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How To Lock Tailgate On A Ram 1500

You’re a proud owner of a new Ram 1500, but now you’re wondering how to lock the truck’s tailgate. We researched this concern for your convenience, and here’s the answer we found.

Different Ram 1500 models often have varying tailgate locking mechanisms and procedures. For example, the 2017 version of the truck may only need you to lock the driver’s side door to lock the tailgate. But the 2022 Ram 1500 typically requires you to latch its multi-function tailgate into place by following a series of steps.

Continue reading as we talk about the different ways to lock a Ram 1500 tailgate in greater detail. We’ll also tackle how to add a power tailgate lock on a Ram truck if it doesn’t have it yet.

Before you continue reading, let us say we hope you find the links here useful. If you purchase something through a link on this page, we may get a commission, so thank you!

Instructions To Lock A Ram 1500 Tailgate (Based On Different Models)

Dodge Ram 1500 parked on the side of a parking lot

2017

First, raise the tailgate of your 2017 Ram 1500 from a lowered position. The tailgate should latch if done correctly.

Then, you can use the truck’s mechanical key to lock the tailgate from the rear handle. Alternatively, you may close the driver’s side door, which should lock the tailgate and passenger doors as well.

Watch the video below if you want to gain additional insights about the 2017 Ram 1500 and some of its tailgate’s features:

2019

Locking the tailgate of the 2019 Ram 1500 is a reasonably straightforward affair. Users need only to raise it from a lowered position. A clicking sound should come from the latch once the tailgate is in a closed position.

An alternate way to lock this truck’s tailgate is to walk away from the vehicle. The 2019 Ram 1500 should detect that the key fob won’t be in its immediate vicinity. If the proximity sensors are working properly, all the locks in the truck, including the one in the tailgate, should engage when you move away from the vehicle.

The video below also shows you the way to lock the 2019 Ram 1500 tailgate, along with its other features:

2022

Locking the 2022 Ram 1500’s tailgate starts by closing it first. First, close the smaller door of the multi-function tailgate before moving to the larger one. The tailgate should latch once it’s in the closed position.

Alternatively, users need only to raise the tailgate from a lowered position to its raised orientation. An audible clicking sound should emanate from the tailgate, signifying that the lock is now active.

Watch the video below for a visual representation of how to use the 2022 Ram 1500’s multi-function tailgate:

Note: This locking procedure is the same as the truck's 2020 and 2021 models.

How To Add A Power Tailgate Lock On Ram 1500?

Dodge RAM truck logo and brand sign on rear car

Aside from the standard locking procedures, you may change the way to secure your Ram 1500’s tailgate by installing a new power tailgate lock. This solution might also be ideal if your Ram 1500’s tailgate needs a replacement.

Take note that some steps mentioned in this section might vary depending on the specific model of your Ram 1500 and the tailgate lock you're about to install. Follow these steps once you’re ready:

What You’ll Need

  • Ratchet and socket
  • Torx screwdriver
  • Panel remover
  • Insulation tape
  • Power tailgate lock installation kit

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Park the vehicle in a safe spot. Ensure that the parking site has flat and level ground.
  2. Use a panel remover to remove the hard plastic covering on the tailgate’s handle.
  3. Open and lower the tailgate to its lowest possible position.
  4. Loosen and remove the newly exposed Torx screws. Set the removed screws aside temporarily.
  5. Hold the tailgate as you unclip it from its bracket.
  6. Raise the tailgate again but don't close it. Then, lift it and pull it out to remove it from the vehicle.
  7. Set the tailgate on a raised surface like the truck’s bed.
  8. Use a Torx screwdriver to loosen the locking module from the tailgate’s passenger side.
  9. Disconnect the locking module’s connection from the handle.
  10. Slide the locking module out of the tailgate.
  11. Slide the electric motor of the new power lock to the location of the tailgate’s handle.
  12. Route the Ram 1500's power-locking wires to the tailgate.
  13. Connect the vehicle's power lock wires to the motor.
  14. Secure the connection by rolling a piece of insulation tape to the connectors.
  15. Install and secure the new door handle to the tailgate.
  16. Reassemble the tailgate to its original installation location.
  17. Test the new power lock on the tailgate if it’s working as intended.

