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By purplelife, June 23, 2005

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Hi all,

I posted once before about having difficult adjusting to the driving position in the corolla (steering wheel seemed too far away). It's getting better, though still not perfect. Anyway, I am having another, urgent problem with my corolla. I am visiting some friends and to be safe I put my trunk in "valet" mode (turned key counterclockwise after closing the trunk), which the dealer told me disables the trunk popper, and makes it so the valet key won't open the trunk. To make sure "valet" was working I tried pulling the trunk popper and the trunk didn't open, yay. Later on I needed to get something from the trunk so I went to open it with my regular key but the trunk wouldn't open, no matter which way I turned the key (I put it back to the regular upright position)! The popper won''t work either! Help!


Turn the key all the way to the right until it clicks, then back to the center position. If that doesn't do it, you may need a locksmith.

I don't think I tried that, will go do that soon! Thank you sooooo much!!

if your corolla is 01 or later just fold the back seat down and pull the lever inside the trunk made for kids or kidnapped people to release themselves out of the trunk. its near the speakers and glows in the dark.

before your post here I gave this same answer to an identical question posted yesterday on toyota nation. was that you?

nope it wasn't me...

Max, I tried your suggestion, it didn't work default_sad

I would indeed do the fold the seat trick, however, my trunk is filled to the brim with stuff, so it would be quite a job trying to squeeze it all out through the seats in order to get to the latch. If it comes down to that, I guess that's my only option before going to a dealer (which I really don't want to have to do).

actually... how do i fold the seats down from inside the car? i thought the only way was the latches inside the trunk (which i can't get into!)

Make sure you're turning the key far enough clockwise to open the latch. You may want to spray some Liquid Wrench or PB blaster into the keyhole to loosen it up. If it doesn't turn far enough, it won't open up. It's possible that when you turned it to the left for valet mode, the tumbler shifted.

Also, try pushing down on the trunk lid while you turn the key. It could be that the latch mechanism needs a little lubrication. Once you open the lock, you might want to spray some silicone lubricant on the latch so it doesn't happen again.

It might help to know what model year your Corolla is; if it's an older one, the cable linkage may have failed due to wear and tear, corrosion, or a combination of the two. I tried to duplicate your problem on my '03 Corolla, but the trunk "popper" worked perfectly after returning the trunk lock to it's normal position with the regular (non-Valet) key. Keep in mind that the regular key is the ONLY one you use on the trunk; the Valet key will only unlock the doors and operate the ignition. It doesn't even turn in the trunk lock.

my corolla is a 2005. i'm using the regular key (not the valet). it will turn all the way clockwise as usual (as well as counterclockwise to go back into "valet" mode), but the trunk won't open. likewise, the trunk popper latch inside the car pulls up as normal, except that there's no resistance and the trunk doesn't pop open. It feels like the trunk popper latch has detached from it's proper position or something.

I tried pressing down on the trunk while turning the key, and pulling up, but it just seems... stuck default_sad

Thanks to everyone with your responses, if you think of anything else please let me know!

Guest strawberry

really cannot not offer you any solid advice here. but being that the car is an 05, i would not hesitate to take it to the dealer and get it fixed under warranty. something is definitely screwy somewhere.

Guest strawberry

ps-grab your owner's manual and check that out. maybe there is something in that that can help you.

Don't mess with it.

Dealer should fix on warranty and you don't want them to have any reason to deny your claim.

I was falsely remembering seat switches being by the headrests but youre right, theyre in the trunk. another stupid toyota idea being that they think they know whats best for you better than you do.

yah take it to the dealer, they'll fix it.

The slot in the back seat reminded me of the time when I was 4 and my cousins (evil buggers that they are) locked me in the trunk. Lucky for me, I was small enough at the time to fit through that slot.

I'm not so sure I could fit through it now...I'd have to be really limber...


if your corolla is 01 or later just fold the back seat down and pull the lever inside the trunk made for kids or kidnapped people .....................................



Sorry. It sounded funny.

Same thing happened to me, with the trunk getting stuck.

The mechanism is very dinky, typical TOY-ota stuff.

Plus, the replacement key I got from the dealer (when I lost my original key) is a chintzy knock-off that twists so easily.

I never use the valet lock because I'm too worried the cheap key will fail, and I won't be able to open it again.

