How to fix a broken back hatch handle on an early model Toyota SiennaEdit

I was openning my back hatch one day and I heard a pop. My back hatch broke.
There are a few links on how to fix a handle, but I have some pictures for you.
First pull down the plastic flaps on either side of the inside handle. 1

Next remove the strap used to pull the door down.
Now you can remove the large pannel.

Now remove the three bolts in the middle of the next picture, and push out the plastic clip on the right. Not the three bolts / nuts with the washers (which form a triangle at the center of the photo), but the smaller gold colored nuts that run straight across the photo beginning at the far left. Watch that you don't lose the plastic clip as I did. (We had to twist the white plastic clip on the far right (past the three screws, and the electrical tape wrapped cord) to get the panel to pop off the outside of the van -- then retwist it when we put it back on.)
{C {C {C P1010005

Now you can pull up the outside of the handle assembly.
{C {C {C P1010007

Next disconnect the cable from the inside.
{C {C {C P1010013

Now you can remove the broken handle by carefully removing the "washer" at the end of the shaft and sliding the shaft out. You may have to loosen a screw to do this.

{C {C {C Now your handle might look something like this.
{C {C {C P1010009

Now at this point you can go down to the Toyota dealer and purchase this cheap little nothing of a handle for $65, or try to screw + epoxi it back together. {C {C {C This part is made of ABS plastic. ABS pipe glue will hold very, very well. Make sure part is very clean and glue together. Use glue to surround the parts like you are welding it. I used a Qtip to apply glue. I did the second with success (knock on wood).

{C {C {C I started by drilling a hole in the handle.
{C {C {C P1010010

{C {C {C I made it so that the screw could easily slide through the hole.
{C {C {C P1010011

{C {C {C I then screwed and epoxied and it came out looking something like this.
{C {C {C P1010008

{C {C {C I then put it back to gether.

{C {C {C Now if you are in a hurry you will put everything back to gether, load up your car with a wagon full of stuff, pack it all in the car and pray that the extra curing time for the epoxi will be adequate. But like me realize that you forgot to hook the cable back up so you can't open up the back w/o all the tools you have at home.  :-[

Please let me know if you found this page useful and update it if you did not. :-)

Mark Schaffroth

Thanks, your information made this a very easy fix. I found a replacement handle on ebay for $12. Took me about an hour to replace it using your instructions.

Jeremy Hutchens

Mark, I fixed my Sienna (2000 XLE) over the weekend, using your exact instructions. It is working flawlessly!
Thank you for taking the time to put this together. It saved me alot of time and $$!!
Stan Cox

Mark, thank you for the photos! I did read on other websites about how to repair, but none helped me much because I couldn't even get the plastic cover off! Then I saw your photo and realized I had removed 2 WRONG screws LOL. It was not difficult after that. Crazy glue didn't work for me, so I just went and bought a new part from a Toyota dealer. Repaired now, and saved $$$ (they had quoted me $130/hr for 3 hours, plus part). Just showing my appreciation by leaving this note to you. Thanks! </p>

Mark - HUGE thanks for putting this together - especially the photos!  20 minutes and a screw that I had already.  Made for a quick, simple and cheap repair!  Best of all - No trip to the dealer!!!  Thank you again, Mark.  John R. {December 19, 2009}

Mark - You rock! Thanks to this page and the photos I was able to fix the broken handle myself. I tried the glue and screw method but it just broke again. But I was able to fin a replacement handle on amazon for $18. You saved me a lot of money - thanks again!! Carrie (February 2010)

Mark, Thank You for the clear instructions on how to replace this hatchback door handle. I bought a new part as I didn't want to repair a broken piece of plastic that was already 11 years old. It took me from start to finish one hour and the new part went in as smooth as a ......... I was informed by the Toyota Dealer Parts person that the Toyota Sequoia has the same handle and suffers from the same problem as this plastic part ages. Total cost to me, cost of the part from the dealer ($150 CDN), Thank You for the easy to read instructions and of course smiles as I finished this repair and did not have to pay labour costs for a toyota or other mechanic to do this. And yes this handle broke one week before departing on a 2 week vacation, and I know now that would've sucked if I was out of town with the family and couldn't get easy access to the cargo area. (June 28, 2010)

Mark: Thanks a million! Your instructions, with photos, couldn't have been more simple to follow. I, however, found a replacement latch on E-bay, all forged metal, which looks like it will last forever. It was $31.00 w/shipping.... a little more than the one on Amazon, but I felt it was worth it for an all metal part. I mail a number a parcels a week, and use my lift hatch a lot, so I thought it would be worth it. Thanks again!

