2 of the doors are broken: passenger and rear-driver. Broken as in they can only be opened from the inside. Additionally the driver rear door has the child safety lock enabled -- so i can't even open it.

I can't find any online diagrams about the door internals or the best way to remove the door panels. Has anyone had any luck with this?

Any ideas on how to open the driver rear door? Can the child safety be undone with a coat hanger or something?

This is a 1998 Suzuki Esteem. Nothing is power.

3 Answers 3


The door releases generally consist of a set of metal rods, and the usual cause of failure is one of these becoming detached - does the handle feel loose when you try and open it?

I don't know the specifics for the Suzuki, but door cards are usually held on by a mixture of bolts/screws and clips. The trick is to actually find all the screws... There's usually a couple holding on the handle, one for the inside door release, and three or four in the plastic door pocket.

Once you've managed to find and remove all the screws, you need to remove the inner door release handle (disconnecting the aforementioned metal rod - this bit will be fiddly), then, starting at the bottom, pull the card away from the door to release the clips. With the clips loose, lift the card to unhook the inner window seal from the top of the door frame and remove the card.

Behind the card you'll see a plastic sheet covering the inside of the door, held on with some manky sealant (I don't know what it is, but it's always manky and sticky. Don't get it on your clothes...), and through that you should see holes in the inner door frame. Remove the plastic from the hole closest to the lock and try to find the missing rod. If you're lucky, it'll just need reconnecting.

"Refitting is the reverse of removal", with the fiddly bit being reconnecting the inner release handle.

The process ought to be the same with the rear door, but I've never tried getting the card off a door without opening it. You might find things get in the way, like the rear seat squab... Do the front one first so you know the process, and look at the passenger side door to work out where all the screws are.


Opening the door with the child lock on if the door handle on the outside is broken is quite simple. You'll need two things... a flashlight and either a 6-10 inch pick with a right angle or hook type tip or you can fashion yourself one out of a coat hanger. When making one yourself, make sure its long enough to fit entirely in your palm with about 6-8 inch protruding out. Bend the tip either into a hook or at a right angle.

What you're going to do is kneel at the door. Lift the broken handle with the flash light shine the light inside the door handle. You'll see two rods. One running horizontal and the other one vertical. Hook the vertical one and with force pull up. Viola. You're only going to have about an inch or so wiggle room so when i say pull up I mean give it a tug or a yank. It shouldnt take that much to yank it up to open it.


mine only needed cleaning. it wouldnt unlock with the key or the inside handle or the electric lock. nothing. click click click went the mech motor or such. but it wouldnt open. had to take it apart to find the tiny lever to push down and open my door, that took an hour. another hour to take it out. another hour figuring it out until i realized it is not broken but sticking. cleaned it up and lubed it and its ok now.

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