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VW Passat Interior Door Panel Removal Guide
How to take off the plastic interior door panels in a 2012 to 2015 Volkswagen Passat to upgrade the OEM speakers.

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2015 Passat Door Panel
Plastic Pry Bar Tool
Upper Plastic Trim Cover
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the NMS (new midsize sedan) 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and the revised 2016 Volkswagen Passat sedan 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 VW Group vehicles such as the Beetle, CC, Tiguan, Golf, Touareg, Jetta, GTI, SportWagen, Eos, Rabbit, Bora, Vento, Lavida, Coccinelle, Maggiolino, Fusca, Audi A3, A4, S4, A6, S6, A7, A8, Q5, Q7, A5, S5, and TT may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The tools needed to remove the door panels include a plastic automotive panel pry bar tool, a Torx T30 star bit screwdriver and possibly also a 10mm wrench.

To upgrade the speakers, you'll need an electric drill and a drill bit set to remove the metal rivets.

The power window motor is held in place by Torx T25 screws.

Trim Cover Removed
Plastic Hooks - Middle
Plastic Tabs - Front Edge
The first two steps are to lower the power window all the way down and then open the door.

Use a plastic pry bar tool to very gently pry off the rear edge of the rectangular shaped trim cover near the top edge of the door panel.

Continue prying off the trim cover and work your way forwards towards the door opener handle.

Then pull the trim cover off and remove the two plastic tabs at the front edge from their corresponding slots.

Set the trim cover aside in a safe place.

Door Pull Handle Cover
Pry Off Trim Cover
Trim Cover Removed
Move to the bottom edge of the door pull handle that extends from the front of the arm rest towards the top inner corner of the door panel.

Use the plastic pry bar tool to gently release the bottom edge of the trim cover and pull it off.

Try to avoid using excessive force to prevent from cracking or bending the plastic trim cover. It should pop off relatively easily.

Set the door pull handle trim cover aside in a safe place.

Pry Out Reflector / Light
Red Lens Cover Removed
Remove Torx T-30 Screw
Move to the bottom edge of the door panel.

This Passat TSI was equipped with a red plastic reflector. Your model may instead have a courtesy step light bulb housing.

Gently pry out the reflector or the light housing. (If necessary, unplug the power connector for the courtesy step light bulb.)

Then remove the single Torx T30 screw located at the top of the door pull handle by turning it counterclockwise.

T30 Screw Removed
Plastic Fastener - Torx T30
1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
Set the T30 bolt aside in a safe place.

Next, move to the top outer corner of the door panel and locate the 90 degree fastener that was hidden by the long plastic trim cover.

You can use either the Torx T30 screwdriver or a 10mm wrench to rotate the fastener 1/4 turn counterclockwise.

Or - Use 10mm Wrench
Fastener Released
Bottom Edge Fasteners
The two tabs on the fastener should be pointing up and down so that it can be passed through the opening in the panel.

(The locked position is with the tabs pointing to the left and right.)

There are two more 90 degree turn fasteners on the bottom edge of the door panel.

1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
Second Retaining Clip
2 Trim Panels & 1 Bolt
Rotate the two fasteners 1/4 turn counterclockwise until the two tabs are pointing up and down.

At this point, you should have removed two plastic trim panels and the one T30 bolt.

Firmly Pull Out Bottom Panel
Use Plastic Pry Bar Tool
Plastic Pop Rivets Removed
Either insert your fingers in to the opening for the reflector / courtesy step light or use a plastic pry bar tool to firmly pull out the bottom edge of the door panel.

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

Lift Door Panel Off Frame
Tilt Away Top Edge
Release Plastic Clip
Carefully lift the door panel up and off the metal door frame.

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

The door opener handle cable is attached to the back of the door panel by a plastic mounting clip and a metal hook.

Gently pull the black plastic clip off the bracket.


Swing Out Metal Cable
Lift Out Metal Hook
Disconnect Power Plug
Swing the cable away from the door panel.

Lift the metal hook at the end of the cable out of its socket.

Push in the release tab on the blue plastic electrical connector on the bottom of the switch panel and pull it straight out.

Unplug Small Connector
Door Panel Removed
Metal Door Frame
Disconnect the smaller power plug by pressing the release tab and pull it straight out.

Set the plastic door panel aside in a safe place.

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

Drill Out Metal Rivets
Window Motor Torx T-25
Replace Plastic Door Panel
To remove the OEM speaker, you'll need an electric drill and some drill bits to drill out the center of the metal rivets that hold it in place to the door frame.

I recommend buying new speakers from Amazon since you can verify that they will fit your vehicle and whether or not 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 the vibrations and rattles when you crank up the volume.

If you need to replace the power window motor, remove the screws with a Torx T25 screwdriver.

To replace the door panel, hold it near the door frame and tilt the top edge towards yourself.

Push In Small Power Plug
Push Large Power Plug
Line Up Metal Hook
Push in the two electrical connectors until they click securely in to place.
Re-Insert Hook In Socket
Re-Attach Plastic Clip
Lower Panel On Frame
Re-insert the hook at the end of the door opener handle cable in to its socket.

Push the black plastic retaining clip on to the bracket.

Lower the top edge of the door panel on to the top lip of the metal door frame.

Push To Line Up Fastener
Firmly Tap In Pop Rivets
1/4 Turn Clockwise - Secure
Push on the top outer edge of the door panel until the 90 degree turn fastener is through the opening.

Firmly tap all along the bottom edge and both sides of the door panel to secure the pop rivet fasteners.

2nd Bottom Edge Fastener
Rotate 1/4 Turn
Top Outer Fastener
Move to the bottom edge of the door panel and rotate the two fasteners 1/4 turn clockwise to secure them in place.

Then secure the 90 degree fastener at the top outer corner of the door panel by rotating it 1/4 turn clockwise.

Make sure that the three 90 degree fasteners are in the locked position with the two tabs pointing towards the left and right.

Replace Torx T30 Screw
Line Up Trim Panel
Pop Panel Back In Place
Re-insert the Torx T-30 screw at the top of the door pull handle and tighten it in the clockwise direction.

Line up the door pull handle trim panel and gently snap it back in to place.

Line Up Top Trim Cover
Re-Insert Front Edge Tabs
Pop In Retaining Clips
Re-insert the two tabs at the front edge of the long rectangular trim cover in to their corresponding slots.

Gently pop in the retaining clips along the middle and rear edge of the trim cover.

Re-Insert Reflector / Light
Red Lens Cover Replaced
Door Panel Replaced
If your Passat has courtesy step lights, push in the power plug and pop in the housing.

Or if your Passat just has a red plastic reflector like this TSI model, just pop it back in place.

Sit inside the car, close the door panel and verify that the door opener handle, power window switch, power door lock switch and the new speaker all work properly.

For more, check out all of my Volkswagen Passat DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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