Ford Expedition Back Hatch Won’t Open—What To Do?

Are you having trouble opening the back hatch of your Ford Expedition, and you want to know what you can do about it? You’ve come to the right place, for we have researched this question, and we have the answer for you.

If the electronic back hatch and the power window won’t open, then the problem is a burned-out fuse. Replacing the fuse should fix the problem. Here are other possible reasons why the back hatch will not open:

  • Low battery 
  • Incorrect transmission setting
  • Window is open
  • Loose cable 
  • Damaged fuse 

Let’s talk more about the back hatch of your Ford Expedition in the succeeding sections. Learn how to fix a manual back hatch below. Find out what to do if only the electronic back hatch switch or the electronic window button is not working.

Read on!

2018 Ford Expedition, Ford Expedition Back Hatch Won't Open—What To Do?

The Back Hatch Of Ford Expedition

Ford expedition display in international autoshow

The back hatch is also known as the "liftgate" in older Ford Expeditions and the "power liftgate" in newer models. The liftgate is the door at the back of the Ford Expedition that grants you access to the cargo area without having to go through the rear rows of seats.

In some models, there is a set of switches along the inside wall of the liftgate that gives you electronic control of the rear seats. The switches allow you to fold the rear seats to increase the cargo capacity of your Ford Expedition. The switches also allow you to return the rear seats to their upright position.

The liftgate opens upward—hence its name. Some models allow you to open the liftgate window of the liftgate separately. These models have separate buttons to open the liftgate window and the liftgate.

Situations That Prevent The Power Liftgate From Opening

There are situations that normally prevent the power liftgate on your Ford Expedition from opening. This feature is only present in newer models of Ford Expedition.

These are safety features of your power liftgate that prevents damage to your Expedition or prevents damage to your passengers and cargo.

Back Hatch Window Is Open

Keep in mind that the liftgate or the back hatch will not open if the liftgate window is open. This is to prevent damage to the liftgate window; it can get caught between the liftgate and the Expedition's roof.

If the liftgate of your Expedition doesn’t open, check if the liftgate window is open or not. Close the liftgate window, and you should be able to open the liftgate.

Transmission Not In “Park(P)”

Another situation that will prevent the power liftgate from opening is the transmission setting.

Some Ford Expedition models have a safety feature that prevents the power liftgate from opening unless you have the transmission in park. If you suddenly cannot open the power liftgate of your Expedition, check the transmission and make sure the gear is set to the “Park(P)” position.

If your transmission is not in the park position, start your Expedition, then place your transmission in the correct position before turning off the engine. The back hatch or your liftgate should now open even when the engine is off.

Some models will give off a warning chime if you try to open the liftgate, but your Expedition is not in park.

Battery Charge Is Low

A low battery charge will also prevent your power liftgate from opening.

Your Expedition will prioritize the systems that are important to running it. The power liftgate is not one of these. Thus, if your Expedition detects that the battery charge is low, it will prevent non-essential systems like the power liftgate from functioning.

Your expedition will give off three chiming tones to let you know that the battery charge is low when you try to open the liftgate.

Charge your car battery to fix this issue.

Important Liftgate Safety Precautions

Never let anyone ride the cargo area that you access through the liftgate. There are no safety harnesses or seatbelts inside the cargo area. In case of an accident, the risk of injury to the passenger(s) inside the cargo area is very high.

Always close the liftgate before driving your Ford Expedition. This prevents exhaust fumes from entering your Expedition through the liftgate. The natural flow of air while your Expedition is running will push some of the exhaust fumes inside your Expedition if the liftgate is open.

Some situations might force you to drive your Expedition while the liftgate is open—perhaps you have a long cargo that doesn’t fit inside. Keep the windows open to let the air flow through them. The air flowing through the open windows will push the exhaust fumes out before they can enter the open liftgate.

Closing the liftgate also prevents cargo from falling from the back of your Expedition.

How to fix a power liftgate on Ford Expedition that does not open?

Ford Expedition 2015 on display on display at the LA Auto Show

It's helpful to learn how to identify a fuse problem if both the power liftgate and the liftgate window do not respond to any of the buttons that should open them. This is because both are on the same circuit.

Most of the time, each circuit will have only one fuse. Thus, if the fuse is burned-out, both will no longer work. The buttons that open either of them will not work.

What is wrong if the power liftgate doesn’t open, but the liftgate window opens?

 Ford Focus, Clean, open empty trunk

You can get in a situation where the power liftgate doesn’t open, but you have the transmission set to “Park(P),” if you have a new car battery, and the liftgate window is not open. Instead of jumping to your manual to look for the fuse location block to replace the fuse for the power liftgate, check first if it is really a fuse problem.

Check the liftgate window. If it responds to the button for opening it, then it is not a fuse problem. If the fuse for the power liftgate burns out, both the power liftgate and the liftgate window will stop to work.

The next thing you need to check is which button your liftgate responds to. Check if you can open it through the button on the center console, the button at the steering wheel, and the button outside the liftgate. If only one of these buttons fails to open the liftgate, then the problem is that button.

Replacing the problematic button will fix the issue.

However, if all buttons don’t respond, then there could be a mechanical liftgate problem. Check if the liftgate will open using the button on the key fob. If it doesn’t open, then the problem could be the motor that unlocks the liftgate or the wiring that provides power to that motor.

Bring your Expedition to a service center or to a professional mechanic to verify the issue and fix it for you.

Ford Expedition Limited

If you have a Ford Expedition Limited, you need to look for two more fuses that protect the circuit of the power liftgate. Check the user manual for the location of the fuse block on the passenger side of your Ford Expedition and the fuse block inside the engine bay. These two fuse blocks each have an additional fuse, and all three fuses must be intact for the liftgate to work.

If any of these fuses burn out, the power liftgate will no longer work.

How to fix a manual liftgate that doesn’t open?

focused auto mechanic checking car trunk at auto repair shop

Older models of Ford Expedition have manual liftgates that do not use motors to unlock, open and close the liftgate. Instead, older Expedition models have a manual liftgate that has a handle outside the liftgate. You twist the handle to unlock the liftgate instead of pressing a button.

The manual handle has a steel cable that pulls the lock of the liftgate when you twist the handle. The twisting motion rolls the handle and pulls it upward.

Common Issue With Manual Liftgate Handle

The common problem with the manual liftgate is that the plastic casing that holds the steel cable in place becomes brittle over time and breaks apart. Without the plastic casing to hold the cable in place, twisting the handle will not do anything because the steel cable will simply slide instead of staying in place to pull the lock open.

Both ends of the steel cable have this plastic casing, and they both have the same problem.

You have two options to fix the issue.

  • First, you can order the same part and replace the old steel cable with the brittle plastic casing. However, this solution is not a permanent fix because the replacement part has the same plastic casing that will become brittle over time, and it will give you the same problem eventually.
  • The second solution is to get an aftermarket casing that is made of aluminum. The aluminum casing will not get brittle over time.

Insert the aftermarket casing into the cable where the brittle plastic came off. Replace the plastic on both ends, and you should not have any problems with the cable anymore.


The root cause of the problems with the back hatch of your Ford Expedition depends on whether it has a manual latch or an electronic latch. Check the possible causes in order until you fix the issue.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you might find the articles below equally enjoyable to read:

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