Depinning automotive electrical connectors: How to remove the pin from the most common pigtails


What is depinning?

Depinning an automotive connector is the means by which you successfully remove the pins, aka terminals from the connector housing.

This consists of using the proper tools such as a mini screwdriver set or a specific depin tool, like our terminal depin release kit.

See our depin repair tools here

When depinning a connector, you have to be extremely cautious and careful not to break any of the "catches" or the small plastic pieces that you need to pry up or out, in order to release the terminal and wiring from the back of the connector.

Each connector is designed different so each release method per pigtail will not be the same.

As you'll see in this video to the right, we demonstrate how to depin each connector but some are released a completely different way.


These are the common connectors we review in this video.

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/Important Steps

Use the right connector depinning tools

Mini Screwdriver Set
Well sell plenty of those - - but it's important to have the right tools so you don't break any internal pieces of the connector.

Front face, front lock of a connector

Remove the Front Lock
You first need to remove the front lock (or the front face) of a connector to gain access to the next step of releasing the "catch". 

The connector "catch"

Some are built into the terminal
After you remove the front lock, you'll be able to see the catch. Remove it by gently prying up on it and pulling out the terminals/wires at the same time.

*The catch is the lock you have to release inorder to pull out the pins/terminals/wires

Release the catch just right

Just enough to clear the terminal but not too much that you break it. Sometimes you may have to wiggle the terminal or gently push it back in to loosen the catch, then attempt to pull it back out again.


All pigtail are different

L43A2 - This pigtail has a rear lock
You do not need to remove the front lock to get to the catch of this pigtail. 

Secondary Locks

D81B3- This connector is a little harder
You'll notice the look is different when attempting to release the catch. The catches are on the bottom side. You have to lift these catches much higher.


/Depin Automotive Connector Videos


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Eric Palazzolo

Eric Palazzolo is founder and president of, a Houston-based company dedicated to providing high-quality automotive connectors and top-shelf customer service to its clients in the collision repair industry.