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Toyota 4Runner Trunk Won’t Open (How to Fix)

Toyota 4Runners have a unique style of trunk that opens like a door. There can be an issue with the mechanical components, the electronic components, or a setting that is stopping it from opening. Here’s what to do if your Toyota 4runner trunk won’t open.

SUV trunk open full of cargo

In general, spray some WD40 into the lock mechanism and use the key to turn it. Repeat this step a few times to lubricate the lock and get it to release. After that, reset the electronic component by disconnecting the battery and connecting it again. Below are some additional troubleshooting steps.

These are to:

  • Ensure the trunk operator main switch isn’t enabled
  • Ensure it isn’t locked and you’re trying to unlock it with the valet key

If it’s locked and you use the valet key it won’t unlock it. This is a safety feature that prevents a valet from opening the boot. Use the master key to unlock it. If that was the issue it should open.

Top Reasons Why Toyota 4Runner Trunk Won’t Open

Back of SUV trunk being loaded with camping gear

When the trunk on your Toyota vehicle won’t open often it can be something simple that was easily overlooked, in other cases it’s something more major such as an electronic or mechanical fault. Below, I’ve put together the top reasons why a Toyota trunk won’t open.

In general, the trunk opener main switch has been enabled (located in the glove box), you’re trying to open the trunk with the valet key, the lock has seized up, the electronic power gate has a glitch, the lever cable has failed mechanically, or the lock opening and/or locking mechanism has failed.

Below, is a brief explanation why each of these reasons cause a Toyota trunk to not open. As well as, step by step instructions for how to see if each of these reasons are the cause and what to do to fix each of them. It’s worth pointing out that there is an emergency trunk release tab that is located on the interior of the trunk which can be accessed by pulling down the back seat.

This is a temporary fix that is useful to get something out of the trunk while you figure out what is causing the issue and fix it.

This can differ by model, however, so if you can’t find it refer to your owners manual. The owners manual for virtually every Toyota model is available on this page of the official Toyota website.

1. The trunk opener main switch has been enabled

The trunk opener main switch is a security feature on Toyota cars, especially those that have a Smart Key System. It can be switched into the on and off position, and is located in the glove compartment. When it’s enabled the trunk lever won’t open the trunk, and the key won’t open the trunk.

It’s possible it has been accidentally enabled. Take a look at the interior of your glove compartment and see if you can locate it. There are a few different types.

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It should be fairly easy to see how to turn it on and off. Refer to your owners manual if you can’t figure out how to use it, or can’t locate it.

2. You’re using the valet key and/or you have locked the trunk

The trunk on a Toyota can be locked using the key. When it’s locked it’s not possible to use the lever on the interior of your car to open the trunk. If it’s locked it needs to be unlocked using the main key for your car.

There is also a valet key which does not have any buttons on it. If you try to unlock the trunk using the valet key it will not open the trunk. It can only be unlocked using your main key.

Ensure you’re using your main key and not the valet key. And ensure it’s unlocked to use the lever on the interior of your car. When it’s locked, the place where you insert your key will be in the horizontal position rather than vertical.

4. The lock is seized up

The lock mechanisms where you turn the key can seize up. When you turn the key it won’t turn to lock and unlock. It will also cause the truck lever on the interior of your car to not work.

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Metal mechanisms require a small amount of lubricant so that the individual metal components can slide against each other easily without getting stuck. It’s widely reported that using a bit of lubricant can get it turning freely again. WD40 is a popular lubricant that works well.

It also has an attachment that makes it easy to spray into the lock mechanism. Often it requires you to spray some lubricant into the lock mechanism, insert the key and jiggle it a bit and then repeat this process a few times.

5. The electronic power gate has a glitch

Many Toyotas have an electronic power gate. It allows you to open the trunk by waving your foot or hand in front of a sensor. The sensor can be located on the underside of the trunk, or just below where you insert the key to lock and unlock the trunk.

It’s possible to disable the electronic power gate in the settings for your Toyota car. Try disabling it, to see if this is why it won’t open.

6. The lever cable is broken or has come loose (lever only not working)

The lever on the interior of Toyota vehicles is connected to a long wire. When you pull the lever it pulls on the wire and unlocks the truck. The wire can come off the lever, so when you pull it it won’t open the trunk.

It’s possible to remove the lever mechanism yourself, to access the wire directly. This can be used to temporarily open your trunk until you get it fixed. Generally, doing something of this sort yourself will void the mechanical warranty for your Toyota.

But, for older models, and Toyota’s that are out of warranty, it’s worth checking. You may need to remove the paneling to the left of the lever.

7. The trunk lock and/or opening mechanism has failed

Finally, if none of these steps works, then the trunk lock and opening mechanism has failed mechanically or electronically. In general, it’s best to take your Toyota vehicle to your Toyota dealer or a mechanic.

General Fix For Toyota 4Runner Trunk That Won’t Open

Back of SUV Car

There are a few different ways to lock a Toyota trunk such as putting the key in and turning it, and using the hands free sensor, and pulling the trunk lever located in the cabin of your car. In some cases the trunk won’t open at all. Today, I will cover why a Toyota trunk won’t open and how to fix it.

Overall, the lock mechanism has seized up, and needs to be lubricated with some WD40. Before doing that, ensure you’re using the master key not the valet key. Also, if it’s been locked with the master key it will disable the trunk lever. Otherwise, the trunk opener main switch may be enabled by mistake.

These are some of the main reasons but there are a range of additional reasons why it won’t open. I have covered what these are in the previous article section, as well as, step by step instructions for what to do for each of them.

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KnowMyAuto is the sole owner of this article was published on Feb 22, 2023 and last updated on .

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