, the door handle snapped off. Aarrgghh.
No longer being able to open the door from the outside, I went around to the passenger side door to reach across and push the door open from the inside. The problem with this strategy was that because of the slope the car was parked on, by the time I got around to the drivers side, the door had clicked shut again. This happened twice before I decided to try a different strategy.
I finally got in by reaching across from the passenger side to unlock the rear drivers-side door, from where I could reach forward and open the drivers door and hold it open while I got in. Rather annoying.
When LJ needed to go out last night, she took the easy way and climbed across from the passenger side (I don’t think I’d fit if I tried that – it is only a Charade hatchback and I’m rather tall).
I finally managed to track down a replacement handle this afternoon – I ended up calling the place where I normally get my car serviced – they are the local Daihatsu dealership / service centre and actually had parts in stock. Not surprising really, when the guy on the phone explained that they get a few requests for these things – the plastic door handles on those Charades tend to die (snap) after a while (ours lasted about a month shy of 11 years). I went and picked one up late this arvo just before they closed for the day.
I spent a couple of hours this evening teaching myself how to dismantle the door of a Charade and then removing the lock mechanism and then the door release mechanism from the door handle and then how to remove the handle itself. Not an easy job as I discovered. I also found that I didn’t have all the tools I needed – a socket set is something I’ve never had a need for until now. A quick trip down to the local hardware store (fortunately open until 9pm every night) – and I had what I needed (plus some other useful things I’ve been meaning to stop in and buy for ages now).
It took about 3 hours all up (including the trip to the hardware store and stopping to eat dinner) – but I managed to disassemble the door, remove the lock mechanism, remove the door release mechanism, remove the old door handle, install the new door handle, re-attach the door release mechanism, reinstall the lock mechanism, and re-assemble the door.
If I had to do it all again, I reckon I could do it under an hour – now that I know the tricks … everything was in a very awkward position without direct access to the door handle. Of course, poor lighting didn’t help either.
Oh well, mission accomplished – quite satisfying really.