Subaru Forester Trunk Won’t Open—What To Do?

You press the button to open the rear trunk of your Subaru Forester and it doesn't open. Now you're staring at the still-closed trunk, wondering what you can do in this situation. Fear not! We've researched this concern for you and here's what we found.

If the Subaru Forester’s trunk doesn’t open, its latch, actuator, or belt might need fixing or replacing.

To fix your Forester's trunk, you will need to replace the part that is malfunctioning.

Continue reading as we tackle the reasons why a Subaru Forester’s trunk won’t open. We’ll also talk about the possible solutions to re-establish the closing functionality of this vehicle’s liftgate.

A Subaru Foresters trunk opened, Subaru Forester Trunk Won't Open—What To Do?

Why Won’t My Trunk Open On My Subaru Forester?

Repairing a Subaru Forester’s trunk that won’t open often demands that you identify and understand the problem’s origins. Here are some possible reasons why a Forester’s trunk refuses to open on command:

Subaru Forester parked near a cliff for a scenic view

Broken Trunk Latch

A Subaru Forester’s trunk latch may break over time, particularly because of frequent use. Some Forester models have electronic trunk latches, and these assemblies can fail as well because of wear and tear.

Faulty Lock Actuator

Power trunks in certain Subaru Forester models, such as the 2019 Subaru Forester, should open and/or close at the press of a button.

But a malfunctioning actuator on the car's key fob or the built-in switch on the vehicle fails to operate the trunk’s automatic functions.

Check out this replacement trunk lock actuator for Subaru Forester on Amazon.

Watch the video below on how a 2019 Forester’s power trunk should work:

Disfigured Trunk Cable

Like other cars, the trunk release cable on a Subaru Forester is typically a thin yet flexible wire that controls the liftgate’s locking and unlocking operations. However, this part can be susceptible to harm because of normal wear and tear.

Also, trunk cables can be vulnerable to corrosion and rust. If so, replacing these components might be the best answer to restore proper functionality to the Forester’s trunk.

How To Fix Subaru Forester Trunk That Won’t Open?

Subaru Forester trunk opened to view the interior of the SUV

Take note that the process to repair your Subaru Forester's trunk often depends on the source of the issue.

In this section, you'll learn some possible solutions on what to do based on the underlying cause that ruined your Forester’s trunk’s opening mechanism:

Replace The Trunk Latch

Replacing the trunk latch on a Subaru Forester generally requires you to open the lift or tailgate. Check your owner’s manual to see if it details how to open your vehicle’s trunk manually.

At this point, if you can’t open your Forester’s trunk manually, send the vehicle to an automotive repair shop to prevent further harm to the SUV.

Continue with this task by following these steps if you were successful in opening the trunk:

What You’ll Need

  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Philips screwdriver
  • Door panel popper
  • Ratchet wrench
  • Replacement trunk latch

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Use the flat-head screwdriver to remove the fasteners securing the trunk latch, which should be at the bottom of the liftgate.
  2. Pop open a small lid at the bottom of the liftgate to expose a screw.
  3. Use the Philips screwdriver to remove the exposed screw.
  4. Remove the brackets at the sides of the rear windshield with the panel popper. (Caution: it’s best to have an assistant for this step to help support the weight of the panel).
  5. Unscrew the newly exposed screws with the Philips screwdriver.
  6. Take the panel popper again and remove the large plastic housing covering the trunk latch.
  7. Use a ratchet wrench to remove the latch assembly.
  8. Install the new trunk latch and reassemble the parts you removed.
  9. Close the Subaru Forester’s trunk and test to see if opens and closes smoothly.

Check out this panel popper removal tool on Amazon.

The video below will show you a visual guide on how to complete this process. Keep in mind that the professional in the video removed the entire liftgate from the Subaru.

However, this preparatory step may not be a requirement for every trunk latch replacement job for all Subaru Foresters.

Replace The Trunk Switch

If the Subaru Forester’s trunk actuator is faulty, you may need to replace the entire switch assembly to restore its mechanism. So here are the steps for you to complete this project:

What You’ll Need

  • Screwdrivers
  • Panel remover kit
  • Socket wrench

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Remove the internal trim in the inside area of the liftgate.
  2. If your Subaru Forester model has a wiper blade on the rear windshield, remove that assembly before proceeding to the next step.
  3. Take out the fasteners and screws at the bottom of the liftgate.
  4. Remove the lining of the rear windshield with a plastic panel popper.
  5. Carefully remove the trunk’s lining. Ask for help from another person if needed.
  6. Unplug the power trunk’s motor and remove the screws securing the assembly to the tailgate.
  7. Remove the screws that hold the trunk’s external panel to expose the wiring.
  8. Take out the screws holding the actuator assembly and remove that setup.
  9. Install the new trunk switch and reinstall the assemblies and components you took out.
  10. Test the power trunk’s mechanism if it now opens and closes without giving you further issues.

Check out this Subaru Forester rear gate switch opener on Amazon.

Again, you need to manually open the trunk of the Subaru to complete this task. If not, it might be ideal to have expert automotive technicians repair the vehicle’s trunk’s mechanism for you.

Replace The Trunk Cable

This job is fairly similar to replacing a Forester’s trunk’s actuator. However, you’re not replacing the switch assembly but only the trunk cable.

So you may only need to follow the steps highlighted in the previous section. But instead of removing the trunk switch assembly, you only need to take out the damaged trunk cable and replace it with a new model.

How Do You Manually Open The Trunk Of A Subaru Forester?

Modified Subaru Forester with a huge speaker installed on the back

The Subaru Forester should have a button underneath the carmaker’s logo at the tailgate. If you’re having trouble locating this button, it’s generally below the two stars of Subaru’s logo. Press that button, and the trunk should open.

Watch the video below to see the different ways that you can open a Subaru Forester’s trunk:

How Much Does A Trunk Latch Replacement Cost For A Subaru Forester?

Subaru Forester trunk latches generally cost about $70 to $80. You can save money and complete this replacement job by treating the process as a DIY task.

However, you may need to spend extra money if you take advantage of professional services. If so, the overhead might increase from about $70 to $270.

Why Is My Car’s Trunk Not Opening?

Keep in mind that the problems mentioned above for the Subaru Forester’s trunk may not be exclusive to this vehicle. Those issues can happen to other cars. Also, here are other possible issues why a car’s trunk doesn’t open:

Latch Striker Misalignment

A rear-end collision might cause the trunk latch’s striker to become misaligned. You may return the striker to its original position by loosening its bolts and fixing its arrangement.

If the damage to the striker and the latch assembly is quite extensive, let professional technicians take over the job for you.

Release Cable Misalignment

Another component that might become misaligned or damaged from a rear-end collision is the trunk’s release cable.

Check your vehicle owner’s manual to locate this part and realign it to the correct arrangement. Replace it if it acquired significant damage from the incident.

Damaged Latch Release Solenoid

A vehicle trunk solenoid is typically a component that activates upon receiving electromagnetic fields from the liftgate release button or lever.

This part may acquire corrosion or rust over time. If so, the ideal solution is to replace it with a new model.

Final Words

A Subaru Foresters trunk opened

Perhaps the first step to restoring a Subaru Forester’s trunk’s closing mechanism is to troubleshoot its liftgate. Doing so should lead you to the problem’s origins.

Once found, you may choose to fix the trunk using DIY techniques or allow professionals to handle this job for you.

If you like this post, here are some related reads you can check out about the Subaru Forester:

How Long Do Subaru Forester Brakes Last?

What’s The Best Engine Oil For A Subaru Forester?

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