Hatchback Trunk Won't Close / Latch actuator problem?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by learning2fix, Mar 20, 2021.

  1. learning2fix

    learning2fix New Member

    Mar 20, 2021
    2009 Prius
    My trunk is not closing securely. There is no click; the U-bar on the lift gate it is not properly locking into the actuator mechanism located in the back of the trunk. This is the mechanism:
    I detached the plastic cover to inspect the actuator and saw it was pretty gunky, but the parts were still moving and I was able to manually latch it (and manually pop it back open with the release button on the part). Either way I sprayed some lubricant on it in case something was jamming it, because it is a little rusty. Nope. That didn't work.

    When I watch the lift gate come down, it looks like the U bar is pressing the rotating part in the actuator down rather than latching into it and engaging the latch to rotate and lock.

    Should I try taking the mechanism out to see if something is loose? Anyone else have this problem? There are replacement parts for >$50, should I just try replacing it myself? I know it'll be an overpriced repair at the shop, and I want to learn how to do easy things like this myself. I haven't seen any repairs of this part online, everything typically directs me to the replacement of the gunky hatch release button on the handle, or handle repairs (both of which I also need to do but this is more urgent!) You can get a good idea of the part I'm talking about in this video showing how to manually open the hatch when it's stuck in the closed position:

    Fortunately this issue made me inspect the hatch and find a huge water leak (another really common gen 2 problem), but I am dying to get this trunk fixed, as I can't lock my car since the trunk alternates from registering as open and closed and it will prompt the car alarm (which it did at 5am the other night and killed my battery.)

    Grateful for any help, videos, or similar troubleshooting!