5 Reasons Why Trunk Button Not Working

The trunk release button will conveniently unlock the trunk anytime you want to retrieve something. If the button fails, it’s essential to be able to fix the problem as soon as possible to avoid a major inconvenience. So, how do you come out of a “trunk button not working” situation? 

We have discussed five possible solutions to this problem based on the potential root cause below. Check them out and see which one works for you.

Possible Solution #1: Deactivate the Valet Mode

Your car likely has a “valet system”, a feature that keeps the security system from arming. At the same time, it lets the convenience functions like door lock-and-unlock function normally. You might have turned the feature on by mistake, and your vehicle is now in valet mode.

In that case, you only need to deactivate the mode for the button to start working again. Open the glove box to find the valet switch. Manufacturers intentionally place them in locations that are hard to find. Turn the valet switch to the “ON” position. 

Note: Depending on your car model, the valet switch may be located in different locations. Disabling the features may also vary from model to model. Please consult your owner’s manual. 

Check if the issue is resolved. If the button doesn’t work, something else is to blame. Try Possible Solution #2 below. 

Possible Solution #2: Check Your Car Battery

The trunk button sends signals to an actuator, which controls the latch that locks and unlocks the boot. This trunk lock/unlock actuator is an electrical device that relies on your car battery for power. 

The actuator won’t have the energy to function if the battery is low or dead. Therefore, if the button doesn’t work and your vehicle isn’t in valet mode, then it’s probable that the battery is to blame. 

Check the battery status using a voltmeter. If its voltage is low, recharge it. Alternatively, you can jump-start the car or replace the weak battery for the button to work again. 

Note: A low or weak battery can create a batch of issues in your vehicle. These include being unable to unlock your vehicle electrically. Ensure you have a healthy battery at all times. 

Possible Solution #3: Check if the Door Is Stuck

Another cause of a “trunk button not working” problem is a lousy trunk latch. That mechanism holds the trunk closed and releases it as and when you need it. If the latch is malfunctioning, your boot will have issues opening as it may be stuck. 

If your key fob can’t open the trunk, try using the emergency trunk release cable inside the boot. You’ll access this cable through the cabin. Pull the passengers’ seats forward, then crawl inside the trunk. The emergency trunk release cable usually has a yellow handle. 

You may require a flashlight to locate it. The cord will be on the top trunk door. Just pull it downwards and see whether the door opens. If it doesn’t, the latch is probably damaged, and the door is stuck. You may need the help of a local locksmith to deal with this situation. 

Possible Solution #4: Replace a Blow Fuse or Shortened Wires

The trunk button could have failed due to a problem with the electronics running to its actuator. These are the fuse and wires. A blow trunk release fuse means electric current doesn’t reach the actuator. 

You might find the fuse in the fuse box, but your owner’s manual will give the details of its whereabouts. Using a test light, check if it’s blown and replace it. You’ll also need to check for shorted wires to fix the problem. 

Note: Dealing with a blown fuse or shortened wire issue may be challenging for a DIYer. Take your car to a dealer or contact a local mechanic to help you. The specialist can quickly locate the fuse and identify and fix any faulty wiring issues at an affordable cost. 

Possible Solution #5: Replace a Faulty Trunk Lock Actuator

The button doesn’t work because of a malfunctioning trunk lock actuator. That is usually the case if neither the switch nor the key fob can unlock the door. As mentioned, the lock actuator is an electrical device. As such, it can malfunction anytime due to a short or something else. 

The only way to deal with a faulty actuator is to replace it; you can’t repair it. Use the help of a reliable mechanic to diagnose the problem and fix it for you properly. Taking your vehicle to a dealer will be the best idea if it is under warranty. 


How Can You Know if Your Trunk Latch Is Faulty?

To know if your trunk latch is faulty, pay attention to the most common symptoms. If you have a defective trunk latch, you will have problems unlocking or locking it into place. The emergency trunk release cable may also refuse to function if the latch is damaged. 

What Is the Cost of Replacing a Damaged Trunk Latch? 

Replacing a damaged trunk latch varies from $150 to $400. Your exact price depends on the severity of the damage and the model of your car. Sometimes you must repair or replace more than one part, which increases the overall price.  

How Do You Identify a Malfunctioning Trunk Lock Actuator?

To identify a malfunctioning trunk lock actuator, look for the common symptoms. These include an audible click from the trunk lock when you press the release button, and the trunk doesn’t open. Another tell-tale sign of a failing actuator is when neither the power trunk lock button nor the key fob opens the boot. 


The first step to resolving a problem is to identify its root. As discussed in our guide above, there are about five causes of the issue: 

  • Your vehicle is in valet mode
  • The battery is too weak
  • You have a faulty trunk lock latch
  • The trunk release fuse is blown, or there’s a shorted wire
  • The trunk release actuator is bad

We have discussed a solution to each of these concerns. Now gather the tools you need and get the button to work again, or contact a specialist for assistance.