Toyota 4runner Rear Hatch Won’t Open: 6 Steps To Reset

One of the common problems of the Toyota 4runner is the rear hatch. Auto owners and drivers often get stranded on the road due to a stuck rear hatch. Understandably, the issue may come with a feeling of irritation. You need not remain in panic mode. 

If your Toyota 4runner rear hatch ever gets stuck or fails to open, you’ll either get rid of it or simply fix it. Keep reading as this article provides the information you need to sort out your rear hatch stuck problem. 

Why Is My Rear Hatch Not Opening?

A liftgate is a motorized backdoor that automatically opens and closes through an electronic system. The system also functions by pressing or pushing a button in a vehicle. This grants the owner or driver the ability to control the back door with just a pull or push. The rear hatch not opening is one of the common unexpected issues a car owner may face. 

You may experience rear hatch issues as a result of one or more underlying issues. Here are some possible causes of the rear hatch stuck in the Toyota 4runner. 

  • Unresponsive key fob: The fob allows you to control a keyless lock system. Using an unresponsive key fob to open your rear hatch may cause it to not open. How? Your car key fob is mostly located next to the rear hatch, not in all cases though. It doesn’t matter if you unlock all four doors. The rear hatch won’t open if the key fob doesn’t respond or is far from the back of the car. The only reason the rear hatch will open without the presence of the key fob is if you open the right rear door. 
  • Height setting: A Toyota 4runner has an adjustable rest hatch design. Maintaining a height setting over time could cause your rear hatch to not open.
  • Broken lock/latch: Broken rear hatch lock can create difficulties when you try to open your lift gate. Basically, a latch has a bar that connects directly with a notch in your vehicle frame. When the latch or lock is broken, your vehicle frame and the rear hatch may no longer fit together as expected.
  • Dirty tracks/rusts: Too much build-up or dirt or rust can cause rear hatch problems. This is because debris build-ups can block the liftgate track.
  • Spoilt cables: If you’re opening your rear hatch with the trigger or manual lever close to the driver’s seat, you are connecting to your rear hatch through a cable. In a situation whereby the cable is damaged or ruined, you may experience difficulty while trying to open your rear hatch.
  • The engine control unit (ECU) inside the rear hatch may be bad.

How To Reset Toyota 4runner Rear Hatch

Here are steps to reset your Toyota 4runner rear hatch:

  • Step 1: Spray some WD-40: The first thing to do is to try spraying some WD-40 on the car door handle. This way, you can lubricate it and help loosen up build-ups and rust. 
  • Step 2: Unplug the battery: Remove the battery for about 30 seconds and plug it in again.
  • Step 3: Open the rear hatch: Using the key, open the rear hatch. It’s pretty simple to do.
  • Step 4: Insert your car key: Insert the key and try to rotate it gently to see if it opens up.
  • Step 5: Use the rear hatch button: Try using the rear hatch release button on your car’s dashboard. It is on the left side of your steering wheel.
  • Step 6: Access your trunk: Start by removing or folding your rear seats if possible. Then try to open it by pulling the release mechanism from the inside of your car. This works in a case where the trump lock is damaged.

Alternatively, use the manual release button on your car’s dashboard if the key fob is not responsive.

To reset the rear hatch ECU, follow the guide:

  • First, remove your car key. 
  • Try to reset the ECU fuse by pulling the ECU-B fuse (it is found below the hood) from the fuse box for at least a minute. 
  • Thereafter, put the fuse back. This will reset the system and clear the long-term memory already in the car’s ECU.

If you still have some difficulties opening the hatch by yourself, visit a locksmith as soon as possible. 


Can I open my Toyota 4runner rear hatch or trunk from the inside?

The answer is yes. You can use the cable trunk release close to the driver’s seat. While inside the car, you can tug the cable icon to open the rear hatch. There is also the option of falling or removing the back seats, to access the release mechanism from the inside.

Why is my rear hatch not opening with the button?

Your rear hatch may not open due to a problem with the wiring harness or the luck actuator of your car. A skilled technician will help you make whatever repairs to restore your rear hatch button to its original state.

Final Thoughts

Fixing a latch stuck in most cases is easy. The problem may spring from other issues in your car. However, if you’re not mechanically inclined or if you try the above tips and there is still no change, seek the professional assistance of a qualified locksmith near you. 

As a driver or vehicle owner, preparing ahead for an unexpected issue, like a rear hatch stuck, can affect your response or reaction when such a problem eventually occurs. You can reset and open up your rear hatch yourself with the simple steps above. While doing so, ensure you handle the locking mechanism with care. Do not exert too much force, to avoid damage and costly repairs. I hope this article helps you make an informed decision.

  • James Smith

    I'm James Smith, a car enthusiast and a content writer for Daily Car Tips. I have a passion for all things cars, from classic muscle cars to the latest electric vehicles. When I'm not writing about cars, you can usually find me tinkering with my car or checking out the latest automotive trends.

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