On a trip to the local bookstore the other day, I pulled to a stop and tried to get out but the door was jammed. At first, I thought it was the humidity forming a seal between the Mazda Protege’s door frame and door (not uncommon after a monsoon rain). I tried putting my shoulder into it, but the door wouldn’t budge – so of course, I got a bit peeved and tried harder. In the process the door handle came off, needless to say, I was truly irked; to get out of my Protege I had to roll down the window and open it from outside, ironically something I hadn’t thought of before tearing the handle off.
Once back home, I pulled out a Phillips head screwdriver and removed the one retaining screw to discover the handle had cracked and the piece that holds the door lever rod to the handle had broken off. Irritated by the cheap design but relieved that it had been broken before I became irked; it was time to find a replacement part.
After a previous experience trying to find a Mazda Protege air induction hose, I went online and didn’t waste any time calling up the parts stores. First Stop was Amazon, which listed a Mazda Inside Rear Driver And Passenger Side Replacement Door Handle, but not the passenger side. Wanting to ensure I picked up the correct part, I searched again and found AM Autoparts which had every variation on the inside door handles for the Mazda Protege.
If you want to make certain the part fits Amazon has a tool that tells you if the part fits your model Mazda.
The Door handle arrived a couple of days later and it was none too soon; opening the door by rolling down the window was getting old fast.
I spent some time trying to locate the retaining clip for the door lever rod online to no avail. I even visited a couple autoparts stores and then went to the trouble of trying to save the original piece by separating it from the broken door handle – save yourself some time because it’s included with the door handle.
You can read the written instructions or skip to a quick YouTube Video at the end of this article.
First, start by removing the one retaining screw seen behind the curve of the plastic handle in the base of the holder. Make certain to use the proper size screwdriver and be firm but don’t over torque the screw head or strip the plastic retainer. Click on the picture to the right to see the screw head in the white piece of plastic.
Once the screw is removed, gently pull the handle from the back (wider end) and then towards the door jam to release the front end of the door handle assembly. Once free pull the front of the Mazda door handle assembly forward. The entire assembly should now be hanging loosely from the door lever.
Now gently push the retaining clip (brown plastic) towards the interior of the car. Do not try and pull this loose from the Mazda Protege door handle assembly, it won’t work without a lot of wasted effort. While it is difficult to get fingers or tools in position to rotate the clip it will be well worth the effort. once the clip rotates, you simply lift up and the entire assembly comes off – retaining clip and all.
in the above image, the retaining clip has been placed on the door lever to make it more easily visible and if you look at the broken door handle assembly the hole where the clip fits into the chrome colored plastic is also visible. Looking at the brown plastic retaining clip, the ridge which holds the piece into the Mazda door handle assembly is clearly visible.
Note how the shape of the retaining clip is designed to go over the vertical end of the door lever and then attach to the horizontal body of the Protege’s door handle lever. This horizontal piece is what you want to push off of the bar, as it releases the retaining clip to be lifted off.
Old Mazda Protege Interior Door handle Off New Protege Door Handle On
Installing the new Door handle is just a matter of reversing the order the old Protege door handle was removed in. Grasp the body of the door lever rod and pull forward so that you have some room to work. Then slide the plastic retaining clip onto the vertical end of the door lever rod, now you can gently hold the lever rod out by pulling on the door handle assembly so that you can work a finger or tool into the gap between the door and the new door handle assembly.
Gently push the clip onto the horizontal body of the lever rod until it clicks into place. Once the door handle assembly is firmly attached to the Mazda’s door lever rod hold the rear of the handle out and gently push the front of the Protege Door handle into the groove in the door panel. Note the plastic guide on the back of the Mazda replacement door handle. When you feel the front of the door handle takes hold, push the rear of the handle into the door. Now all that’s left is to replace the door handle screw.
Remember not to overtighten the screw so that the plastic screw retainer doesn’t become damaged.
You can order a replacement door handle from Amazon, AM Autoparts or other sites you may find by searching online. But do yourself a favor and don’t waste your money at the dealer unless you enjoy paying 500% more than something is worth.