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On my 1996 Passat TDI the passenger door will not open from either the inside or the outside. From the outside I can tell that the handle has become unhooked. The central locking system appears to be working correctly (I discovered the alarm and I see locks and the red light working). What are suggestions to get the door open? We are contemplating removing the rear door so we can assess the screw holding in the latch mechanism. Are there better options?
 

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The passenger front door or passenger rear door?

Don't bother removing the rear door if the front door won't open. I suggest rolling down the window and seeing if you can manually press down on the door open switch. See this writeup for more details.

http://myturbodiesel.com/1000q_how_to/a3b4/doorhandlefaq.htm If that doesn't work a slim jim should be able to open the door. Most cops will have these and a locksmith should also be able to help you there.

Also, when you open the door, use your thumb to counterhold the handle when you pull the handle open. The handle mechanism isn't too great and pulling hard on the handles can cause them to break faster.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Door works!

Thank you for the replies.

I got my sons working on the door and they fixed it. My youngest son's initial tactic worked. They drilled off the head of the screw on the back of the door that held the handle on. Then they worked the mechanism and got it functioning. We're still not exactly sure what the problem was, one son thought a lock problem. I do know that the suggestion in the article of use of graphite made a huge difference today on all the handles.

Thanks again!
 

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This is a common problem on an otherwise great car. Make sure all the pins are tight. You could try putting a weld on top to make sure they don't back out.
 
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