How Do You Remove A Pillar Clip? (For Beginners)

When we refer to car pillars they are usually the roof pillars and there are numerous pillars in your car namely such as A-Pillar, B-Pillar, C-Pillar & D-Pillar.

The pillar clips form part of a car’s body and every vehicle needs them for several reasons such as fastening and holding the pillar trim in position and giving a seamless finish.

Moreover, pillar clips are special types of clips to accommodate the pillar airbags and protect the trim from flying off when during a collision which makes it a daunting task if you want to remove them and don’t know them well.

How can you, therefore, remove a pillar clip safely?

Here is how to remove a pillar clip

You can safely remove a pillar clip depending on the type of car & installation. You first gain access to the clips which are usually hidden behind the pillar trim by prying them away, then use pliers to pinch to release them or twist them off from the groove if it’s not glued. If additional force is needed, pry it off with a flat-headed screwdriver.

Car with A-pillar trim clips.
Car with A-pillar clips.

There are different mentioned to remove A-pillar trim clips based on the type of your car, so if you have a manual available please familiarise yourself and refer to it to avoid any damage.

However, If you’ve been wondering which removal method is right for you, we’ve got you sorted!

This article reveals some nice tricks that make it easy to remove the pillar clip whether with or without applying a bit of pressure. Stay tuned!


Is a Car Pillar Clip Hard to Remove?

A car pillar isn’t hard to remove, though there’s a common misconception that car pillar clips are impossible to remove.

The vast majority of pillar clips are designed to be easy to remove, and there are several methods for removing them. 

Most right-angled ones have a tab that can be twisted off to release the hook.

Others use a hook that can be pulled off by pulling on the tab.

There are however some cases in which you might need to know how to remove car pillar clips.

Here are some of them:

Holes in the Hooks

On most cars, there is only one hook on each side of the vehicle, which means that if there is a place on the car where you can hook it (such as on the doorframe), it would have a hole in it.

The most common place for this is under the edge of an airbag cover, between the airbag and the body of the car.

This hole can be found on Ford Falcon, Mazda 626, and Toyota Corolla 1998-1999 models for example.

Pillar Clips With No Hook

Some pillar clips might not have a hook at all. Instead, they have a bar or barrette that allows you to attach things to them like seat belts. 

If the pillar clip is hard to remove, that means it’s stuck in place and there’s something wrong with it.

If you’re having trouble removing the clip, you should take some time to inspect it and figure out what is wrong with it.

Are Trim Clips Universal?

Trim clips generally are not universal.

The main reason for this is, different kinds of vehicle manufacturers use distinct trim for styling and therefore distinct clips to hold their parts together.

This means that it will be hard to get the exact clip to fit your vehicle when you need to replace one.

There are, however, universal car trim clips that were designed to be used in any kind of vehicle because they were made with a common size and design in mind.

These clips are made in such a way that they can fit almost any car.

This makes them the best choice if you want to buy new ones.

Advantages of Universal Car Trim Clips

There are so many advantages of using universal car trim clips.

First, they are easy to install and remove because of their flexible design.

They can be used in any kind of vehicle and will still give you the same results as when using the original one that came with your vehicle.

You will not have to search for a specific type of clip for your vehicle because there is a single clip that can do the job in any kind of vehicle you have.

How Do You Remove a Pillar Clip?

Generally, three different ways will help you remove car pillar clips without damaging the trim or breaking them.

The processes involved depend on how the clips were initially installed. 

1. Use a Flat-headed Screwdriver

You may use a flat-head screwdriver to try and pry off the clip from its position.

This method is suitable for plastic pillar clips that are not fixed with glue or other adhesives.

2. Use a Pair of Pliers

Use a pair of pliers to twist off the clip from its position.

This method is also suitable for clips that are not glued in place but requires more force than using a screwdriver since you’re pulling it from both ends.

3. Use Your Hands If Applicable

You can use your hands to pull off the clip from its position.

This method is suitable for plastic pillar clips that are not fixed with glue or other adhesives.

Here is a great video showing how to remove the A-pillar trim clips in Toyota Rav4

What Should You Consider When Removing Clips From Your Vehicle

One thing is the make and model of your vehicle.  If you have an antique or vintage car, it is probably best if you get a professional to do the work for you.

Besides, if you have a newer car, there may not be many places where clips can break loose.  

However, it is important to remember that they can still be damaged in some way and require replacement.

Before removing any clip from your vehicle, be sure that you check the manufacturer’s instructions for any special requirements or precautions that may apply. 

Be sure that you follow these guidelines carefully.

What Tools Can I Use to Remove Pillar Clip?

The removal tool you can use to remove pillar clips depends on the type of clip your vehicle uses.

Some of the tools you need are a flat-head screwdriver, a pair of needle-nose pliers, an electric drill, lubricant for the drill bit, removal wedge, and torque wrench.

As for plastic push-pin pillar clips, there are two styles of tools used to remove them,  the Heel board clip remover and the trim tool set.

Both are simple to use, and will not cause any damage to your vehicle if used properly.

Keep in mind that the best tool for removing a car pillar clip is one you can easily use to twist or pull the clip out without damaging it or breaking it off at its base.


Volkswagen Golf Service & Repair Manual: Removing and installing A-pillar trim