External door handle not working


New member
I just purchased a 2011 Golf Mk6, and the external door handle on the driver side stopped working. It looks like the clip/wire has jumped out of place, but it's hard to get to through the hole for the locking mechanism. Is there an easy fix, or do I have to take the door apart? I removed the inside door panel, but it looks like the inner panel is held in place with three rivets, in addition to the plastic clips. Do I need to drill out the rivets and replace them with clips when assembling?
Any advice is much appreciated.


Ready to race!
Try the tried and true method of repeatedly trying the door handle while someone presses unlock on the keyfob. This honestly works for most, it will pop one time out of every few dozen.

If that doesn't work, cut open the door panel and good luck, it's a pain in the arse. I had to do my passenger side since it failed while I was away for a few months and completely failed in that time.

it's more likely your latch mechanism failed. I've replaced both of mine and they both had the small servo motor rusted till it couldn't turn. Granted My car parked outside in severe winters so it saw a ton of moisture.


New member
Thanks for the reply. To me it looks like the wire got disconnected from the door opening mechanism. The mechanism seems to work, but I can see that the wire just hangs loose inside the door. Will your method work in this case also? Can the small part attached to the end of the wire engage the door mechanism again? Ir is this method just if something gets stuck or rusted?


New member
@Humbo Did you ever figure it out? I have the exact same issue on my 2013 GTI; The drivers side exterior door handle quit working, while the interior door handle still works. After searching around many people think it's an issue with the door lock actuator. I tried taking off the interior door skin like you did, but ran into the panel with all the rivets.

I assume by now hopefully you figured something out. Did you end up taking out all the rivets?


New member
I figured it out, a little aluminum piece that attaches to the door handle was broken, I'm sure it happened when the door was frozen. I first noticed it when it was sub zero outside. Unfortunately I had to drill out the rivets and order new clips to replace them with. I basically had to strip the whole door by taking out the inner panel, window etc. But I got it fixed, it was not very difficult, it just took a little bit of time.