As it is quite a common problem, you might have already experienced a faulty Subaru Outback trunk. If your Subaru Outback trunk won’t open, there can be various reasons behind this glitch.
Having a defective trunk is always a problem when your hands are full of groceries or stuff that you have to dump into the trunk.
Sometimes this problem in your trunk can be caused due to severe reasons like a dead battery, a broken latch or key, or a non-responsive Subaru key fob.
If you want to open your trunk again, you will first determine the underlying issue and then resolve the problem.
5 Reasons Why Subaru Outback Trunk Won’t Open
As mentioned earlier, if your Subaru Outback trunk is not working, it can be for various reasons.
For your convenience, we will discuss all the problems below leading to a faulty trunk of your vehicle.
So, before wasting any more time, let’s dig into issues you might face if your car’s trunk is giving you trouble.
01. Dead Battery
Having a dead battery is one of the most severe problems that can lead to various failures in your vehicle, along with a faulty trunk.
In case you are trying to open your Subaru’s trunk or any of the doors automatically, a chance is that you have a dead battery.
If you want to check whether this is the problem or not, you can unlock your car manually through the driver’s door and insert the key into the ignition.
Now, turn your key around into the very first position. If your radio, lights, and other elements are not turned on with the turning of the key, it is a sign that your vehicle’s battery is dead.
In this case, you should fix the car’s battery immediately.
For some Subaru Outback models like the 2013 or newer ones, you will not unlock the trunk because they do not support manual unlocking.
Whatever the case is, you will have to fix the battery to move your car.
02. Trunk Lock or Latch is Broken
If your vehicle’s battery is not a problem and you hear a clicking sound while unlocking your trunk but it doesn’t open, your car might have a broken lock or latch.
Although this is not a very common problem in Subaru Outback, you still might face it as it can happen due to specific reasons.
For example, if you open and close the trunk of your vehicle quite frequently or drive through rough terrains, you might face this problem.
Also, if the release button is not working correctly or you hear a non-stop clicking sound while opening the trunk of your Subaru Outback.
These are all the symptoms of a broken trunk latch or lock.
03. Key FOB is not responding.
Suppose you are using a key FOB to open your car, and it won’t open while your vehicle starts completely fine.
In that case, there might be a problem with your key FOB.
If your key FOB is not working, it can be due to various reasons, including that the battery of the key FOB might be dead, any internal wiring issue in the key, or car, or the key needs a reset.
04. Trunk Cable is Damaged
Some vehicles do not have any handle on their trunk and are opened through a lever located in the cabin.
In this case, when there is no handle, a trigger button is located near the driver’s seat responsible for opening up the trunk.
This trigger button and the trunk latch are connected through a cable that opens up the trunk.
So, if your vehicle’s trunk is not opening up, there is a chance that this cable might be damaged or broken.
5. Faulty Lock Actuator
Among the other problems and reasons, the lock actuator might also be causing problems if your vehicle’s trunk is not opening.
The lock actuator is responsible for controlling the lock present on your trunk. This part is a small motor with gears that shift as you try to open your car’s trunk.
If this motor is faulty or dead, your Subaru Outback’s trunk won’t open up as the trunk latch would not be working to open or close the trunk.
Solutions for the Subaru Trunk Problems
Now that we have discussed various problems that might lead to a faulty trunk of your vehicle, it is time to discuss their solutions. Below are the solutions to the issues discussed above;
- Recharge the battery
If your Subaru Outback trunk is not opening due to your vehicle’s dead battery, you will have to recharge it.
A dead battery can cause other faults in the car and is needed to take care of immediately. You can go to a mechanic, a professional, or jump your car.
- Repair or install a new lock and latch system
In case the problem causing a faulty trunk in your vehicle is a damaged or broken lock or latch system, you will have to fix it or replace it with a new one.
- Get the Key FOB fixed.
Once you have determined that key FOB is the problem, you can get it fixed.
As mentioned earlier, you will have to check what is causing the pain, whether the battery, the wiring, or it needs to be reset. Now, fix the problem accordingly.
- Repair or replace the cable
Now that the cable connecting your trunk latch and trigger is damaged, you will have to repair it or replace it with a new one if required.
- Replace the lock actuator motor
If the lock actuator motor has gone dead, you will have to replace it to get the actuator to work again.
You can see this video and get help from it.
Subaru Outback Power Liftgate Reset: How to Do
If you are having trouble with the Subaru Outback power liftgate, you will have to reset it to make it work efficiently again.
Resetting the Subaru Outback power liftgate is a straightforward task, and you can do it on your own without putting in a lot of effort.
However, if you cannot do it on your own or you doubt that there might be some other problems, you can always go to a mechanic.
You can follow the step-by-step instructions mentioned below to do the liftgate reset on your own.
Step 1: Press the rear gate opener button continuously until it is unlocked.
Step 2: Now that it is unlocked pull up the rear gate.
Step 3: Once the rear gate starts to close automatically, it is time to pull it down and close it.
Step 4: Once the gate is fully closed, the system will be triggered, and the resetting process will be initiated.
