This Simple Tool Makes Removing Plastic Panels Quicker And Easier

Illustration for article titled This Simple Tool Makes Removing Plastic Panels Quicker And Easier
Screenshot: Cool Tools on YouTube / Jalopnik

Over the past few weeks we’ve looked at a torque multiplier to bust a lug nut loose when your impact wrench won’t do the job, a drill-powered winch to help load vehicles onto trailers and torque limiting extensions to help ensure lug nuts and bolts are properly torqued. This week’s cool tool is a prybar and a tool kit for removing those pesky plastic rivets holding your interior and exterior panels on.


This suggestion comes from reader Half-track El Camino, and they say that they’re kicking themselves for not discovering it sooner than they did. They got the tool kit to help them replace an NA Miata’s convertible top and now use it frequently.

Modern cars have a bunch of plastic parts inside and out and they’re usually attached with a variety of different fasteners. Some are screws, some are clips and some are annoying push-in fasteners or rivets. Here’s one on one of my many Smart ForTwos.

Illustration for article titled This Simple Tool Makes Removing Plastic Panels Quicker And Easier
Photo: Mercedes Streeter

When these fasteners get old or dirty, they can become extremely hard to remove.

In theory, these fasteners are removed by pulling on the pin in the center of the rivet until the fastener releases. Then you separate your panels from the fastener. In practice, it seems these things hold on for dear life and end up destroyed as you force them to let go. If you’re a savage like me, you’ll tear those fasteners apart out of spite, then replace them with zip-ties.

Half-track El Camino has a solution that’s a lot more civilized, a fastener remover tool!

Using it is easy. Stick it into the part that you’re supposed to pull up then let the tool do the heavy lifting. Watch the Cool Tools YouTube channel (no relation to this series) demonstrate how to use a tool like this:

The best part? A fastener remover tool is extremely cheap. The Besita 75022 model recommended by Half-track El Camino only costs about $10.


But if you want a whole suite of tools to get many kinds of plastic fasteners, our reader also bought an 88-piece interior panel removal kit that currently runs about $27.

Do you know of a weird or unique but must-have tool that every wrencher should have? Do you want to see us put a type of tool to the test and see how it performs? Shoot me an email or drop it down in the comments!

Staff Writer at Jalopnik and learning pilot. Smart Fortwo (x4), Honda Beat, Suzuki Every, NovaBus RTS, VW Jetta TDI (x2), VW Touareg V10, Audi TT, Buell Lightning, Triumph Tiger, Genuine Stella...



I’ve had mixed results with these kinds of tools. Some just aren’t stiff enough to really lever the fastener out. Others are stronger (metal), but being metal, they tend to scratch the panels you are trying to pop the fastener out of. I’ve even had a metal one (AMZ garbage) bend on me.  There will always be some that require pliers or destructive removal.