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Kia Optima Interior Door Panel Removal Guide
How to take off the interior door panels in a 3rd generation 2011 to 2015 Kia Optima to upgrade the OEM speakers.

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Paul B. Michaels
Author & Photographer
Auto Mechanic Since 1989

2013 Optima Door Panel
Door Opener Handle
Pry Open Screw Cover
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the third generation (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015) Kia Optima in taking off the interior door panels in order to upgrade the OEM speakers, add soundproofing material, fix a faulty electrical switch or replace the power window motor.

Owners of other Kia and Hyundai vehicles with similar windshield wipers such as the Forte, Cadenza, Rio, Soul, Sedona, Sorento, Sportage, Sonata, Accent, Elantra, Veloster, Azera, Tucson, Santa Fe and Genesis may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

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

The OEM door speaker is held in place by four Phillips head screws.


Phillips Head Screw
Remove Counter Clockwise
Arm Rest Screw Cover
The first step is to pry open the square plastic screw cover behind the door opener handle with the small flathead screwdriver.

Then remove the screw by turning it counter clockwise with the Phillips screwdriver.

Move to the bottom of the door pull well in the arm rest and pry open the square plastic screw cover with the small flathead screwdriver.

Remove the screw in the bottom of the arm rest door pull well by turning it counter clockwise with he Phillips head screwdriver.

Set the two screws aside in a safe place.

Remove Phillips Screw
Pull Off Sail Panel
Two Screws & Sail Panel
Move to the top inner corner of the door panel and gently pry off the sail panel with the small flathead screwdriver.

On some vehicle models or trim levels, the sail panel may contain a tweeter speaker that needs to be unplugged.

Pry Out Bottom of Panel
Pull Out Pop Rivet Fasteners
Pull Door Panel Up & Off
Insert a standard sized flathead screwdriver or a automotive trim panel removal tool in to the bottom edge of the door panel and pull out the pop rivet friction fasteners.

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

Pull the door panel up and off the metal door frame.

Tilt Away Top of Panel
Disconnect Power Plug
Do Not Remove Screws
Tilt the top of the door panel away from the door frame and support the bottom edge with your thighs.

Press the release button on the white plastic electrical connector and slide it straight out of its socket.

Here's where I made a small mistake and chose a more difficult path for the same end result.

To disconnect the two cables (for the door opener handle and door lock switch) you just have to press a small black plastic release tab on the bracket in between the two cables.

Please take a look at Picture # 13, Picture # 15 and Picture # 17 to see arrows pointing to the release button.

Instead of pressing that release tab and popping out the bracket attached to the two cables, I removed 5 small Phillips head screws to detach the entire door opener handle and door lock assembly.

Either way works, but you can save some yourself some time and effort by just pushing in on that release button.

Press Release Button
Pull Off Cables Bracket
Do Not Remove Screws
Ignore the three pictures above of me doing extra work.


Metal Door Frame
Plastic Door Panel Removed
OEM Door Speaker
Set the plastic door panel aside in a safe place.
Remove Speaker Screws
Four Phillips Screws Removed
Disconnect Speaker
Press the release button on the white plastic power plug and pull it straight out of its socket.

Remove the four screws that hold the OEM speaker in place by turning them counter clockwise with the Phillips head screwdriver.

The OEM front door speakers can be replaced with aftermarket speakers in the following sizes: 5 1/4" (5.25"), 6 1/2" (6.5") and 6 3/4" (6.75").

I'd recommend buying new speakers from Amazon since you can verify that the speakers will fit your vehicle and also buy an necessary mounting brackets.

To help reduce road noise and make your new speakers 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.

Hold Panel Near Frame
Push In Power Plug
Re-Insert Cables Bracket
To re-install the door panel, hold it near the door frame and tilt the top towards yourself while supporting the bottom edge with your thighs.

Push the white plastic power plug in to its socket.

Line up the bracket attached to the two cables and snap it back in to the rear of the door opener handle and door lock assembly.

Re-Insert Bracket
If Removed, Replace Screws
Ignore the three pictures above and the three pictures below of me doing extra work by replacing the 5 screws that I did not need to remove.
Kia-Optima-Interior-Door-Panel-Removal-Guide-031 Kia-Optima-Interior-Door-Panel-Removal-Guide-032 Kia-Optima-Interior-Door-Panel-Removal-Guide-033
Hang Door Panel On Frame
Line Up Pop Rivets
Push In Friction Fasteners
Hang the door panel on to the lip at the top of the metal door frame.

Line up the blue plastic pop rivet friction fasteners on the back of the door panel with their corresponding holes in the metal door frame.

Firmly tap on the door panel all along the bottom and both sides to re-insert the pop rivets.

Replace Arm Rest Screw
Snap In Screw Cover
Replace Door Handle Screw
Replace the screw at the bottom of the door pull well by turning it clockwise with the Phillips head screwdriver.

Pop the plastic screw cover back in to place.

Re-insert the screw behind the door opener handle and tighten it in the clockwise direction with the Phillips head screwdriver.

Pop In Plastic Screw Cover
Push On Sail Panel
Sail Panel Replaced
Push the screw cover back in to place.

Line up the friction fasteners on the rear of the sail panel and push it back in to place.

For more, check out my other Kia Optima Repair & Maintenance Guides.

If you found this guide to be helpful, please consider making a small donation by clicking on the "Donate" button located to the right of this paragraph. Thank you!
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