Troubleshooting and Fixing a Trunk That Won't Close

Experiencing issues with a car trunk that won't close can be frustrating and pose a security risk. This comprehensive guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to diagnose and fix common problems that prevent a car trunk from closing properly.

Step 1: Initial Inspection

Start by inspecting the trunk for any visible signs of damage or obstruction. Look for:

  • Damaged or bent latch mechanism.
  • Obstructions in the trunk space or around the seal.
  • Wear and tear on the trunk seal.

Step 2: Clean and Lubricate the Latch

Over time, the trunk latch can become dirty or corroded, which can prevent it from functioning correctly. To address this:

  1. Clean the latch with a suitable cleaner to remove dirt and debris.
  2. Apply a lubricant like WD-40 to ensure smooth operation.
  3. Test the latch to see if the issue is resolved.

Step 3: Check and Adjust the Alignment

Improper alignment of the trunk can prevent it from closing. To adjust the alignment:

  1. Inspect the alignment of the trunk with the car's body.
  2. Loosen the bolts on the latch or striker (but do not remove them completely).
  3. Adjust the position slightly and tighten the bolts.
  4. Test the trunk to see if it closes properly now.

Step 4: Inspect and Replace the Trunk Seal

A damaged or worn-out trunk seal can prevent the trunk from closing. To replace the seal:

  1. Examine the seal for cracks, tears, or flattening.
  2. If damaged, carefully remove the old seal.
  3. Clean the area where the seal sits.
  4. Install a new seal, making sure it's properly positioned.

Step 5: Check the Trunk Springs or Hinges

Malfunctioning trunk springs or hinges can affect the trunk's operation. To inspect them:

  1. Look for signs of rust or damage on the springs and hinges.
  2. Test their tension and movement.
  3. If faulty, consider replacing them with the help of a professional.

Step 6: Inspect the Emergency Release

Most modern cars have an emergency trunk release that can malfunction. Ensure it's:

  1. Properly attached and not obstructing the latch.
  2. Functioning correctly without any damage.

Step 7: Electrical System Check (for Automatic Trunks)

If your car has an automatic trunk, electrical issues could be the cause. Look for:

  1. Blown fuses in the fuse box related to the trunk mechanism.
  2. Loose or damaged wiring.
  3. Consult a professional if you're unfamiliar with automotive electrical systems.


Following these steps should help you identify and fix common issues with a car trunk that won't close. If the problem persists, consult a professional mechanic for further assistance.

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