How to Remove Panel Clips, Retainers and Trim Rivets
Panel clips usually work like drywall fasteners in that they expand to behind the panel to hold it in place. They are used to hold onto the door panels, on dashboards, some covers in the engine bay, body trim pieces and of course splash panels. They are either “Christmas tree” types, which are most common, or rivet styles that either screw in or get pushed in.
Production lines use snap-in retainers to hold lighter pieces on because this solution is cheaper and less time-consuming. However, broken clips can be a nightmare
Using the right tool for the job is very important, since one broken clip can prove to be a nightmare to find on an older model. You might be thinking that any narrow metal blade, like a putty knife, but if you try to pull the clips out unevenly they might break or lose their strength, becoming useless when you want to put them back in.
this one for $10, but there are many variations, some which work from above.
eBay for $16 from eToolscity. It’s very useful for stuff like the trim around door handles, the dash and console. They're useful for parts that have been bonded on as well.
Of course, there are other tools that you might need out there, but as long as you have these, you should have a ‘friendly’ tool to reach for. If you’ve broken a clip, it’s not the end of the world. Most most auto parts stores sell them for about 40 cents, just take the old fastener with you. If you don’t know what sort of clip you need, we found this website to be very useful.
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