Check out this power tailgate lock on Amazon.

Note: Replacing the built-in tailgate lock on your Ram 1500 may void the vehicle’s warranty. Contact the truck’s manufacturer or your vehicle retailer before continuing with this procedure.

Warning: Avoid lifting the tailgate by yourself if you think it’s too heavy to lift and carry without help. Request help from another person to lift and carry the tailgate to and from the truck.

Watch the video below if you need a visual guide for this procedure:

Perhaps you’re having trouble keeping the tailgate closed, even after replacing the lock. If so, read our post on the reasons why a tailgate keeps opening to help you find a solution to this problem.

How Do You Fix A Ram 1500 Tailgate Lock That Won’t Latch?

How to fix a RAM 1500 tailgate lock that won’t latch, How To Lock Tailgate On A Ram 1500

If your Ram 1500's tailgate doesn't lock, it can be prone to theft. So follow these general steps to help fix a malfunctioning tailgate lock:

What You’ll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • White lithium grease

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Park the truck in a safe and shaded spot. Aim for a parking site with flat and level ground.
  2. Engage the hand or parking brake. Then, chock the wheels so the vehicle won’t move while you’re working on it.
  3. Apply white lithium grease to the latch.
  4. Wiggle the latch using a screwdriver or another similar tool to loosen the assembly.
  5. Close the tailgate to check if the problem persists.

Note: Avoid using the standard WD-40 for this procedure. That product displaces water, which may lead to gunk buildup in the tailgate’s latch.

The following video also shows you a visual representation of this procedure if you need it:

Note: If this process didn’t work, think about replacing the worn tailgate lock with a new model.

How Can I Prevent The Tailgate On A Ram 1500 From Being Stolen?

2021 Ram 1500 TRX back view

Locking your Ram 1500’s tailgate using the onboard locking features may not be enough to secure it from thieves. So here are other ways to help prevent your truck’s tailgate from being stolen:

  • Install a backup camera on the truck bed. It can help deter criminals from getting away with the tailgate since they’ll be at risk of exposure.
  • Clamp the tailgate. Use a radiator clamp to add a layer of security to your tailgate.
  • Park with the tailgate facing the wall. That way, it’s going to be more difficult than normal to remove the tailgate from its mounting location.
  • Avoid parking in dark and unpopulated places. Car thieves often like to steal where there are no people in the immediate vicinity.
  • Install a tailgate alarm. A loud sound will emanate from the vehicle if someone tries to steal the tailgate
  • Install a lockable tonneau cover. Attach a hard cover to your truck’s bed that also covers a portion (or the entire) tailgate.

Check out this Ram 1500 hard tonneau cover on Amazon.

If thieves manage to get away with your tailgate, contact the authorities immediately. You can also install CCTV cameras in your garage or driveway. The footage acquired from the cameras can serve as pieces of evidence if criminals were successful at stealing your truck’s tailgate.

Check out this home security camera system on Amazon.

Why Won’t The 2019 Ram 1500 Tailgate Lock?

Dodge Ram 1500 parked on the side of the road

In May 2019, Ram issued a recall for over 410,000 2019 Ram 1500 trucks. It’s because these units have faulty tailgates that refuse to lock. Although the locking mechanisms may work, Ram decided to issue the recall as the latch might break sooner than later.

Owners can send their 2019 Ram 1500 trucks to official automotive repair shops to replace the faulty component. DIY solutions are still available for individuals who are willing to attempt fixing their trucks’ tailgate latches without relying on professional assistance.

Final Thoughts

Don’t forget to check your Ram 1500’s owner’s manual for the specific steps on how to close and lock its tailgate. Remember, different Ram 1500s often require varying locking procedures because of their unique designs and other traits.

If you’re looking for answers to other truck tailgate concerns, check out these other great reads:

Can I Tow With My Tailgate Down?

How Much Weight Can A Truck’s Tailgate Hold?