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A. Penland
A. Penland, Ford Senior Master Technician, ASE
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 6594
Experience:  ASE Master Certified, ASE Advanced Gasoline Engine Performance
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focus: how can I fix a focus 2005 trunk release ?

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how can I fix a focus 2005 trunk release ?

Hello and thanks for using JustAnswer.I will try my best to help you with your question.



Does the trunk with the key and not the electronic trunk release button?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The trunk will open with the key but the release button on dashboard will not open it

Ok, just needed that clarified.

The trunk release switch is just a ground switch. Remove the switch and check for ground on the solid BLACK wire. Then press the switch and see if you get ground on the BLACK/YELLOW striped wire. If you get a ground on the BLACK/YELLOW striped wire, the rear latch assembly. If you have no ground on the BLACK/YELLOW striped wire but you do get ground on the BLACK wire, then replace the switch. But if you get no ground on the BLACK wire, then check the ground connection bolted to the metal body behind the drivers side kick panel under the dash.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sir, in this case you are interacting with a car ignorant individual. I'm sorry that is the case. I am going to see about removing the switch which I assume is what I have refered to as the button, is it? and then you say to check for ground and I must admit I do not know how to do that. Are you totally discouraged with me already? can I still ask further questions?

No problem. I am not discouraged with you. Do you have a digital multimeter or a test light?

And yes, the trunk release button and the switch are the same thing. I'll talk in customer language instead of technician language if that is easier for you.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Oh yes sir the easier you make it for me the better I'm going through a very difficult test with you right now I mean I did not even realise you could remove the switch as you call it. I do not have either multimeter or test light, sir. At least not today I could do something about it but not right now and due to my circumstances I would prefer the cheaper one I would have to go to home depot if necessary it will take me 45min to get back

No problem. I will be on line for quite a while tonight.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

If I had the check light tester how will I know what is ground?

The test light will come with a clamp on one side and a point on the other. The pointed end will have a light in it. So when you place the clamp end on the battery negative cable (ground) and the pointed end on the battery positive cable (power) the test light will light up.



Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Could you explain how to remove the switch, pls?


I cannot find an exact picture for it. Yours is located to the right of the instrument cluster on the black panel around the instrument cluster correct?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

It is on the mid-lower left of the steering wheel. I know I access it with my left hand

Ok, you have the round switch that is to the left of the steering wheel.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes that is it. Also if and when the testing is done in your ealier parragraph where you write " But if you get no groung on the Black ground wire....then check the ground connection bolted to the metal body behind.. " I'm somewhat lost there too. In the event that needs to be done How do I get to that point or location?

Below the dash on the drivers side, down next to the brake pedal and to the left, there is a plastic panel, the same color as the door panel and the dash. This is the kick panel.

Behind there you will find a small bolt that is bolting a wire to the metal frame of the Focus. This is the ground circuit. Everything in the vehicle that is electrical will need a power side, basically 12 volts from the battery, and a ground side, basically a metal connection.

Does this help.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Of course quite a bit. You were about to explain the removal of the switch.

To get to the switch, you will have to remove the panel around the instrument cluster. Below are the directions from the factory Ford shop manual.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

OK. That is definitely helpful. Then I would have removed the switch and performed the suggested tests above. What would be the end result by then?

Yes. You are correct.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I just want to review the concept, One outcome is the switch should be replaced. what is or are the other possible outcomes after doing the suggested testing? if any?

It can be either the switch, the latch for the trunk or the ground wire. I have replaced several latches and several switches (buttons).


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

After your explanation replacing the switch would not seem impossible for me to undertake. I wonder about the other two possible outcomes. Would that require professionals ?

The rear trunk latch is a lot more complex to replace than the button.

But I would have the wiring circuit tested out to locate the actual bad part.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for that additional piece of valuable information. if i were to have the wiring circuit checked who would I go for just that? I ask the question because i've gone to my local Ford dealer already and they want to do their own diagnosis and that promises to be very expensive for just that let alone the actual repair.

You can go anywhere. Any independent repair shop can do the repair and/or diagnosis.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Now before I say goodbye could you tell me if the fact that the switch died out a slow death mean anything such as pointing to the switch as culprit rather than the latch or the wiring ? (By slow death I mean it did not happen overnight it took weeks since it started to work rather unreliably before it gave out completely.)

I hate to say this, but it could be the switch or the latch. But the switch can fail like that as you described. Dirt and debris get into the switch over time and cause poor contact in the switch. The switch cannot be cleaned out, it has to be replaced. The switch is the cheapest part. Not sure right now on the price, but it is about $20.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Great. I now know what to do and I belive this was very fruitful. I thank you for your guidance and if there are any questions on your help given to me rest assured you it will be the highest marks. Thanks again and have a great evening.

You are very welcome. Thank you and good night.
A. Penland and 5 other Ford Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello again

I can't do the membership but if I can ask you a further question on the issue of the trunk release switch I would like to ask if you can briefly indicate how to test for ground on the black wire. I've dismantled the dashboard got to the switch and I need to know how to actually do the testing. I have now in my possession a light tester such as the one in the picture you sent. Where do I attach the clamp where or what do I pin with the tool tip ??? Thanks

No problem. Take the clamp end and connect it to the positive battery cable post on the battery. The RED cable is positive.

Then, with the switch still connected, take the pointed end and back probe the connector for the switch. Basically, place the point into the end of the connector where the wires go into the connector. Check both wires. The light should light on one of the wires. Then, probe the other wire while pressing the switch. The other wire should light while pressing the switch. If it doesn't light, replace the switch.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I suppose I bought the wrong item for a light tester although I went to a local parts vehicle retail outlet. Mine has a cable 26 inches long with a clamp which will never make it to the battery from the dashboard end. The clamp on it will have problems holding on to the " positive battery cable post" because it looks small for that purpose to me. So what are the specifications for a light tester for troubleshooting your personal vehicle?

You are ok and have the correct one. Do you have any spare electrical wiring around? You can use spare wire to extend the reach of the tester.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No I dont have spare wiring I suppose I can go get some what do I ask for?

Just ask for about 6 feet of wire. It comes in small rolls usually in the HELP section or electrical section of your auto parts store.

Strip the wire about 1/2" on each end and place one end in the clamp for the test light and the other end, attach to the positive post on the battery.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks I guess for now that is what I'm going to go and do. Bye for now.Tks

Keep me informed if you need more assistance.