How to Open a Tailgate With a Broken Handle

Welcome to our blog post on opening a tailgate with a broken handle! Whether you’re a truck owner facing this frustrating dilemma for the first time or a seasoned driver who has dealt with this issue before, we’ve got you covered.

How to Open a Tailgate With a Broken Handle

Picture this: you’re all set for a weekend adventure, eager to load up your truck and hit the road, only to discover that the handle to your tailgate is wholly broken. Panic sets in, and you start to wonder how on earth you’ll manage to open your tailgate now.

Well, fear not! In this post, we’ll provide you with practical tips, innovative hacks, and step-by-step instructions on how to open a tailgate with a broken handle. So grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and dive into the world of tailgate troubleshooting!

What Will You Need?

To successfully open your tailgate with a broken handle, you’ll need the following tools and materials:

  • A screwdriver
  • A pair of pliers
  • Duct tape (optional)

We recommend having these items on hand before attempting the methods discussed below.

10 Easy Steps on How to Open a Tailgate With a Broken Handle

1. Use a Screwdriver or Pliers

If your tailgate handle is broken, you can use a screwdriver or pliers to pull the latch and open the tailgate manually. First, locate the latch underneath the tailgate and insert the screwdriver or pliers into the opening. Then, gently push or pull to release the latch and open the tailgate.

If Your Tailgate Handle is Broken

2. Try Using a Key

Some vehicles have a keyhole near the tailgate handle that can unlock and open the tailgate manually. If your car has this feature, insert your key into the keyhole and turn it to unlock and open the tailgate. This method may require some force, so be careful not to break your key.

3. Remove Interior Panel

If all else fails, you may need to remove the interior panel of your tailgate in order to access and fix the broken handle. This will require tools such as a screwdriver or wrench, so ensure you have them on hand before attempting this method. Once you have removed the panel, you should be able to see what is causing the handle to malfunction and either fix it yourself or take it to a professional for repairs.

4. Contact a Professional

If the previous steps didn’t work or the task seems too daunting, it’s time to call in the professionals. Auto repair shops or dealerships have the tools and expertise to address this problem swiftly and effectively.

Remember, if you’re uncomfortable performing these steps alone, there’s no harm in seeking professional assistance. Safety and the longevity of your vehicle should always be your top priority.

5. Consider a Temporary Duct Tape Fix

Consider using duct tape if you are in a pinch and need a temporary solution to get your tailgate to open. This is not a permanent fix, but it can be a helpful workaround until you can repair the handle.

To do this, attach one end of the duct tape to the latch mechanism inside the tailgate, then feed the tape through the hole where the handle used to be. Pulling on the tape should allow the latch to release, allowing you to open the tailgate. Remember to remove the tape after use to avoid any further potential damage.

6. Install a Tailgate Net

You Cannot Open the Tailgate

As a last resort, consider installing a tailgate net if you cannot open the tailgate and need immediate access to the truck bed. It provides an alternative way to secure items in your truck without using the tailgate.

This is a more drastic measure, but it could be an effective solution until you can replace or repair the broken handle. It’s important to remember that a tailgate net isn’t a permanent solution and may need to provide a different level of security than a functional tailgate. Still, it can be a helpful temporary solution.

7. Replace the Broken Handle

If your tailgate handle is beyond repair, replacing it with a new one may be the best solution. You can purchase a new handle from an auto parts store or online. Once you have the new handle, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install it.

This usually involves removing the old handle, attaching the new handle to the latch mechanism, and securing it with screws or bolts. Remember to test the new handle multiple times to ensure it’s working properly before relying on it.

8. Regularly Inspect the Tailgate Handle

Preventive care is the best way to avoid the frustration of a broken tailgate handle. Regular inspections for signs of wear, rust, or damage can help you address problems before they lead to a broken handle.

If you notice that the handle is becoming hard to turn or the latch isn’t engaging properly, it might be time for maintenance or a replacement. Keeping your tailgate handle in good working condition ensures continued easy access to your truck bed and extends the life of the tailgate itself.