I would try some WD-40. It worked for me a couple of times.

result... dealer says it's broken, part will be in tomorrow and they are fixing it for free, it's under warranty. Thanks all!


Good news then! Sorry for your inconvenience, but glad to hear of the outcome.

yeah, they said if it wasn't broken and i'd somehow just jammed it, they would have charged me $90 for labor!

i'm relieved! hopefully when i go back tomorrow it will actually be fixed!

My uncle's got a 96(I think) corolla n I dunno how he did it but his trunk wont open too. The key hole is some how horizontal and it wont budge at all and the trunk release also wont work. You guys think its broken?

Be sure he's not using the valet key.

I had trouble with getting mine out of lock mode. Having a new master key cut at the dealer from the key code tag numbers corrected it.

if your corolla is 01 or later just fold the back seat down and pull the lever inside the trunk made for kids or kidnapped people .....................................



Sorry. It sounded funny.



I know, its hilarious that toyota thinks a kidnapper wouldnt see the glow in the dark handles in there when trying to stuff someone in it. the idea was that kidnappers are unaware of such technology and would be suprised to find the trunk empty later on.

I think the main reason though was to keep little crum munchers from dying after crawling in there without their unattentive parents knowledge.

another update... to make a long story short, they ordered me the wrong part but i didn't need a part at all! another technician looked at the car and discovered that the problem was simply a box in the trunk that had caught under the internal trunk latch (used to let yourself out if kidnapped...) which caused the whole thing to stick. it's fixed now (hopefully it won't happen again, i really stuffed the trunk) and i'm finally on my way!

I know this thread is old but I ran into the exact same situation with my 2005 corolla LE and I thought I'd post my fix. I put the trunk lock in valet mode and then my key cylinder, which had always been hinky, became locked up and I couldn't get the trunk out of valet mode with my key.

I discovered the same issue that is talked about in this thread: that the best solution is to gain access through the rear bench seat and trigger the trunk release from inside. But the key release has been stupidly placed inside the trunk making seat removal difficult...but not impossible.

If you pull up seat cushions on the lower/outside corner of the rear seat back, then you will see a set of bolts that retain the seats. For example, if you're facing the rear driver side seat, grab the lower/right side of the cushion and pull up. It's not easy but you will see and be able to remove the bolts. The seat back is then pried open enough to gain access to the seat release. Manually release those locks and voila! The seat back will pull out! You can then access the trunk release from inside. Warning: considerable force was needed to pry open the seat back.

I had a problem with the trunk key mechanism in my 2001 Corolla. So I removed it and had picked up another one that worked from the junk yard, and lucky for me it came with a key. I ruined both yellow plastic catch (s) that hold the connecting rod to the key mechanism. I had to figure out how to hold the connecting rod that goes from the key mechanism to the truck latch - to the key side. In the mean time the connecting rod simply rested loose in the truck while still connected to the truck latch. WRONG. Somehow this prevented the latch mechanism near the driver's left foot from opening the trunk. So now I'm without a way to get into the trunk.

This is how I gained access to the truck with both mechanisms not working.

Find the rear ledge where the stereo speakers sit - even I could do this. Remove the two upholstery push-in grommet things. Both mine broke off - no big deal. Remove the three plastic covers to the tie down things and use a socket to remove the bolts, then pull the bolts out. Remove the rear brake light (that sits on the shelf) by gently pulling it towards you. Mine came out easy. Unplug the wire for the brake light at the junction. The hard part is removing the shelf with the rear seats locked into position. I used a screw driver to pry the lip of the shelf over the back of the seats, then the shelf came out. Not easy, just gently bend it while pulling and it will come out. You DO NOT need to remove the speaker covers. Now remove the one bolt holding one of the speakers. I took the starboard (right) speaker out. Don't forget to unhook the wires to the speaker. The disadvantage to this speaker is it that it is the side of the smaller back seat opening. Now put your arm through the speaker hole and feel along the cable that attaches to the back seat release pull knob and push the end of it away from you. This will pop the back seat and you can now gain access to the trunk. I reached in with a long flashlight and tripped the emergency trunk release.

BTW - once I hooked up the connecting rod to the key mechanism with a push on keeper everything worked fine, including my floor release.

Thanks to everyone one posts here. You guys/gals have been a huge help. I hope this helps someone !!!!

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