The tailgate locking assembly on your vehicle is responsible for the movement of the lock. This lock stops the handle from moving so the gate won't open. It can actuated from your key fob, or from your driver lock controls. The tailgate locking assembly needs to be replaced if the power lock isn't working, the tailgate lock isn't latching, or the lock cylinder isn't turning. Replacing the assembly is relatively easy and can be done in just a few short steps.

Part 1 of 1: Replacing a tailgate locking assembly

Materials Needed

  • Pliers
  • Replacement tailgate lock assembly
  • Socket set and ratchet
  • Star bit screw drivers

Step 1: Remove access panel. Lower the tailgate and locate the access panel on the inside of the gate. The exact size and number of screws will vary by make and model.

They are going to be next to the tailgate handle in order you to have access to the handle and lock. Remove the star bit screws holding the panel in place. The panel will lift out.

Step 2: Locate and unplug the locking assembly. With the panel removed, look for the locking assembly you are replacing.

Once you have located the assembly, find the wiring terminal and remove the connector from the terminal.

After unplugging the assembly, place the connector aside. If the terminal is being stubborn you can gently use a pair of pliers.

Step 3: Remove linkage. Some makes and models will have linkages between the locking assembly and the related parts surrounding it.

Most of these simply pop into place. If they do not pop into place there will be a small clip holding it into place.

Look carefully at the link before you attempt to remove it. Assure yourself the connection is removed properly.

Breaking a link can cause a simple repair to cost extra time and money to replace.

Step 4: Remove retaining bolts. Remove the retaining bolts holding the assembly in place. There should be a set of screws or small bolts holding it into place. Set these aside safely as your replacement may or may not come with them.

The tailgate locking assembly will then be ready to remove. It should simply lift out.

  • Note: Always check to assure the replacement assembly is a match to the assembly that was there. These are different for every make and model and getting the right replacement is critical for the other parts involved.

Step 5: Attach new assembly. Place your replacement assembly in position and thread in the retaining screws. These need to be hand tight, but over-tightening shouldn’t hurt anything.

Step 6: Reattach wiring terminal. Reattach the wiring connectors into the terminals. They should pop into place without any huge restrictions.

Always be careful when working with terminals. Breaking them can also cost unnecessary time and money.

Step 7: Reattach linkages. Reattach any linkages that you may have removed in step three. Make sure these go in straight, and in the exact formation they were when they were removed.

These are designed to work with a very specific layout, and will not function properly in any other order.

Step 8: Test unit. Before replacing the access panel, test the unit. Lock and unlock the tailgate using the key fob, and the driver lock controls.

If it functions properly your repair is complete. If the key locking assembly does not function correctly, then retrace your steps and assure everything was done correctly.

Step 9: Replace access panel. With the unit installed, tested, and working properly you can replace the access panel which was removed in step one.

These screws need to be hand tight, but will not hurt anything to torque them down tight.

Replacing your tailgate locking assembly can be done in a reasonable amount of time and for little cost. With the access panel, locating and replacing the assembly is done quickly. If you get stuck or need assistance contact a certified technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to replace your tailgate locking assembly for you.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Replace a Tailgate Locking Assembly and was authored by Jessica Howe.


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