9. Consider Upgrading to a Keyless Entry System

A Keyless Entry System if Your Tailgate Handle

Consider upgrading to a keyless entry system if your tailgate handle is consistently problematic. Many modern vehicles have this feature, allowing drivers to open the tailgate with a remote or a push-button start. Not only does a keyless entry system add convenience, but it also minimizes wear and tear on manual handles, potentially avoiding the scenario of a broken handle altogether.

If your vehicle does not currently have this feature, consult with a professional to discuss the possibility of an upgrade. Bear in mind that while this may be more costly upfront, it could save you time, frustration, and money on repairs in the long run.

10. Maintain Regular Servicing

Lastly, ensuring regular servicing of your vehicle can help prevent a broken tailgate handle. Regular servicing can identify potential issues before they become significant problems and can ensure that all the parts of your car, including the tailgate handle, are in good working condition.

Many service providers will check the condition of your tailgate handle during a routine inspection. Regular maintenance keeps your vehicle in tip-top shape and reduces the chances of unexpected breakdowns or part failures, including that of the tailgate handle. Remember, prevention is always better than cure.

Following these tips, you can avoid the inconvenience of a broken tailgate handle and ensure easy access to your truck bed.

5 Additional Tips and Tricks

  1. Lubricate the Mechanism Regularly: To keep your tailgate handle operating smoothly, consider applying a lubricant, such as WD-40, to the mechanism periodically. This maintenance tip can help to reduce wear and tear on the handle and latch.
  2. Always Use the Correct Tools: When replacing or repairing the tailgate handle, always use the correct tools for the job. Using the wrong tools can damage the handle or the latch mechanism, leading to further problems.
  3. Understand Your Vehicle’s Warranty: Check your vehicle’s warranty if your tailgate handle breaks. Some manufacturers may cover repairing or replacing a broken tailgate handle under their warranty terms.
  4. Invest in a Tailgate Lock: To prevent theft and add an extra layer of security, consider investing in a tailgate lock. This device also protects the tailgate handle from unnecessary strain, prolonging its lifespan.
  5. Know When to Seek Professional Help: While many tailgate handle issues can be resolved at home, professional help may be necessary. If you need more clarification or are uncomfortable performing any repairs, it’s best to seek assistance from a professional mechanic.

With these additional tips and tricks, you can keep your tailgate handle in good working condition and avoid any potential breakdowns or frustrations.

5 Things You Should Avoid

  1. Avoid Forcing the Handle: Never force the handle if it’s stuck or difficult to move. This can cause further damage to the handle and the mechanism. Instead, inspect it to identify any obvious issues or seek professional help.
  2. Avoid Using the Tailgate as a Step or Seat: Regularly using the tailgate as a step or a seat puts unnecessary strain on the handle and the latch mechanism, leading to damage over time.
  3. Avoid Ignoring Early Signs of Problems: Don’t ignore these warning signs if the tailgate handle starts showing wear or becomes difficult to operate. Early intervention can prevent more severe problems down the line.
  4. Avoid Neglecting Regular Maintenance: Skipping regular maintenance checks can lead to problems going unnoticed until it’s too late. Inspect and lubricate the handle and latch mechanism regularly to ensure they remain in good working order.
  5. Avoid Cheap Replacement Parts: Avoid cheap, low-quality parts when replacing a broken handle. They may not last as long and could cause further damage to the tailgate. Always opt for high-quality replacements designed to fit and operate correctly with your vehicle.
Parts When Replacing a Broken Handle

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can help prolong the lifespan of your tailgate handle and prevent any unexpected breakdowns.


In conclusion, how to open a tailgate with a broken handle may seem like a daunting task, but with the proper techniques and tools, it can be easily accomplished. Whether you use a screwdriver or a strap and hook method, the key is to remain calm and focused.

Always follow safety precautions and take your time while attempting this task. Remember alternative options such as using a remote or seeking professional help.

However, if you find yourself in this predicament, don’t panic! With these simple steps and tips, you’ll be able to easily open your tailgate and get back on the road in no time. Let’s face it: dealing with unexpected car troubles can be frustrating and time-consuming—but it’s all part of being a responsible vehicle owner.

Once you’ve successfully opened your broken tailgate, take some time to reflect on this experience and celebrate your newfound knowledge and skills. Who knows? One day you’ll be able to help someone else in need by passing on these valuable tips.

Leave a Comment