How to Fix a Car Trunk Latch

A trunk latch that does not release or appears to be stuck usually can be fixed. A latch can become stuck if the vehicle is kept outside and moisture corrodes the gears or the latch mechanism. If you cannot open the trunk from outside, you'll need to gain access to the latch from inside the vehicle to fix it.

Step 1 - Test the trunk latch. If you have a remote for the trunk and the trunk doesn't open when you press the release button, try to open it manually with the trunk key.

Step 2 - Locate the manual trunk latch release mechanism in your vehicle, if it is equipped with one. If you have a minivan, the trunk latch mechanism may be behind a trim panel on the inside of the luggage area. Pull the emergency trunk release mechanism to open the trunk.

Step 3 - Examine the latch mechanism to see whether a plastic part is broken. You'll need to take the vehicle to a dealer or a mechanic to replace any broken pieces.

Step 4 - Spray compressed air into the latch mechanism to remove any dirt or debris.

Step 5 - Apply lubricating oil to the gears of the latch mechanism and hinges. To work the oil into the moving parts, turn the key to open and close the trunk latch.

Step 6 - Apply lithium grease to the hinges and moving parts to keep them lubricated.

TIPS: Refer to the owner's manual for your vehicle to see if the vehicle has an emergency release cable for the trunk.

THINGS YOU'LL NEED: Air compressor, Penetrating oil, Lithium grease

WARNING: You may need to remove the back seat of a sedan or similar vehicle to get into the trunk so you can reach the manual trunk latch release mechanism.

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