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Fixing Lower Door Trim for Audi / VW
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Fixing Lower Door Trim for Audi / VW

Peter Bodensteiner

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$40

Talent:

***

Tools:

Flat head screwdriver

Applicable Models:

Audi A4 (1997-01)
Audi A4 Quattro (1997-01)

Parts Required:

New lower trim pieces

Hot Tip:

Clean the door sills

Performance Gain:

Bring back the bling, yo!

Complementary Modification:

Clean wheels

You've seen them around town. Maybe you own one of them. I'm talking about B5 Audi A4s suffering from the unsightly blight of missing lower door trim. Take a look at an older A4 and it's very possible you'll see the lonely plastic clips holding on for dear life that are the tell-tale signs of this malady.

It's a common problem among A4s because the design of this particular piece of exterior trim, found at the bottom of each of the car's four doors, is a poor one. The trim pieces are mostly rubber and plastic, but embedded within is a metal structural piece that is prone to rust.

Once that metal rusts out, the trim pieces easily come loose and often just fall off. Even if they are still attached, the trim pieces can bubble, warp, and become discolored. In other words, if you're missing one of the four trim pieces, your other ones aren't likely to be too far behind; you're better off replacing all of them at once.

Fortunately the pieces are not hard to replace. A couple aspects of this project can trip you up a bit, but follow along and I'll point them out.

When I acquired this A4, this is what I found in place of the passenger side front door trim.
Figure 1

When I acquired this A4, this is what I found in place of the passenger side front door trim. The goopy adhesive on the plastic trim clips is the evidence of an earlier attempt to keep the deteriorating trim attached to the door. Fortunately the adhesive had hardened and wasn't hard to remove. Oddly enough, when I met the previous owner to test drive the car, I saw another A4 in the parking lot also missing the same kind of trim piece.

Each trim piece is held on primarily with the white plastic clips.
Figure 2

Each trim piece is held on primarily with the white plastic clips. The forward end of each piece is attached to the leading edge of the door with a short Phillips head screw. Here you can see that the plastic trim has separated from the metal piece that contains the threads that receive the screw from the inside of the door.

Each trim piece is held on primarily with the white plastic clips.
Figure 3

Each trim piece is held on primarily with the white plastic clips. The forward end of each piece is attached to the leading edge of the door with a short Phillips head screw. Here you can see that the plastic trim has separated from the metal piece that contains the threads that receive the screw from the inside of the door.

Evidence that the trim is rusted trash--pulling at it just a little bit caused it to start falling apart.
Figure 4

Evidence that the trim is rusted trash--pulling at it just a little bit caused it to start falling apart.

A little more tugging and all of this rusty debris fell to the ground.
Figure 5

A little more tugging and all of this rusty debris fell to the ground.

Once the trim is out of the way the rusty discoloration is easy to see.
Figure 6

Once the trim is out of the way the rusty discoloration is easy to see.

If you need or want to remove the trim clips in order to replace them, wedge a flat-blade screwdriver underneath the tab in the center and lift it up.
Figure 7

If you need or want to remove the trim clips in order to replace them, wedge a flat-blade screwdriver underneath the tab in the center and lift it up. First insert the screwdriver on the side of the tab...

.
Figure 8

...and then move the blade counter-clockwise to raise the tab enough to clear the metal stud to which the clip is attached. These metal studs are attached to the door skin.

Next, slide the trim clip to force the stud underneath the central tab so you can release the clip.
Figure 9

Next, slide the trim clip to force the stud underneath the central tab so you can release the clip.

10
Figure 10

The underside of the clip reveals how the head of the stud fits into the slot on the clip.

If you need more than hand pressure to move the clip over, you can use a block of wood and a hammer to provide a bit more force without damaging the door or paint.
Figure 11

If you need more than hand pressure to move the clip over, you can use a block of wood and a hammer to provide a bit more force without damaging the door or paint.

The most unfortunate consequence of Audi's rust-prone trim is that the rust can work its way into the door skin, as can be seen here at the trailing edge of the driver's side door.
Figure 12

The most unfortunate consequence of Audi's rust-prone trim is that the rust can work its way into the door skin, as can be seen here at the trailing edge of the driver's side door.

