Step 1

Remove door handle from car.
First remove door card. Then disconnect handle rod from door lock mechanism. Undo the two screws holding the door handle onto the door. Push handle out from inside to outside of door. This is covered in detail in other guides.

Step 2

Examine handle

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Annotated handle 1.jpg
Annotated handle 2.jpg

Handle is two moulded plastic parts. I'll call them handle (the part that goes up and down...) and backing plate (the part that is screwed to the door, two nut inserts).

You'll probably see two rusty pins, and a rusty spring. It's the rust that swells, and adds friction. This prevents the return spring from closing the handle.

When the door handle was made, the two parts were put in a jig, and two splined pins were used to hold the two parts together. The pin is splined in the backing plate, and smooth in the door handle. This forms the simple bearing - the pin rotates relative to the door handle.

This is the point to lubricate. It's very difficult to lubricate this properly from outside - that's why it's so hit and miss when spraying WD40 etc onto the handle.

Soak the pin, spring in release oil to remove the worst of the rust.

I found that soaking the handle for about 2 hours in release oil still did not cure it. I therefore drilled two holes in each round pin housing to allow oil to get right where it's needed. With a small enough sharp drill (~2mm), it's easy to pop a couple of holes in the pin housing.

On each housing, I drilled:

1. One at the round end.
2. I opened the handle out and from below, drilled another. This allows for lubrication with the door handle back on the car.

Don't use too big a drill, you still need the pins to keep the handle together!

Lubricating in these holes freed the handle pretty much instantly.
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