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Intermittant Trunk Opening Issue



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Hey guys, I have a quick question for all of you 10th generation Corolla owners out there.

About two weeks ago I went to open my trunk using the inside release (the one on the floor next to the driver's seat) and when I pulled up on it, it wouldn't pull far enough to open the trunk. I had to get out of the car and open the trunk with the key.

After I opened the trunk with the key, I closed it and tried the inside trunk release again and it worked no problem, so I thought maybe I had inadvertently activated the inside trunk release lock out and didn't think anything more about it.

The next time I went to open the trunk I tried the inside release lever and again, it wouldn't pull up enough to open the trunk, it felt like there was no resistance on it at all. So I got out and took a look at the trunk key hole. I was in the vertical position, not horizontal, so I knew the trunk lock out wasn't on. I put the key in, turned it to the right and the trunk opened. I again closed the trunk and then tried the inside release and it worked.

Now last week, I went to get into the trunk and it wouldn't open with the inside release or the key. When I tried the inside release, it had no resistance and when I tried the key, it had no resistance either. So I used the remote to open the trunk and it opened no problem. I then closed the trunk and both the inside release and the key worked fine.

I even manually closed the latch with the trunk lid open and watched what happened when I turned the key and pulled the inside release and nothing appears to be wrong.

For right now, all three methods of opening the trunk are working, but I will bet money the next time I go to open the trunk the remote will be the only way to open it.

I'm taking the car to the dealer Monday to have them look at it, so I'll be sure to let everyone know what it was so if it happens to anyone else they can get it fixed faster.

So, any ideas on why the trunk release solenoid is opening the trunk and the inside and key releases are only working intermittently and after the trunk lid has been opened and closed?

Could be the mechanical connection to the inside of the lock is damaged - so it will not be able to operate with a physical key. The solenoid operates off of a cable or rod, in most cases - that could explain the difference in operation.

Hasn't happened on any recent cars I've had - but I had an old Mopar that did exactly that. Key only works intermittently, usually worse after using the electric trunk release. Ended up being a bent hex rod that actuated the lock when you turned the key (freewheels otherwise). Using the trunk popper cause the rod to rotate slightly, if the bent portion was in the right position - the physical key would slip and not turn the lock. Eventually, it would move to a position where it would bite into the portion of the lock. The Corolla probably uses a different setup, but mechanically, should be quite similar. Not sure how much of the lock is visible in the 10th gen - I'd just leave it for the dealership to deal with for now. At the very least get a paperwork trail on it.

Have experienced the inside latch not working, too. Has happened only once or twice, but it did happen. Have had no issues with opening the trunk of my '09 with either the key or remote.

Thanks guys, I took a look at it tonight and I found something else wrong with it.

The latch is misaligned and is sticking, the solenoid is really slow to open it, but it opens it.

When you turn the key or pull the release, you get to a point where you can't turn the key all the way or pull the release all the way up because it has released the latch, but not enough to cause it to disengage. The solenoid causes it to disengage the rest of the way.

It appears that not only is my trunk latch defective as it isn't releasing correctly, but that my striker is misaligned also.

They are going to have to fix this because I'm tired of screwing around to get the trunk open and this car has less that 8,000 miles on it.

I just hope it doesn't take too long to fix it and I don't have to make more than one trip.

Fellow Corolland members,

I have the issue with my trunk resolved and there is good news and bad news surrounding this situation.

The good news, my trunk now works correctly, the bad news is that they charged me to fix it.

The car is well below 12,000 miles, but just over 12 months in service and Toyota only pays to adjust things within the first 12 months or 12,000 miles whichever comes first, so I was asked to pay for the repair.

Luckily because of my knowledge of automotive engineering, I was able to argue with them that the problem was that the self centering bolts used to attach the striker to the body caused a misalignment between the striker and the trunk latch. I argued with them that my trunk lid isn't perfectly aligned side to side and so if the latch is perfectly centered on the trunk lid and the striker is perfectly centered to the body of the car, they were not going to align properly. I stated this was a manufacturing issue that caused my trunk not to open or close properly and that it was more than a convenience issue to me, but a safety issue.

The Regional Manager had to get involved and he agreed that it was probably a manufacturing issue and that there was a corrective action for this issue. The Service Manager looked up the corrective action, which I have a copy of that states that if the trunk doesn't properly open and takes "excessive force" to close that the striker is misaligned and that it can't be adjusted with the self centering bolts used in the assembly of the car. The bolts are replaced with regular bolts, the striker adjusted and then everything tightened.

After they applied the corrective action recommended by Toyota, the trunk functioned properly. I was there for 3 hours, but it works, so its all good.

Here is my issue, while I'm happy that they agreed to fix it and they only charged me $13.91 for a quarter hour of labor and 2 bolts and 2 washers, I'm not happy that Toyota didn't want to cover my issue under warranty when the failure was clearly caused by a manufacturing defect. I shouldn't have had to pay anything since the car was manufactured incorrectly. If this was a Ford product, there would have been no question as to if it was going to be a warranty repair regardless of if the car was 2 days old or 2 years and 364 days old.

Way to go Toyota for trying to screw over your customers by only warrantying adjustments for 12 months and not 36 and for not fixing you own manufacturing defects on your increasingly low build quality automobiles.

I hear Hyundai warranties everything you bring the car in for as long as it falls under the bumper to bumper warranty period, might have to consider them next time.

Moral of the story: If anything is out of adjustment on your car, take it back immediately or pay out of pocket for the repair.

corollas have had this sort of problems for a while. i remember a '93 corolla with the hood latch release problem. my 2000 corolla had this issue, i opened it to check oil at gas station. it wouldn't close. the wire got stock or something had to pay 60$ at dealer to get it fixed. i think its time for electronic hood/trunk release.

I think I would have to go to Toyota Customer Satisfaction with this. As you have stated this was a defective part (the self centering bolts) that would not permit an adjustment to be made. Therefore it can not be adjusted until the improperly used parts are replaced. That could cause a potentially dangerous situation. What if your trunk did not have a working solenoid and you had a roadside flat and could not open the trunk?

I am curious as to where your Corolla was assembled. My 2011 Corolla is a Canadian model and the assembly seems much more accurate than my 2003 NUMMI Corolla.

My Corolla is a NUMMI built car, and vehicles built there have slid in terms of build quality since I bought my first NUMMI built Corolla.

I will be calling Toyota Customer Satisfaction on this issue because as you said, it was a safety concern and it was due to a defective part.