Before attaching the new clips and trim pieces, I cleaned up the paint and door sill trim to remove any rust stains.
Figure 13

Before attaching the new clips and trim pieces, I cleaned up the paint and door sill trim to remove any rust stains. This shot gives a good view of all the mounting studs along the bottom of the passenger-side doors, and of the cleaned-up front door versus the still-dirty back door.

Attaching the new clips is simply the reverse of removing them.
Figure 14

Attaching the new clips is simply the reverse of removing them. Put the stud in the large slot at one end of the clip...

.
Figure 15

...and slide the clip so that the stud snaps into the middle of the clip.

Once all the clips are on the studs, you can attach the trim pieces.
Figure 16

Once all the clips are on the studs, you can attach the trim pieces. Line up the clips with the wide gaps in the channel on the back side of the trim piece, and then slide the trim piece toward the front of the car. The threads for the screw at the front of the trim piece are visible, as well as the hole in the door skin that allows the screw to pass through it and into the trim piece.

Here's another view of a trim piece, aligned with the clips along the door bottom.
Figure 17

Here's another view of a trim piece, aligned with the clips along the door bottom. The clips go into the wide part of the channel in the trim piece and then slide into the narrow part of the channel to hold it in place.

This sequence shows how the plastic clip fits into the back of the trim piece .
Figure 18

This sequence shows how the plastic clip fits into the back of the trim piece...

.
Figure 19

...and then slides into place.

Voila! It's like a new car .
Figure 20

Voila! It's like a new car...almost.

Finish off the installation by inserting the screw into the front of the trim piece.
Figure 21

Finish off the installation by inserting the screw into the front of the trim piece. The hole probably won't line up exactly with the threaded portion of the trim piece, but you should be able to engage the threads anyway.

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Comments and Suggestions:
KD Comments: hi there
I have an '08 with the same door trim problem, but the widget didn't have clips for this year. Do you sell these?
December 3, 2016
ludiggity Comments: This is a fantastic article, now only if I can find the parts!? Why am I not seeing a link or info on how to buy..
March 10, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: On the right side of the article is a parts link widget. Enter your vehicle info and the parts will be displayed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Sunny Comments: Excellent website and comments. Very clear and precise. I fixed rubber trims for my audi a4. My car looking brand new now. Thanks again
July 24, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
hazy Comments: What is the small piece of trim on the rear wheel arch called? is part of the door trim?
May 4, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: On what vehicle? It could be a fender molding. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
truc Comments: thanks I was looking all over for this, really helpful
April 15, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Dave Comments: What is the cost for each lower piece of moulding on a 2000 Audi A4 1.8 turbo? Also, for the other two pieces. Thanks.
January 23, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't have that info handy. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
jamie Comments: thanks for this!

just about to fit a new trim to my A4 door, and wanted to see what holes in the road to avoid!

Jamie
November 2, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
dj Comments: Hi. Do the plastic clips come with the trim or do they need to be ordered separately? I did not see them listed in your catalogue. Thanks!
September 8, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There is one screw for each molding and the plastic clips that usually break when removing it. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right parts. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Radar Comments: Great write up - I have a 2001 A6 with the same issue. The ends of the trim are peeling away / curling up from the door. None has fallen off yet, but I could imagine this isn't far away. I would guess this trim is attached in the same manner as the A4 trim, any definitive answer to this? Thanks.
September 1, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, the A4 and A6 trim are similar, you could use this article as a rough guide to replace yours. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
A Thankful Martin Family Member Comments: Extra tip: You may need a wrench to hold the remnants of the old molding while you remove the screw. Otherwise, it will keep spinning and not come out.

Thank You Again,

Mrs. Martin
September 22, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the tip! - Nick at Pelican Parts  
A Thankful Martin Family Member Comments: I just wanted to say thank you for the step-by-step instructions with pictures. It made the replacement of my lower left passanger door molding on my 1999 A4 Quattro incredibly easy.

Respectfully,

Mrs. Martin
September 22, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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