For those that own a truck the ability to stow items in the back is a huge draw. In order to keep all your items safe and secure a tonneau cover can be installed. This basically covers the back of your truck, so that your items are kept dry and secure. Part of the security system is to install a tailgate locking assembly. They can come in either a power lock or manual lock option. This means you can unlock the tailgate with a key, a keyless device, or a button inside the cab. Within that locking assembly are a number of parts that make it possible for the latch to work.
As for the lifespan of the tailgate locking assembly, while they are meant to last the lifetime of your vehicle this isn’t always the case. Sometimes damage can occur with the locking assembly, which prevents it from working properly. It may be due to normal wear and tear, or something a bit more unexpected. Keep in mind if you keep the locking assembly clean and well lubricate it's not unheard of for it to last the lifetime of the vehicle.
Here are some signs to watch for that may mean it’s time to replace your tailgate locking assembly:
If you have keyless remote entry, you may begin to hear a buzzing sound when you touch the unlock button for the tailgate. This typically means the latch isn't unlocking or locking. It's best to have an experienced mechanic to take a look at the full locking assembly and provide you with a diagnosis.
When you turn the key the lock may not move into its proper position. This could mean your tailgate is unable to lock securely.
If you insert your key into the locking assembly and you aren’t able to turn the cylinder (turn the key), there is a good chance there is damage to the locking assembly. In most cases you’ll need to replace the parts rather than repair them.
While your tailgate locking assembly is meant to last the lifetime of your vehicle damage can happen, which can cause a part, or various parts to fail. Being able to properly lock your tailgate is what ensures your items stay safe and secure. Have a certified mechanic replace the failing tailgate locking assembly to eliminate any further problems with your vehicle.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does a Tailgate Locking Assembly Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.