How to Fix a Car Trunk Latch

Updated February 21, 2017

A boot 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 boot from outside, you'll need to gain access to the latch from inside the vehicle to fix it.

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

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

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.

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

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 boot latch.

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


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


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

Things You'll Need

  • Air compressor
  • Penetrating oil
  • Lithium grease
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About the Author

Cameron Easey has over 15 years customer service experience, with eight of those years in the insurance industry. He has earned various designations from organizations like the Insurance Institute of America and LOMA. Easey earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and history from Western Michigan University.