How to Fix a Broken Truck Tailgate Handle

by Thomas West

Pickup trucks are very useful to owners needing extra cargo space that a car or sport-utility vehicle cannot match. The large cargo bed at the rear of the vehicle is accessed by a tailgate, a large, hinged door that is the full width of the cargo bed. Once you pull the handle, the tailgate can be lowered to a horizontal position to allow access to the bed. Unfortunately, the tailgate handles on most modern pickups are made from plastic and are susceptible to damage. Replace your broken tailgate handle in just a few minutes with automotive tools.

Ford Tailgate Handle Replacement

1

Remove the screws that hold the sheet metal access panel on the inside of the tailgate with a torx screwdriver turned counterclockwise. Lower the panel and place it and the screws aside. Locate the tailgate handle holding screws inside the cavity after the access panel has been removed.

2

Back the screws out of the cavity, turning an adjustable wrench counterclockwise.

3

Remove the clips from the tailgate latch rods on each side of the tailgate handle by prying them off with a flat-blade screwdriver. Set the clips aside. Release the tailgate handle assembly from the tailgate by lifting the latch rods from the handle. Lift the handle from the tailgate access hole.

4

Place a new handle into the access hole on the back side of the tailgate. Make sure the front of the handle faces the outside of the tailgate and the mounting holes line up with the threaded fittings in the back side of the tailgate. Replace the holding screws and tighten with an adjustable wrench turned clockwise.

5

Push the tailgate latch rods onto the holes on each side of the tailgate handle assembly and press the holding clips until they snap into place. Test the operation of the tailgate, using the new handle. Place the access panel back over the cavity on the backside of the tailgate and tighten the holding screws, turning a torx screwdriver clockwise.

Chevrolet and GMC Tailgate Handle Replacement

1

Remove the bolt at the top center of the backside of the tailgate with an adjustable wrench turned counterclockwise. Carefully pry the plastic trim surround on the tailgate handle on the front of the tailgate with a door panel removal tool. Pull the surround away from the tailgate. Be careful not to scratch the surrounding paint.

2

Turn the locking clips that hold the two tailgate latch rods counterclockwise. Pull the rods sideways from the tailgate handle.

3

Remove the two bolts that hold the tailgate handle in place with an adjustable wrench, turning counterclockwis. Pull the tailgate handle assembly from the tailgate.

4

Push a new tailgate handle into the cavity from the front of the tailgate. Replace the two holding bolts and tighten with an adjustable wrench.

5

Insert the latch rods back into the locking clips on each side of the tailgate handle. Rotate the clips clockwise until they lock into place. Push the plastic trim surround back to the outside of the handle until it snaps into place. Replace the holding bolt from the other side of the tailgate with an adjustable wrench turned clockwise.

Items you will need

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