John Ross

Mine broke for the third time, wasn't going to pay the dealership to fix it again. These steps were GREAT, had it fixed in about an hour. Did the second option of glueing and installing a screw. If it breaks again, i will search ebay for the metal piece and fix it myself again.Thanks for taking the time to post this.

Jeff Jensen Greensboro,NC

This was a huge help to me, thank you. Rushed for time, I bit the bullet and bought a new handle assembly from the neighborhood Toyota dealer down the street ($90!) but saved on the labor costs. It took me about 15 minutes to replace, start to finish. Thanks again.

JR Miami, Florida


Thanks, Mark. When I drilled the hole for the screw, it was almost impossible to correctly align the two pieces for a perfect fit for the glueing. After a couple of attempts to fix this problem, I finally realized that glueing the pieces back together FIRST makes it easy to drill the hole properly. I then used a cheapo super glue for the initial glue job, let it dry overnight, then surrounded the break on the outside with a generous amount of alphatic mastic (Elmer's or other similar wood glue), allowed that to dry overnight, then gently put the handle into my vise and drilled a straight hole through the whole thing as you suggested. I used a 1 1/2" drywall screw, leaving about a quarter of an inch hole on the opposite side of the handle. I filled that hole with more superglue, letting it drift down over the drywall screw for a really solid welding job.

Also, having lost the tiny circlip (half washer) which secured the rod that goes through the handle to hold it on, I found that a very small clevis pin retainer clip worked just fine. A piece of wire twisted a couple of times would probably have been effective as well.

This thing may be stronger than the original handle!

Ron, Louisville, KY

Mark, thanks. Like many others I too fixed the rear hatch on my 2001 Sienna. One addition I would like ot make is regarding putting the cover/pannel back on the hatch. I couldn't get all the rivets to allign and had to take of the small plastic strips mounted on the side pillars of the hatch. These are snap on and snap off type held in place by three metallic clamps. Everything else was exactly as described.

Zahid, TX.

All - {C {C {C You can purchase a replacement handle that is made of metal at half the cost of another cheap plastic one from the dealer. I found one at an outfit called Davis Auto Sales. They have an on-line site. With shipping, the part was under $30. I tried re-gluing it and drilling in a pin to secure it. It didn't hold for me but it looks like the pin was not done well. For the money, I like the new metal handle.

Tom, Hope Valley, RI


Your information saved me a large amount of hassle. I will note that the Toyota people did put an extra long shaft (on my 1998) on the right most bolt (passenger side looking from the aft), the trick is to back out the ratchet head a bit and a standard socket will remove the nut; or spend about $4.99 for a deep set socket at Sears, OSH, et al . As for gluing the piece I will submit to the dealer and just buy the part from them.

Brian J. Gilbert, Huntington Beach, CA

P.S. Any clues on the passenger slider that: A) rattles and B) will not unlock from the inside though the child safety locks a cleared.

Thank you! I used your this information to replace the broken handle with one I bought at Toyota (wish I had seen the comment about the metal replacement part at half the cost first - bothers me to give Toyota more money for a poorly made part). Would not have known how to do it without your excellent instructions and pictures. Took about an hour and I am not particularly mechanically inclined. Thanks so much.

Hank, Moorestown, NJ

Used your information and that from . Ordered a metal handle rather than fixing the old one. Thanks!!!!!

06/04/2011 - I'm a 57 yo single female and I used your instructions to repair this handle on my 2001Toyota Sienna XLE. Your instructions were PERFECT and I was able to do it in a few hours. It would have only taken me about an hour at most but I found that the two screws that hold the old handle on were rusted and it took me a good hour to get them out. Water leaked in from the top outside section and rusted the screws and the little spring that pulls the cable back to release the handle. My handle didn't actually break like the others but the bracket that holds the one screw rusted and broke and that's why the handle didn't work. I'm going to put a little clear silicon around the top outside seam to keep it from leaking again. THANK YOU for your instructions! I got the job done for $40 for a new (metal) handle. I got the handle from for $29.95 + $10 shipping ( It came from Davis Auto Shop. Thank you again for saving me a LOT of money! God bless you.

