Toyota Highlander Trunk Won’t Open? Common Reasons And Fixes

Have you noticed that your Toyota Highlander trunk won’t open?

This is a nuisance when you have something in it that you cannot access. A trunk that fails to open is something you would not want to deal with. Yet, it does happen. So, it is good to determine what may have gone wrong and what you can do about it.

In some cases, it may require resetting your lift function, which is a common technique when you have a malfunctioning or unresponsive power liftgate. Now, when the power liftgate stops working, you should be able to fix this issue easily at home. A reset may be done to restore your access to the trunk space.

Or, it could also be possible that the liftgate function is shut off. If so, simply take your car to the service center, or you can also try to turn it back on yourself. Keep reading to learn the causes and solutions for a Toyota Highlander trunk that won’t open. Let’s jump right into it.

toyota highlander trunk won't open

Toyota Highlander Trunk Won’t Open – Typical Causes

There are a few reasons behind a Toyota Highlander trunk that fails to open. For the most part, the power liftgate may have been shut off. Not many people may be aware of this, but there is a power function or an on and off switch to the power liftgate. The off function serves as a safety feature, so your kids will not end up activating your liftgate by accident. 

You should be able to find this switch near your steering wheel or inside your glove box. Check the owner’s manual to know the exact location of this switch. Then, simply set it to “on” and the press the button to the power liftgate using your keyfob. 

However, if the liftgate function is still unresponsive even after turning it on, then there may be other issues. You can try doing a reset, which has been effective to some people.

When resetting the door, you need to open the rear door of your parked Highlander. Locate the liftgate button inside your door and press it – keep pressing for about 10 seconds. After releasing it, there should be four beeps, followed by a pause, and lastly two more beeps. This means that you have reset your liftgate settings.

But if you continue to experience issues with your power liftgate even after turning the switch on and resetting the liftgate, you may want to check for other issues such as the following:

1. Debris on the sensors and tracks

Inspect the tracks on the liftgate and the sensors on your rear bumper. It is possible that these areas are gritty or dirty, which prevents the seamless operation of your power liftgate. Simply give these areas a wipe to remove these debris then try to open the trunk once more.

2. Key fob problems

If you cannot seem to get your key fob to open the trunk, you may want to use your backup control located on the instrument panel. You may simply be having a weak or dead battery on your key fob. Or, the button may be broken. 

3. Electrical issues

Another possible reason why your Toyota Highlander trunk won’t open is there is an electrical malfunction. Look for the fuse for the liftgate and check it. If there is a blown fuse, this is preventing the liftgate from working well.

Now, there are a few other reasons why your power liftgate is malfunctioning. This is why we highly recommend that you consider having a technician conduct a more thorough diagnosis of this problem if you are having difficulties fixing it yourself.

What To Do When Toyota Highlander Trunk Won’t Open 

There are instances when you can open your trunk manually if you are having difficulties getting the power liftgate to work. You can start by locating the keyhole on the rear door of your Highlander. It may be hidden underneath the emblem of your vehicle. Insert the key and lift the door up slowly.

But if you are unable to do this, consider manipulating the emergency release at the back portion of your Highlander. You will have to get to the very back and locate the plastic cover on your emergency trunk release. Then, use the lever to pull to the unlock position and open your trunk door. However, do not forget to reset this lever prior to shutting your rear door to make sure it locks properly.

If you need to have a specialist fix this issue with a trunk door not opening, the cost depends on what needs to get repaired. If it is only a blown fuse issue that you can fix yourself, then you only have to shell out about $5 to $10. Yet, if you would have to replace your power liftgate motor because your old one is broken, then this can cost you upwards of $750.

Read More: Toyota Camry Trunk Release Not Working? Pro Tips You Can Try!


Your Toyota Highlander power liftgate enables you to easily open your trunk with just a press of a button on your key fob. This is why it makes the entire process seamless and effortless for you. It may seem rather efficient but some issues may arise that can prevent you from accessing the trunk.

For instance, there may be a problem with the fuse, which is an electrical issue. Therefore, you will have to get a new fuse to replace your broken one. Or, it may be a problem with your power liftgate, and in this case, there is a possibility that you will have to replace it once broken. 

The cost involved in fixing a problem with a Toyota Highlander trunk that won’t open depends on the cause of the issue. So, it is important to diagnose it appropriately to determine the best solution that will get your trunk door to work properly once more.

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