How to Fix a Tailgate That Won’t Latch

Are you struggling with a tailgate that won’t latch? A non-functioning tailgate can be frustrating and unsafe. It’s important to address the issue as soon as possible to ensure your cargo is secure during transportation. In this article, we’ll share some tips on how to fix a tailgate that won’t latch.

With a few easy steps, you can get your tailgate back in working order and avoid any potential safety hazards. Don’t let a faulty latch ruin your day – read on to learn more about how to fix this problem!

Troubleshooting a Tailgate That Won't Latch


Understanding The Problem

A tailgate that won’t latch can be quite frustrating. One of the main signs of a tailgate that won’t latch is when the tailgate won’t close properly. Another sign is when the tailgate closes, but there is no “click” sound to indicate that it is locked.

The possible reasons for a tailgate that won’t latch are varied, including a damaged latch mechanism, a bent striker plate, or a damaged cable. It is important to inspect the tailgate latch mechanism thoroughly before assuming it is broken. If you try to latch the tailgate and it doesn’t click, try pushing down on it or adjusting the striker plate.

If none of these solutions work, it may be time to take your vehicle to a repair shop for further inspection.

Diy Fixes For A Tailgate That Won’T Latch

Fixing a tailgate that won’t latch can involve several potential causes and solutions.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you diagnose and address the issue:

1. Inspect the Latch Mechanism: Start by examining the latch mechanism itself. Look for any visible damage, debris, or obstructions that might be preventing it from properly engaging. If you see any rust, dirt, or debris, clean it thoroughly using a brush and some penetrating oil (such as WD-40).

2. Check the Striker Plate: The striker plate is the metal piece on the body of the vehicle that the tailgate latches onto. Make sure it’s properly aligned with the latch. If it’s misaligned, adjust it so that the latch can easily engage with it.

3. Lubricate Moving Parts: Apply a lubricant to all moving parts of the latch mechanism, including hinges and pivot points. This can help ensure smooth movement and proper engagement. Be sure to use a lubricant that’s appropriate for your vehicle and won’t attract dirt and debris.

4. Test the Latch Release Mechanism: Ensure that the tailgate’s release mechanism is working correctly. If it’s not functioning properly, it might not be releasing the latch fully, preventing it from engaging. Check the release handle and cable for any signs of damage or wear.

5. Adjust the Latch Striker Bolt: The striker bolt is the bolt on the tailgate that latches onto the striker plate. It can sometimes become misaligned or loose over time. If this is the case, you may need to adjust its position by slightly loosening the mounting bolts and moving the striker bolt until it lines up properly with the striker plate. Then, tighten the bolts back up.

6. Check for Bent Components: Inspect the tailgate and surrounding components for any signs of bending or damage. A bent tailgate or latch mechanism may not align properly, preventing proper latching. If you find any bent parts, you may need to carefully straighten them.

7. Replace Worn Components: If you’ve inspected everything and still can’t get the tailgate to latch properly, you might need to replace worn or damaged components. This could include the latch itself, the striker plate, or any other related parts.

8. Seek Professional Help: If you’re not comfortable performing these steps yourself or if you’re unable to identify the issue, it’s a good idea to seek the help of a professional mechanic or automotive technician. They can diagnose the problem more accurately and make the necessary repairs.

Remember, safety is paramount when working on your vehicle. Always follow proper safety precautions and consult your vehicle’s manual for specific guidance on tailgate and latch maintenance.

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Professional Repairs For A Tailgate That Won’T Latch

Fixing a tailgate that won’t latch shouldn’t be a daunting task. Professional repairs include replacing the latch assembly or repairing and replacing striker plates. Adjusting the tailgate hinges can also solve the problem. Keep in mind that these tasks require some technical expertise, so it’s best to leave it to professionals if you’re not confident in your abilities.

Latch assembly replacements typically require removing the inner panel to gain access. Striker plates can sometimes be repaired with a hammer or pliers, but may also need replacement. Adjusting the hinges can involve loosening and tightening bolts until the tailgate latches correctly.

Taking the time to make these repairs can avoid further damage and also ensure your car is safe to drive.

Preventing Future Tailgate Issues

Proper maintenance and inspection are crucial in preventing tailgate issues. Regularly inspect the latch system to ensure no damage, rust or dirt build-up. Always use and close the tailgate correctly to prevent misalignments. If the tailgate still doesn’t latch, check for underlying issues such as bent or damaged hinges, rods or cables.

Replace any worn-out parts to prevent further damage. Regular maintenance and attention will not only prevent future problems but also extend the lifespan of your tailgate. Don’t overlook small issues that can become bigger headaches down the line. Take action promptly to ensure the safe and efficient use of your vehicle’s tailgate.

Frequently Asked Questions Of How To Fix A Tailgate That Won’T Latch

How Do I Know If My Tailgate Latch Is Broken?

You may notice the tailgate won’t fully close or pops open while driving. Check the latch mechanism for visible damage.

What Tools Do I Need To Fix A Tailgate That Won’T Latch?

You’ll need basic hand tools like a screwdriver, pliers, and a socket wrench. Additionally, you might need replacement hardware.

Can I Fix A Tailgate That Won’T Latch By Myself?

Yes, you can fix a tailgate that won’t latch by yourself. Start by inspecting the latch mechanism and replace any damaged components.


By following the steps outlined in this guide, you should now have a better understanding of how to fix a tailgate that won’t latch. Remember to inspect the latch, striker bolt, and cables for any wear and tear. Ensure that there are no obstructions preventing the latch from engaging with the striker bolt and adjust the latch if necessary.

Don’t forget to lubricate all moving parts to prevent future sticking or rusting. If all of these suggested solutions still do not work, it might be time to seek professional help. Regular maintenance of your vehicle can go a long way in preventing tailgate issues.

Keep in mind that every truck might have its own unique tailgate mechanism, and it is always best to consult a manual before attempting any repairs. A properly functioning tailgate can be extremely handy for transporting cargo, so make sure to take care of it and stay safe on the road.