Hyundai Santa Fe Rear Hatch Won’t Open – Quick & Easy Fix!

So your Hyundai Santa Fe rear hatch won’t open… What can you do?

If you are experiencing this issue, you may find it quite frustrating to deal with. After all, it is never fun to have the rear hatch stuck when you need to get something out of your trunk.

But this issue does happen, and it is most definitely inconvenient.

This is why it helps to do some troubleshooting to get you out of this situation. And that’s what we will talk about today.

hyundai santa fe rear hatch won't open

Hyundai Santa Fe Rear Hatch Won’t Open

You may be wondering what could be causing the rear hatch of your Santa Fe to not open.

This is quite an inconvenience that some car owners deal with. So, what can you do if the rear hatch gets stuck closed?

When you have the doors unlocked, you should be able to hear your lock mechanism at work each time you press the button for the door release. Yet, the hatch remains shut.

You see, there is a gap right between the body and the hatch door, as well as a large area on the top and the sides where moisture and rain tends to drain down. On the edge of your hatch that opens on all sides, there is a rubber weather seal that’s slightly raised. This helps to prevent water from entering the car.

But then, freezing rain eventually gets into the gap. Once it does, it can freeze right before it drains. When the water freezes and more rain adds to it, these things cannot flow easily away. Hence, build-up can arise.

With this in mind, it is best to check if there is a rubber seal. Then, you need to clear away debris that can prevent the water from flowing. When you get rid of the debris, water can flow easily instead of freezing and causing the rear hatch to get stuck.

It is also worth noting that there are a few other reasons why the Hyundai Santa Fe rear hatch won’t open.

These reasons can be as simple as leaving the keys inside the trunk by accident or the trunk’s lock has degraded over time. Whatever the case may be, let’s have a look at these reasons why your rear hatch fails to open and what you can do.

1. Keys stuck in the trunk.

There are some instances when you may have forgotten that your keys were still in the rear hatch. But unfortunately, you have already slammed it shut, causing you to have this dilemma with the rear hatch not opening.

If this is the case, then you may have to get a spare key or go for the trunk release function located near the driver’s seat. This way, it can be possible to recover the keys and then open the trunk.

2. Rear hatch lock is broken.

Another possibility for not being able to open your rear hatch is that the lock itself is broken. If this is the situation, then you will really have some difficulties with opening it by yourself. Your best bet is contacting a locksmith who can help you to replace this jammed lock.

But once again, there is the option of accessing the trunk release right from the inside of your vehicle.

3. Key fob is not responsive.

If you are using a key fob to try to open the rear hatch, yet without any success, then the key may be unresponsive. This is not very common in older vehicles but quite typical with newer ones.

Thus, you may want to try the manual release function at the front of your vehicle that lets you open the trunk. If it works, then you are good to go. Otherwise, you will need to contact a service center or locksmith to help you with unlocking the rear hatch.

Read More: Common Hyundai Santa Fe Gas Gauge Problems You Should Know – Causes And Fixes

Opening The Rear Hatch

opening the rear hatch

Now, you may wonder – are there options to open the rear hatch without contacting a locksmith? There are a few techniques you may try and here they are:

1. Try once more.

Sometimes, your rear hatch fails to open easily because of debris and build-up on the locking mechanism. Perhaps, there is debris or dirt on the trunk latch, which is why the rear hatch is not opening. You may need to apply some force to be able to open the latch. But if it fails, then you can gain access from the inside.

2. Access through the interior

If no matter how much force you applied to open the rear hatch, yet it simply would not budge, then you should consider accessing it from inside the car. Use the manual release lever found on the driver’s seat. It should be able to work right away.

In the rare occasion that it still fails, then you may need to remove or fold down the rear seats to have access to the trunk. You will have to crawl carefully into the trunk, then pull the release mechanism to open it. But if the lock is broken, then this technique is not an option at all since the only solution you have is by contacting a locksmith or a service center.

If these two steps fail, then you have to go straight to a service center and have the rear hatch opened correctly and safely. When not done correctly, DIY solutions may do more harm than good to your vehicle. So, it will help to seek help from a professional.

Final Word

In some cases, your rear hatch may not open because it is stuck or there is damage to the lock itself. Depending on the situation, you can apply these DIY techniques to open it forcefully. Otherwise, a visit to a locksmith or service center can help you unlock the rear hatch safely and appropriately.

5 thoughts on “Hyundai Santa Fe Rear Hatch Won’t Open – Quick & Easy Fix!”

  1. Can you show a picture of the trunk release by the drivers seat in the Hyundai Santa Fe? I can’t find it. Thank you.

    • The manual release for the 2019 Santa Fe power liftgate is in the hatch door and is accessible from inside. It is in the center of the hatch door at the bottom. Just pop off the plastic covering and move the lever to the right and push the hatch (liftgate) out. Check page 3-60 of your 2019 Santa Fe owners manual and read “Emergency Liftgate Safety Release”. This just happened to me today 8/21/2023.

    • In most vehicles, including the 2012 Santa Fe, the door unlock button is typically located on the driver’s side door panel, near the armrest and window controls. It may be a button with an upward-facing arrow or an unlock symbol. It could also be integrated into the power window control panel.

      To help you locate the specific button, I recommend the following steps:

      Sit in the driver’s seat and close the door.
      Look at the door panel near the armrest area on the driver’s side.
      Check for buttons or switches that control the power windows and door locks.
      Look for a button with an unlock symbol, typically an arrow pointing up or a stylized image of an unlocked door.
      Once you locate the button, pressing it should unlock the driver’s door, and often, a second press will unlock all the doors in the car. Keep in mind that the location of this button may vary slightly depending on the trim level and specific features of your Santa Fe, so consult your owner’s manual for precise information if needed.


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