Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Trunk Latch Release Cable

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Trunk Latch Release Cable

trunk latch release cable

Most new cars, trucks, and SUVs are equipped with electronically controlled trunk latches that open once a button inside the vehicle or on a remote is depressed by the driver. Older vehicles, on the other hand, have manually operated and secured trunk latch release cables that pop the trunk when the lever is pulled by a handle. This handle is typically located next to the driver's seat or underneath the dashboard on the left hand side near a hood release. In some cases, this cable can become damaged and when it does, it will need to be replaced by somebody that has knowledge of how it's installed in order to avoid damage to other mechanical components.

A trunk latch release cable is simply that – a cable that releases the trunk latch when it is pulled. In most cases, the cable only is used when the driver is inside the vehicle and pulls a lever to open the trunk. The cable does not impact the trunk latch's ability to open when the key is inserted to the lock or triggered remotely through a solenoid. Some of the most common reasons why a trunk latch release cable might become broken in the first place include:

  • An accident where the vehicle was struck on the driver side
  • The cable connections on the latch or the rear of the trunk are damaged due to rust
  • Water or salt water corroded the cable

Most trunk latch cables are made out of steel wire and are very difficult to damage. On some imports however, the cable is a strong plastic material, which commonly becomes detached to the connections if the handle is pulled too hard or aggressively. Regardless of the materials or location, there are some times when the trunk latch cable will wear out and become damaged. When it does, it will display a few indicators or warning signs that the trunk latch cable is damaged and needs to be replaced. Noted below are a few of the common symptoms of a damaged or failing trunk latch release cable.

Trunk does not unlatch when the handle is pulled

If the trunk latch cable is damaged, the first indicator is that the trunk will not unlatch when the driver pulls on the handle. This can be caused by the cable being broken somewhere in between the handle and the trunk latch, the cable's connection on the latch being damaged, or the connection that secures the cable to the handle is broken. It's always best to contact a mechanic so they can inspect the issue before making the decision to replace the entire cable. Most of the time the cable runs underneath the vehicle and may be difficult to replace without the right tools and experience.

Trunk latch handle is loose

Another indicator that the trunk latch cable is broken is when the handle is loose on the side of the driver's door. When the cable is secured to the handle and the trunk latch, it causes the handle to be tight and does not have "play" in the handle at all. However, when the cable is damaged or broken, the handle near the driver's door will be very loose. Obviously the trunk latch will also not work correctly if this symptom is found.

If the trunk latch release cable is damaged, it should be replaced by a professional mechanic. If you notice any of these symptoms or suspect that your trunk won't open because of a bad cable, contact a local ASE certified mechanic to replace the trunk latch release cable or complete a full inspection to determine the right course of action to make sure your trunk is operational.

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 Long Does a Fuel Filler Neck Last?
Getting gas from the pump to your gas tank is the only way to keep a car going. The fuel filler neck is a metal tube that is welded to the...
How Long Does a Throttle Return Spring Last?
Not all vehicles on the road feature an electronic throttle control (ETC), which is also called drive-by-wire. For vehicles that don't offer this system, they have a throttle cable instead that...
P0121 OBD-II Trouble Code: TPS "A" Circuit Range Performance Problem
P0121 code definition Throttle Pedal Position Sensor/Switch (TPS) A Circuit Range Performance Problem...


Related questions

Q: How do I use the cargo cover?

The cargo cover is used to cover items that are stored in your trunk. The cover can provide added security by hiding your storage, or it can simply provide shade cover. To open the cargo cover, extend it manually from...

Q: How do I open the trunk with the remote keyless entry (RKE) transmitter?

The remote keyless entry (RKE) transmitter can be used to open your vehicle’s trunk. Here’s how: 1. Press the unlock button on the RKE transmitter. The unlock button looks like an open padlock, and will unlock all of the vehicle’s...

Q: I sprayed insulation foam inside my truck because I have big speakers so I don't want my to rattle but I sprayed too much. Now the trunk will not open.

Hi there. The foam may have gotten onto the track area to the trunk hinges or resting area. Try to unlatch the trunk. If the trunk is able to unlock, then you will need to get a small cutting blade...