Before attempting to remove the 2002 Ford Explorer’s door panel, round up the tools you’ll need to complete the procedure. A basic pair of pliers or a wrench, a Phillips screwdriver, and a flathead screwdriver are required for the process. To prevent a short circuit, as well as shock, while you are attempting to remove the door panel, unhook the Explorer’s negative battery cable with the pliers then wait about 15 minutes for the power reserve system to discharge. Sit in the seat closest to the door panel you’re removing when you’re ready to begin.
Removing the Door Panel
Look beneath the Explorer’s door armrest to find two Phillips screws. Remove the screws and store them somewhere safe so you can properly reinstall the door panel. Pull open the inside handle to view the plastic cover behind it. Use your flathead screwdriver to pry the edges of the plastic cover away from the panel, and then slip the plastic cover around the inside door handle.
Insert your flathead screwdriver into either edge of the door panel. Gently rock the screwdriver back and forth to pry the section of the door panel away from the metal part of the door. You’ll hear a pop as the interior door panel’s clips release. Once the clips from a section pop out, move to another section. Continue this process until the door panel hangs loose. It should only be attached by the top edge.
Apply pressure to each side of the door panel and push upward. The panel will slide up and over the catch. Pull the panel three to six inches away from the door and inspect the area behind it. You’ll see an electrical connection for the Explorer’s power window and power door lock control panel. There may be an additional connection for the power mirror control. Unplug the connections from the back of the door panel.
Move the interior door panel away from the Explorer’s door. Set it to the side.
Replacing the Door Panel
When you are finished servicing the component of the door you intended to service, you’ll want to replace the door panel. Slide the door panel downward onto the Explorer’s door. This allows the top catch to secure the top edge of the interior door panel. Pull the door panel back a few inches and plug in the electrical connections. Apply pressure to the corners of the interior door panel. Push firmly to reconnect the plastic rivets on the other side.
Replace the two screws under the door armrest, and then slide the plastic panel over the inside door handle. Push the panel in firmly to snap it into its place. Replace the negative battery cable and tighten the cable’s nut to secure it.