Step 5: The final step is to check if the rear power gate is operating correctly or not.
Step 6: If it is still not working, you can press the rear gate opener button again and again and keep on pushing to check if it works or not.
If this is not working, you will have to check for some other problem or fit for the solution mentioned below.
In case that these instructions do not work for you, firstly disconnect the battery. Once you have given that rest to the battery, the power liftgate might be reset automatically.
Subaru Outback Power Liftgate: What & Why?
Subaru Outback power liftgate is much likely an electronic trunk that entirely operates automatically.
This automatic system is activated by pressing or holding the button located inside the car for this purpose or through the key FOB, or even from the latch.
A liftgate is a large and heavy piece of equipment responsible for adding a lot of weight to the gross weight of a vehicle.
The liftgate works on the principles of hydraulic pressure applied onto a piston through adequate force to a cylinder that enables the gate to rise and drop down.
These gates are controlled through a switch box that works on a simple phenomenon of up and down. However, these liftgates are very easy to operate and do all the work for you.
A power liftgate is a feature of almost all newer models of Subaru Outback, while some older ones do not have this and use a manual trunk.
Common but Crucial FAQs about Subaru Outback Trunk Won’t Open
How do I manually open my Subaru Outback trunk?
If your Subaru Outback trunk is not opening automatically, you will indeed have to open it manually.
To unlock your car’s trunk manually, you will have to reach the release button located on the driver’s side of your vehicle and then release it.
Once you have released this button, your trunk will lift automatically. If it doesn’t, there might be some other problem and you will have to get your car checked.
See more: how to open subaru outback trunk from inside?
Why is my Subaru trunk not opening?
As discussed above, there can be various reasons behind a faulty or not working trunk of your vehicle.
One of the main reasons for your Subaru trunk, not opening can be a dead battery. In this case, recharge the battery of your car as soon as possible.
Some other reasons for this problem can be a broken latch or lock, broken cable, non-responsive key FOB, and some other reasons.
How do you reset the tailgate on a Subaru Outback?
If your Subaru Outback tailgate is not working, you will have to reset it.
To reset the tailgate on your vehicle, keep pressing and holding the rear liftgate close button until you hear it beep at least four times.
You can only see this button when your liftgate is opened, and it is present on the door jamb of the back gate. You can hold this button till it beeps again and then closes the liftgate of your car.
It will probably be reset after this.
Is it bad to manually close a power liftgate?
It is proven that you will not damage your vehicle by closing the power liftgate manually.
Therefore, if you have a dead battery or any other problem, you can open and close the power liftgate on your vehicle a couple of times until you recharge the car’s battery.
How do you manually open a power liftgate?
If you want to open the power liftgate manually, you must press on the request switch and pull the handle up.
Another option that is also there is that you can also use the automatic power liftgate present on the back door.
What is a manual liftgate?
A manual liftgate is quite different from any traditional door present on the vehicle.
In the case of a liftgate, the door’s hinges are present at the top of the frame, unlike those on conventional doors on the side.
As the hinges are present on the top of the frame, we can tell that the manual liftgate opens upward. Lift cylinders are located on both sides of the manual liftgates.
These lift cylinders are responsible for supporting the liftgate when it is opened.
What is the difference between a power liftgate and a hands-free liftgate?
There are not many differences between the power liftgates and the hands-free liftgates as they are pretty much similar.
The only main difference that you can find between these types is the phenomenon of how they are opened or closed.
A smart FOB comes with both the power liftgate and also hands-free liftgate. This is proof that you don’t have to lock or unlock these liftgates before opening or closing them.
Why is my liftgate not working?
One of the primary reasons for your vehicle’s liftgate not working is a problem with the motor or the motor start solenoid.
You can check the engine by connecting it to a small jumper cable. Now bypass the solenoid by putting direct power onto it.
You will now see if the motor is running or not. If it is not working, check for the broken fuses and reset the breakers.
If your Outback trunk won’t open, there might be several reasons behind this glitch.
All these problems that lead to the trunk opening can happen to anyone anywhere and need immediate solution and repair if you want to use the trunk again.
We have discussed various problems and their solutions above that can help you determine what the problem that your trunk is facing is.
Most of the answers are pretty straightforward and convenient, and you can do it on your own.
But if you cannot understand the solution or your Subaru Outback trunk won’t open still, it is always good to get your vehicle to the mechanic.
Originally from England, I’ve been repairing cars for over 16 years and am an automotive journalist. I’ve been working on cars for as long as I can remember, and it’s one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.
It is my intention to be your mechanic friend, that person who will assist you with any problem you may have with your vehicle and explain in detail how the problem can be fixed to you as soon as possible.
I produce and anchor a weekly auto news program. As well as providing insights into all things automotive, including expert analysis of the latest trends in the automotive industry, and ensuring you always know where to go for the latest automotive news, I also provide insight into all things automotive before the news breaks.
If I am not working, I am a riding motorcyclist and I do volunteer work with local charities whenever I have time. When I’m not riding my motorcycles or volunteering at local charities, you will find me at home in Portland, Oregon.