Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Tailgate Lock Cylinder

tailgate lock cylinder

Bad or Failing Tailgate Lock Cylinder Inspection

by a top-rated mechanic at your home or office

Whether it's to keep valuable items secure in your car while you're on the road or to hide those holiday and birthday presents from the kids, a fully functional tailgate lock is critical for security and to keep your rear hatch or tailgate closed while you drive. What most people misunderstand about why the tailgate lock fails to work correctly is that the problem typically has nothing to do with the lock itself. In many cases, the tailgate lock cylinder is damaged, causing car and truck owners to scramble in order to find ways of repairing this problem – without it costing an arm and a leg.

The tailgate lock cylinder is located inside the lock itself, and is attached to rods that control the locking mechanism. The controlled action of inserting the key into the lock or pressing unlock / lock button on a remote engages the cylinder to move these rods and move the lock tumblers to a closed or open position. This part can be damaged due to multiple reasons including:

  • Dirt and debris inside the lock
  • Foreign substance enters the keyhole and breaks the cylinder
  • An electrical short or broken fuse

When the tailgate lock is broken, you may not be able to get it open or it may not stay closed which can cause a safety risk as your items won't be kept safe. If you are experiencing issues with your tailgate lock cylinder it’s best to have a mechanic take a look and have it replaced.

Here are some common signs of a bad or failing tailgate lock cylinder that you can be aware of:

HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CAR TROUBLE?
Get an $80 diagnostic
by a top-rated mechanic at your home or office.

Get a quote · Book an Appointment · Our expert mechanics come to you.

1. Nothing happens when turning the key

The best indication of a broken tailgate lock cylinder is when you manually enter the key into the tailgate lock, turn it and nothing happens. The cylinder and rods attached to the locking mechanism are designed to pull a lever which activates the lock. This action with the key typically is restricted – or you feel a "tug" when you turn the key and it activates the lock. When you turn the key and don't notice any "tug" on the key, it's most likely the tailgate lock cylinder. If this happens, you'll want to contact a local ASE certified mechanic to fix this issue for you, as typically this involves specialized tools and experience understanding the electrical components attached to many of today's rear tailgate locks.

2. Key can’t be inserted into the lock

If you try to insert the key into the lock and the key won't budge, this is also a symptom of a damaged lock cylinder. When the cylinder and rods break inside the locking mechanism, sometimes they fuse together or block the tumblers inside the lock. When this occurs, the key won't turn and in many cases, the key can't be inserted into the lock.

Like the above example; if this happens to you, call a certified mechanic to inspect, diagnose and complete the needed repairs. In some cases this similar symptom is caused by something stuck inside the key lock and will not require the lock to be replaced.

HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CAR TROUBLE?
Get your car fixed at your home or office.

Get a quote · Book an Appointment · Our expert mechanics come to you.

3. Automatic key function does not activate

In some modern cars, trucks, and SUVs the tailgate lock is completely automated and controlled by either remote access or a button somewhere near the dashboard, center console, or the driver door. If you press the button and don't hear the click or the electrical signal of the solenoid engaging, it's because the tailgate lock cylinder is damaged or an electrical problem exists.

Anytime you experience the above symptoms, don't wait for it to go away. Contact a professional mechanic who can arrive to your home or office, inspect the problem, diagnose what's actually wrong and complete the tailgate lock cylinder replacement if needed.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Still not sure about your car's issue?
Diagnose your car
What kind of issue are you experiencing?
Brakes are squeaking
Car is not starting
Car is overheating
Car is shaking (vibrating)
Fluids are leaking
Heating and A/C
Smoke or steam is coming out of the car
Warning light is on
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
Auto Safety Tips
Driving is more than a way to get from point A to point B. Owning and driving a car can also be a highly enjoyable experience. Whether a person is driving...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...


Related questions

Q: Tail gate won't release

Hey there. The rods connect to the center control handle using plastic clips and these clips or the handle breaks. You will need to have a mechanic remove the inner tailgate cover to gain access to the latch handle and...

Q: Key won't unlock car anymore

The latch inside the door is locked and unlocked by a lock actuator. The latch or lock actuator has likely bound up, and will need to be accessed get the door open. If this is the case, the inside door...

Q: My trunk door is extremely heavy and will no longer stay suspended up in the air as it used to. What do I need to fix?

Your rear door is supported by two gas charged suspension struts one on each side that will loose their pressure over time. The two struts normally support and help lift the door for you then hold it open until you...