How to Fix a Broken Microwave Door Handle
Believe it or not, it’s fairly common for a microwave door handle to break. The handle itself and its mounting can both become brittle with age, making them more susceptible to any sort of impact. That said, a broken microwave door handle can still be a bit of a head scratcher—what are you supposed to do now? If the appliance still works otherwise, you definitely don’t need to toss the whole thing out, and you don’t even need to call someone else in for a repair. Replacing a broken microwave door handle is a relatively quick job, and if you do it yourself, it will save you a lot of money in the long run. This job doesn’t require many tools, and you don’t need access to any of the more dangerous parts of the microwave to complete it. Ready to tackle this project? Read on for a step-by-step walkthrough.
How Do I Know Which Replacement Door Handle to Buy for my Microwave?
The exact door handle you’ll need depends entirely on the model of your microwave. There are plenty of resources online for looking up specific replacement appliance parts for purchase. When you’re replacing a microwave door handle, you should do your best to get the exact OEM (that’s original equipment manufacturer) part for your appliance. If you don’t, you risk getting a part that doesn’t fit, or one that is made of flimsy materials. So, how do you go about doing that?
- First, you’ll need your microwave’s model number. This should be on a sticker or tag somewhere on or inside your appliance. The tag is usually rectangular and will contain a number of different details about the microwave. You’re looking for a series of letters and numbers, usually marked by the word “model” or “mod.” The manual or the appliance manufacturer’s website can tell you exactly where to find this label on the appliance.
- Search your model number on AppliancePartsPros.com. You should be able to find a complete listing of compatible replacement parts and their part numbers including the perfect door handle. Microwave door handles can be found here.
- Purchase the handle. Once you have purchased the correct microwave handle and it’s on the way, read the rest of this guide to get ready for replacing your microwave handle.
Safety Precautions to Take Before Working on a Microwave
It is vitally important that you take proper safety precautions before doing any repair work on a microwave. You should never take the cover off of the microwave and work on the inside. There are a number of components inside that could be dangerous even if the microwave has been unplugged for hours, or even days. Wear work gloves (preferably rubberized!) to protect against both the microwave’s sharp edges and potential shocks, and be sure to unplug the microwave and let it sit for at least sixty seconds before beginning any repairs. If you’re working on a mounted microwave, for extra safety, you may want to remove it from its mounting and set it on a flat surface so that it’s extra sturdy.
Thankfully, replacing a broken or damaged door handle shouldn’t involve accessing the inner compartments of the microwave at all, so you shouldn’t be exposed to any of the appliance’s more dangerous parts. However if at any point you feel that you cannot safely work on your microwave, stop what you are doing and call an appliance repair technician.
The Tools You’ll Need to Replace a Microwave Door Handle
Replacing the door handle on your microwave is a simple job and the process is fairly standard from model to model. There may be some variation in what type of mounting hardware is used on the handle, but other than that you’re going to need the same set of tools regardless of what type of microwave you have. Here is what you will need to complete this job:
- A compatible replacement door handle. Search AppliancePartsPros.com with your microwave model number for the replacement microwave handle. We probably have the part you need!
- Handle mounting hardware. You should be able to reuse whatever screws or nuts were holding the original handle in place, but you’ll want to double check that they didn’t fall out when the appliance handle broke.
- A Phillips head screwdriver or nut driver. Most microwaves use Phillips head — or crosshead — screws in their construction, but the door handle may be secured in place with nuts. Since you might be working vertically, having a screwdriver with a magnetic head isn’t a bad idea. It’ll be easier to keep the screws in place that way.
- A flat head screwdriver or another flat tool like a strong putty knife. You may need this part to separate the back panel from the microwave door, as the handle is secured behind this panel.
- (Optional) Your microwave’s manual. While not necessarily required reading, your microwave’s manual will probably have diagrams of the parts you’ll be working on to give you a visual aid while completing this repair.
7 Steps to Replace Your Microwave’s Door Handle
- Before you begin any repairs, disconnect the microwave from its power source. You can either unplug the microwave or flip its circuit breaker, but make sure that no power is being supplied to the appliance. As an additional precaution, wait to move on for a minute or so more. This repair does not require that you access the interior of the microwave housing, so you shouldn’t be exposed to the microwave’s capacitor.
- Check the handle, itself. This isn’t very common, but on some models of microwave, the door is mounted from the outside and the screws are visible on the side of the handle. If this is the case, you can simply unscrew the old handle and install the new one from here. If it’s not mounted from the outside, keep reading.
- Open the microwave door and make sure you have clear access to the inner panel. The inner door panel will need to come off so that you can access the hardware to remove the old handle and install a new one. There may or may not be four screws holding the panel in place—one at each corner. You may also need to take the door completely off of its hinges to get at them. You may not need to do this, but if this is the case, remove the screws holding the hinges in place and carefully set the microwave door on a clear work surface, keeping track of all hardware removed from the appliance.
- Remove the inner panel. If there are screws holding the door in place, remove those first. Next, insert a flathead screwdriver or other sturdy, flat tool into the seam between the inner panel and the edge of the door starting at one of the outer corners. While sliding the screwdriver up or down the seam, carefully pry the panel away from the door. Don’t force it as you could risk bending or breaking the panel.
Work it a little bit at a time, being mindful of the glass behind it as it may come loose once the panel is completely removed. Don’t let the glass fall! Depending on how much space is available as you pull the panel back, you may not need to remove it entirely.
- Using a Phillips screwdriver or nut driver, remove the hardware holding the old handle in place. Most microwaves use crosshead screws, but the handle may be secured in place with nuts. Set the hardware somewhere safe nearby — you’re going to need it again in a minute! — and remove the broken handle.
- Screw the new handle into place. You can reuse the screws you’ve just removed, or any hardware that came with the new handle. Make sure that the handle isn’t crooked before firmly securing it in place. Don’t over tighten the screws as that may strip them. Check to make sure that the handle isn’t loose before moving on to the final step.
- Reinstall the door panel. Press the panel back into place. You may have to tap it a few times to make sure it sits right. Be sure to screw any other mounting hardware back into place, as well. If you removed the door from the microwave, you can now reattach it to the appliance.
With these instructions, you should be able to put that frustrating break behind you in no time. We hope we’ve saved you a bit of money, time, and stress with our walkthrough for replacing a microwave door handle. Now that your microwave is back in tip top shape, consider coming back our way for all of your other appliance repair needs. Whether you’re just looking for parts or seeking a specialized do-it-yourself guide, check out AppliancePartsPros.com. We’re always here to help!