Here was my solution for a "frozen" back door of a 2002 Mitsubishi Montero Limited
Nothing can be done from the interior of the Montero. The license plate holder will
need to be removed carefully using a screwdriver.
There a re 4 tabs that need to pop out. All you need to do is pop them out.
Do not force the plate holder to separate away too much from the door or the
retainer (marked by red arrow) would break off. When you get the 4 tabs to
pop out, slide the entire plate holder up to remove from the retainer. You do
not need to detach the lamp wiring. Just move the plate holder to the right
I used WD40 but I'm sure there are other better and longer lasting spray
lubricant out there. Spray through the hole generously from all
Let it sit for a while and then spray again some more.
The white tab from the handle that goes in the hole normally is being pushed
up by a spring activated rod that sits horizontally against it. That spring gets
rusted over time.
You will need a stiff wire, about 8"-10" in length. A wire hanger worked well
for me. Bend approx. 1/2" of one end, just as pictured below.
Put the hook though the hole and move the rod mentioned earlier up and
down to loosen up it's spring. This rod is not easily visible. You basically
just need to assume where it is after understanding the mechanics of the handle
movement. It may take some time but be patient. You will see that you are getting
somewhere when the handle starts moving back down to its normal position. Keep
working on it 'till it's totally back where it should be. And when it is, lubricate it
Heads up. There were many times that I thought I wasn't gonna be able to fix it
and wanted to just put everything back and live with an inoperable back door. But
I decided to stay with it and it paid up.
An extra step I did after I put the plate holder back was I put a light silicone
sealant across the top to prevent rain/water from seeping in to the spring
mechanism again. Good luck!
It would be nice to know if the time spent posting this information have helped
anybody. Feel free to e-mail me and let me know!