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Dan, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 1668
Experience:  Auto Technician
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I can't open the back hatch, 2008 Highlander, yes. the rear

Customer Question

I can't open the back hatch
JA: What is the model/year of your Toyota?
Customer: 2008 Highlander
JA: Are you fixing your Highlander yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: yes. the rear hatch is stuck shut. I've tried the button on the key fob, inside the car by the driver's seat. I've tried it with both the automatic button in the glove box both on and off. I've taken off the cover on the inside of the lift gate to try and do it manually. When I push that down, nothing happens. If i "muscle it" when I push that lever down the right side opens a little but the left side doesn't move at all.
JA: Have you checked the fob's battery?
Customer: yes. the fob is fine. the motor in the lift gate is working and I can hear it attempting to open but nothing happens. It also beeps for a long tone when I push it.
JA: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?
Customer: no
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Toyota
Expert:  Dan replied 9 months ago.

Hello my name is***** am an ASE Master Technician and I am glad to help you with your question.

Expert:  Dan replied 9 months ago.

You will have to manually open the gate. You need to get the gate open to diagnose this. A common problem is the lock actuator in the latch. It is also common for wires to break in the rubber boot in the jam of the gate. You can pull back the rubber and inspect the wires there.

Expert:  Dan replied 9 months ago.

Please reply to this if you need more help and we can continue this conversation at no extra charge. This does not have to be my only answer. If you are satisfied with my service, please rate at the top of the screen. Rating does not close out your question. Remember, sometimes it is difficult to completely diagnose your vehicle without being there, but I will try to give you the best answer I can. Hoping to be giving you 5 star service.


Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Any suggestions on how to manually open the hatch? I've tried the lever in the hatch and it doesn't do anything.
Expert:  Dan replied 9 months ago.

You should be able to use a screwdriver to pry on the lever to get the gate open.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I'm pushing that lever all the way down. There is a little give in the door but it seems uneven. The side with linkage bar doesn't move at all. It's almost like it's off a track or something. That's just what it feels like at least. Is that even possible?
Expert:  Dan replied 9 months ago.

Can you take a picture and attach it here?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I tried to show what it looks like all the way shut, then I push the lever down, and then it goes about a half inch or so. It seems to slightly pull to one side. The passenger side of the door seems like it would go free. The driver side seems like it's jammed or stuck and I've pushed on it as hard as I feel like I can without breaking something.
Expert:  Dan replied 9 months ago.

Try moving the metal part that is close to your thumb in the picture.

Expert:  Dan replied 9 months ago.

The only latch you are trying to release is in the middle of the gate on the bottom.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I can get it all the way off the latch. It just won't go any farther than shown in this image.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Yeah. Now i feel like the issue is in the area at the top of the driver side of the hatch.
Expert:  Dan replied 9 months ago.

I have seen problem with the struts causing this problem try to remove the lift supports and see if you can open the gate.

Expert:  Dan replied 9 months ago.

Hello again Dan here,

I am contacting you because the post has not been closed or rated.

This question is coming up on 7 days which means it will time out and close.

You have already paid to get this question answered, but you have not rated.

Let me help some more. Is there anything else I can help you with?

If I did not give you 5 star service, please let me know what I missed.