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Hello I will help you with your question,
What brand of vehicle are you working on?
This is a view of the inside of the handle and the rod that goes into it. The tip of the rod is placed in the hole ion the retainer and the retainer is rotated until the catch on the retainer lock around the rod. Your retainer may be missing. This is a retainer and the rod would go where the screwdriver is positioned
Let me know if you have questions