The Trunk Latch Won't Close

by Michael Roennevig
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abstract detail of classic british car trunk image by Bo Widerberg from

If you have a problem with your car's trunk, and it won't close securely, it could be too dangerous to drive. Before you go to the trouble and expense of hiring a mechanic, there are a few problems you can troubleshoot yourself before picking up the phone and putting your hand in your pocket.

Step 1

Press down on your trunk, and have somebody release your trunk's release mechanism from inside your car simultaneously. These systems can become jammed but can sometimes be released if a gentle downward pressure is applied to your trunk while the mechanism is being activated. If this is the problem, apply some lubricant.

Step 2

Clean the latch and the area where it connects to the chassis. If dirt or debris has become lodged here, it can stop the latch from connecting properly. It's a good idea to vacuum the area to ensure no small bits of gravel have become trapped and stopped the mechanism from securing properly.

Step 3

Examine the latch and the area where it connects to the body of the car. Either of these might have become bent out of shape or damaged in some other way if the trunk has been shut with an obstruction in the way. If this is the case, contact your vehicle's manufacturer or a local garage to find a replacement if the elements cannot be repaired.

Step 4

Check for any dents in the body of your vehicle around the trunk. If the body work is warped or out of shape, the latch could be out of alignment. If this is the case, it's a good idea to talk to a body work specialist before making any attempt to remove the imperfections yourself.

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