Sharon - Alexandria, PA

Sept 29, 2011 - This was a great help! My dad and I fixed it in under an hour. We also ordered a metal replacement part. Thank you so much for taking the time to take the photos and post this. Carolyn in Portland, OREdit

{C December 29, 2011- I used your pictures to refresh my memory on how to do this. In fact I put the laptop in the back of the van so I could look at your pictures realtime!! Anyway, my repair of about 3 years broke and this time I ordered an all metal replacement from ebay for $17 included shipping!! For that price it's not worth trying to repair the part unless you want to try it for a challenge. Just as I fixed the handle, the exhaust pipe sprung a leak, so the beat goes on...thx/Ed Richboro,PA

Thanks Mark, I was so bummed out when the latch handle broke I was ready to sell my 2001 Sienna even though it is still running great. Then I found your great article which showed me how to fix the problem in a couple of hours at almost no cost. I owe you big time!!

John in Pinehurst, NC

June 2012 - Thank you so much for publishing these instructions. I ordered the Metal part from Fort Worth Auto Parts (off Ebay) for $17.80 which included shipping. I received the item in 2 days and installed immediately which took about 30 minutes. One small note that when you replace the outside door piece make sure it is sealed so no water enters, if it is not sealed you can use a little silicon to seal it. Being a Mom with children and their sporting equipment it is essential to be able to use the hatch. Donna from Long Island, NY

This totally helped. I don't consider myself mechanically inclined. I was puzzled for a few minutes at picture #2 - even though you wrote "you can pull up the outside of the handle assembly" and you can clearly see part of the license plate in the picture it took me a about 10 frustrating minutes to realize I had to go OUTSIDE the van and pull on the handle. Then, when I reattached the cable I didn't thread it properly, so it didn't work at first. Fortunately I figured out how to fix that in about 90 seconds.

Bob, Chicago

July 2012 --- Another satisfied customer! Had ours (2001 Sienna) done in about an hour - the hardest part was figuring how to do the first step --- trying to get the panel off the inside! :) I too ordered the metal handle from the Fort Worth Auto Parts on eBay. Received it quickly for under $20 (free shipping) and got the job done 3 days before we leave for vacation. Many thanks to Mark for posting this helpful how-to!

Tom, Springfield MO

January 2013-- one more thanks.  Fixed my 2000 Sienna handle (second break for it) for around $20 with metal replacement off Amazon.  Took perhaps 1 hour.  (I am mechanically so so).  Your pics and instructions were great.  

John, Augusta, GA Just wanted to add my thanks too. 1998 Sienna door latch broken. Under $20 for the new one from Amazon (all metal). These instructions helped as well:

1. You'll need a 10mm socket and a 10mm wrench 2. When in the van facing the back hatch, the plastic cover on the strap slides up. The covers over the handle bolts (lower left hand corner) open from the top down. 3. Remove all three before attempting to remove the back cover 4. The window trim is in three pieces. You must remove the top center part first, then the sides. 5. Pry evenly on the top center piece. There are about 6 or 7 plastic tabs holding it in place. It will sound like gunshots and/or you broke it when it comes free.  6. The side trim has metal clips holding it in place, and is hard to remove. Pull hard and evenly. 7. Once the back trim is off, open the door as described elsewhere. 8. There are three 10 mm bolts in the middle center of the door, two on the handle, one to the left holding the license plate lights. All must come off, ideally with the door open. 9. There is a plastic tab to the right that holds the license plate lights. Try to push that through from the back, it breaks if you try to pry it from the front.

Pay close attention to step 9.

10. Be sure to unhook the cable (used to open the door) from the broken handle before trying to remove the handle

(pay attention to step 10 (how the cable comes out is how it goes back in)

11. There are two small phillips screws holding the broken handle in place. Unscrew them (with everything else done) and the broken handle falls off. 12. Reverse the steps, it all goes back together pretty easily. 14. Line up the plastic tabs with the holes in the bottom of the door, peaking in with a flash light. Get two or three in, the door will be lined up, go around the open door pushing the tabs back into the holes. 15. In my opinion it was easier to put the side and top window trim back on with the door open.

Our 1998 Sienna is nearing 350k!

I have a "trim removal tool" (glorified screw driver). It really helps with trim removal. <$10 at Autozone.

Jack, Atlanta, GA

2013 Mark - Adding to the thank-you list - another greatful client. Fixed my 1999 Sienna in an hr with the reco about the metal handle, etc.

Rog, San Jose, CA

DEC. 2013:  Yet one more word of thanks for these very helpful instructions.  As it turns out my problem was simply getting some WD-40 to the latch assembly -- where it connects to the spring. But I never would have made it that far without our excellent instructions for accessing the latch.  Thanks!

John, Goshen IN

June 2014 - I bought the replacement handle on eBay for less than $20.  Your photos helped me finish the job in under 30 minutes. Thank you!!!

Mitch, New Jersey

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