How to Fix a Toyota Tundra Tailgate

by Eric Cedric

The Toyota Tundra is the automaker's full-sized truck offering. This pickup is designed for heavy hauling, off-roading and utility tasks. Toyota has acknowledged problems with the tailgate on the Tundra. If you have an issue with your Tundra's tailgate you can try a few fixes and repairs at home. The home fixes require a few hand tools and materials readily available at hardware or auto parts stores, and an hour of time.

Handle Mechanism

Open and close the latch handle mechanism and listen for grinding, or the sound of grit or metal scraping. Open the hatch and lower the tailgate. Inspect the edges of the tailgate where the latches make contact with the housings on the truck bed. Inspect for dryness, grit or deterioration on the metal. Inspect the wire cables that hold the tailgate in position when lowered.

Spray the WD-40 or lubricant onto the handle mechanism, making sure to spray under the handhold. Spray the metal connectors where the tailgate meets the housings on the truck bed. Let the lubricant soak in and wipe away any excess with paper towels.

Move the handle mechanism up and down several times and watch the mechanism on the latch and sides of the tailgate for any problematic movement.

Tailgate Cables

Open the tailgate and lower. Place the 4-foot piece of 2-by-4 under the tailgate so it will stay upright when the cables are disconnected.

Unscrew the cable housing set screws with the Phillips screwdriver. If the screws are sticky, spray WD-40 or other lubricant onto them and let it soak in and try again. Once loosened, pull the tailgate cables off the truck bed and tailgate.

Thread the new cables into the set screws and tighten the screws by turning them to the right until firm and tight. Tighten the set screws as tightly as you can.

Open and close the tailgate several times. Open the tailgate and let it "drop" until the cables catch it and prevents it from falling, to test the integrity of the cables.

Check on Warranty Issues

Go online to the Toyota Warranty Information website (see Resource 1). Due to the issues Toyota had with Tundras in 2007, there are several recall fixes on tailgates that Toyota will fix for free.

Enter the VIN of your Tundra into the website. If you choose to phone Toyota, give the VIN to the representative on the Toyota end of the call.

Ask about tailgate issues and warranty coverage for the tailgate. Ask if the warranty is negated if you attempt to repair the tailgate on your own, or if Toyota will provide free maintenance on any tailgate problems.

Items you will need

About the Author

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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