7 Steps to Fix Trunk Latch Stuck In Closed Position

Having your trunk latch stuck in a closed position can be frustrating. Especially when you are going on a trip, the trunk won’t open, and the key doesn’t seem to open the latch.

Don’t be frustrated! We have all been there.

This article will discuss easy Do-It-Yourself techniques to fix a trunk latch stuck in a closed position. 

We will explain the inner workings of your lock mechanism, its causes, and easy fix. Let’s begin!

How Does Your Trunk Lock Mechanism work?

A truck lock mechanism is responsible for securing the trunk of your vehicle.

It is inside the trunk and consists of the latch, actuator and striking mechanism.

While most locks operate with a key, most modern cars have an electronic lock system. The driver can lock and unlock the trunk via a remote or button.

The trunk locks when the latch comes in contact with the strike plate. In addition, it opens when the driver activates the release lever.

Although, most automobiles now use an electrical release button and a solenoid instead of manually releasing the lever.

A couple of factors can cause the trunk latch to get stuck in a closed position, and we shall discuss some of them in later paragraphs.

Why is My Latch Stuck in a Closed Position?

There are a couple of reasons why your latch won’t open. Here are some of the reasons we suspect may be causing the jam:

1. Corrosion and Rust

Over time water may get into your vehicle lock mechanism, causing the lock material to deteriorate and rust to build within the lock.

This rust build-up can cause the latch to jam, especially when you haven’t opened the truck for a long time.

2. Dirt and Debris Build-up

It is also possible for dirt and debris to build up in your vehicle lock mechanism. This build-up can obstruct the latch function and prevent it from opening.

3. Damaged Actuator

The Actuator is responsible for the lock and unlock sequence in your trunk.

It is an electric motor triggered via a remote, button or key. It triggers the latch to release and open.

The majority of the time, a damaged actuator is the main cause of a jammed latch as there is no force to trigger the release.

To confirm the Actuator is damaged, try manually unlocking the latch. If you can, then the Actuator is no longer functioning properly.

4. Frozen lock

Your trunk lock can get frozen and jam in an extremely cold environment. In this situation, you will need to find other means to unfreeze the lock to release the latch.

5. Wear and tear

Wear and tear may cause the internal lock system to collapse and jam. Unfortunately, you can do nothing to prevent or fix this other than replace the lock.

Older vehicles are more prone to damaged locks due to wear and tear.

Tips to Maintain your Car’s Lock 

Properly lubricating your trunk lock mechanism can prolong the effect of wear and tear.

It can also prevent the lock from jamming due to rust build-up.

We recommend oiling your car lock at least twice yearly to prevent damage.

Follow these steps to lubricate your car’s lock properly.

Step 1: Using a brush, clear all debris, rust, and ice that could have built up on the lock

Step 2: We recommend using oil 0w40, which is thicker and penetrates better. Lithium grease is also a better option.

Step 3: Spray the grease inside the lock using a straw. Try moving the latch and release lever as you apply the oil. It allows the oil to penetrate better.

Step 4: A long screwdriver is useful for locking and unlocking the latch as you apply the oil.

Step 5: Also spray the oil on the catch.

How to Fix a Trunk Latch stuck in Close Position

Fixing a Jammed latch can be tricky, depending on the root cause.

Firstly, you will need to gain access to the lock mechanism of the trunk. If the trunk is open, you can easily access it. However, you may need to access the lock mechanism inside the car.

Here is a detailed step to fix a jammed latch:

Step 1: Lose the panel covering the trunk lock mechanism:

You should notice some pop pins across the panel. Lose the pin, and you should be able to remove the panel.

Step 2: Manually unlock the latch using a screwdriver

You must place the screwdriver underneath the locked latch and force it open. 

Step 3: Inspect the lock mechanism

Now that you have forced the latch open. Physically inspect the lock mechanism for damage. Check for cracks, and dent on the latch, catcher, actuator and other lock components.

Step 4: Replace the broken lock

If you discover the lock is broken or damaged, replace it with a new lock. It is often difficult to repair a broken lock.

Step 5: Clean the latch and other components

Clear dirt and other debris that might have accumulated within the lock system using a brush. Ensure you brush and oil rusted components of the lock.

Step 6: reassemble the lock and panel

Once all steps above are finished, reassemble all the loose components tightly. Ensure all bolts and pins are fixed. Try to open the lock and check if the latch functions well.

Step 7: Call a mechanic

There are situations where the damage to the lock may be more complicated for a Do-it-yourself technique. You will need to seek professional help.

Final Thought!

This article has provided useful tips on working your trunk lock mechanism. We have also discussed tips on maintaining your lock system, causes of the latch to get stuck in a closed position and, more importantly, how to fix it.

We recommend you follow the instructions above to fix the lock system. If the latch still doesn’t unlock, contact your mechanic to help you. Thank you for reading!

  • Edmond Davis

    I'm Edmond Davis, an automotive expert with years of experience in vehicle repair, performance, and safety. I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Automotive Engineering and have worked with major companies like Ford, GM, and Chrysler. I'm a trusted source of information for anyone looking to learn more about cars or improve their driving experience.

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