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Toyota Highlander Interior Door Panel Removal Guide
How to take off the plastic interior door panels and upgrade the OEM speakers in a 2014 to 2018 Toyota Highlander.

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2017 Highlander Door Panel
Pry Off Sail Panel
Sail Panel Removed
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the third generation (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and perhaps also the 2019 and 2020 model years) Toyota Highlander SUV in taking off 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, Lexus and Scion vehicles such as the 4Runner, Avalon, 86, C-HR, Camry, Corolla, iM, Land Cruiser, Mirai, Prius, RAV4, Sequoia, Sienna, Tacoma, Tundra, Yaris, FR-S, xB,  xD, tC, xA, CT 200h, ES 250, ES 300, ES 330, ES 350, IS 250, IS 350, RX 300, GS 250, NX 300 and RX 350.

The tools needed to remove the interior door panels include a plastic pry bar tool, a small flathead screwdriver and a standard Phillips head screwdriver.

The OEM door speakers can be removed with either a Phillips head screwdriver or a 10mm socket with a 1/4" drive ratchet.

Pry Out Trim Piece
Trim Cover Removed
Pry Open Screw Cover
The first two steps are to lower the power window all the way down and then open the door.

Move to the top inner corner of the door panel.

Pry off the triangular shaped sail panel with the plastic pry bar tool.

Set the sail panel aside in a safe place.

Then move to the door opener handle and door lock rocker switch area.

Use a small flathead screwdriver to gently pry out the plastic trim piece located behind the door opener handle.

Set the plastic trim cover aside in a safe place.

Next, move to the door pull well in the center of the armrest.

Armrest Screw Exposed
Pry Up Rear of Switch Panel
Pry Up Front of Switch Panel
Use the small flathead screwdriver to carefully pry open the screw cover at the bottom of the well in the door pull handle.

There is a small notch at the rear edge of the screw cover. The screw cover is hinged with the hinge situated at the front of the cover.

Then use the plastic pry bar tool to carefully lift up the rear of the switch panel.

There is also a friction fastener at the front of the switch that will need to be loosened with the plastic pry bar tool.

Switch Panel Removed
Push In Release Tab
Disconnect Power Plug
Carefully pull the switch panel straight up out of the armrest.

Push in the release tabs on the electrical connectors before sliding them straight out of their sockets.

Remove Electrical Connector
Loosen Counterclockwise
Door Handle Screw Removed
Set the switch panel aside in a safe place.

Move up to the door opener handle and door lock rocker switch area.

Remove the single screw located behind and above the door opener handle by turning it in the counterclockwise direction with a Phillips head screwdriver.

Set the screw aside next to or on top of its corresponding plastic trim cover.

Screw Under Switch Panel
Large Screw Removed
Remove Armrest Screw
There are two screws on the armrest area of the door panel. One screw was hidden by the switch panel and the other was under the plastic cover that was opened earlier.

Remove the two screws by turning them in the counterclockwise direction with the Phillips head screwdriver.

Set the two screws aside in a safe place.

Armrest Screw Removed
Plastic Pieces & 3 Screws
Pry Out Courtesy Step Light
Gently pry out the courtesy step light bulb housing located at the bottom rear corner of the door panel with the plastic pry bar tool.

Push in the release tab on the white plastic electrical connector before sliding it straight out of its socket.

Disconnect Power Plug
Notch - Pry Bar Tool
Pull Out Bottom Edge Panel
Set the courtesy step light bulb housing aside in a safe place.

Move to the bottom edge of the door panel and locate the notch near the front edge.

Insert the plastic pry bar tool or a large flathead screwdriver in between the plastic door panel and the metal door frame.

Firmly pull out the bottom edge of the door panel to release the pop rivet friction fasteners.

Continue pulling out the pop rivets at the bottom and both sides of the door panel.


Lift Door Panel Off Frame
Tilt Away Top Edge
Door Lock & Handle Cables
Carefully lift the plastic door panel up and off the upper lip at the top of the metal door frame.

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

Locate the two cables that operate the door opener handle and the door lock rocker switch.

Disconnect Door Lock Cable
Disconnect Door Handle Cable
Lift Metal Ball Out of Socket
The door lock rocker switch has a white plastic collar near the end of the cable.

The door opener handle has a green plastic collar near the end of the cable.

Pull the plastic collar out of the "C" shaped mounting bracket.

Then lift the metal ball at the end of the cable out of the socket.

Two Cables Disconnected
Plastic Door Panel Removed
Metal Door Frame
Set the plastic door panel aside in a safe place.

The OEM door speaker is located at the bottom inner corner of the metal door frame.

OEM Door Speaker
Hold Panel Near Frame
Re-Insert Ball Into Socket
The OEM front door speakers can be replaced with aftermarket car speakers in the following sizes: 6 1/2" (6.5"), 6 3/4" (6.75") and 6"x9".

I highly recommend applying some Dynamat sound deadener to the metal door frame and the back side of the plastic door panel to help stop vibrations and rattles when you crank up the volume. The sound deadener will allow your new speakers to sound their best.

To replace the plastic interior door panel, hold it near the frame and tilt away the top edge.

Lower the ball at the end of the door opener handle cable (green plastic collar) into its socket closer to the bottom of the assembly.

Pop In Plastic Collar
Replace Door Lock Cable
Two Cables Secured
Then snap the green plastic collar into the bracket.

Insert the ball at the end of the door lock rocker switch cable (white plastic collar) into its socket closer to the top of the door panel.

Pop the white plastic collar into the bracket.

Lower Panel On Top of Frame
Pull Out Electrical Connector
Line Up Pop Rivets & Holes
Lower the top of the plastic door panel on to the upper lip of the metal door frame.

Pull the electrical connectors for the switch panel out of the opening in the armrest.

Line up the white plastic pop rivets with their corresponding holes in the metal door frame.

Firmly Tap In Pop Rivets
Plug In Step Light
Snap In Courtesy Step Light
Firmly tap in the pop rivet friction fasteners all along the bottom edge and both sides of the door panel.

Push the power plug for the courtesy step light bulb housing back into its socket.

Re-insert the wires and front edge of the housing back into the opening at the bottom of the door panel.

Then gently pop in the retaining clip at the rear edge of the light housing back into place.

Replace Screw Under Switches
Replace Armrest Screw
Replace Door Handle Screw
Replace the two screws on the armrest by turning them in the clockwise direction with a Phillips head screwdriver until they are snug.

Replace the Phillips head screw behind the door opener handle by turning it in the clockwise direction.

Push In Trim Cover
Door Opener Handle
Push In Power Plugs
Gently pop the trim piece back into place behind the door opener handle.

Hold the switch panel near the opening in the armrest.

Push the two power plug back into their sockets until they click securely in place.

Line Up Switch Panel
Push Down Switch Panel
Line Up Sail Panel
Lower the switch panel down into the armrest.

Push on the switch panel to secure the two friction fastener clips.

Push On Sail Panel
Close Screw Cover
Door Panel Replaced
Push the sail panel back into place at the top inner corner of the door frame.

Close the screw cover in the bottom of the door pull well in the center of the armrest.

Sit inside the SUV, close the door and verify that the door opener handle, door lock rocker switch, power window switch, power door lock switch and door speaker all still work properly.

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

Please check out all of my 2014-2018 Toyota Highlander DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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