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Trunk Release & Lock Solenoids

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Trunk Release & Lock Solenoids

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What is the ­­­­trunk release solenoid and where is it located? 

The trunk release solenoid releases the trunk latch, allowing you to open the trunk with the press of a button.  When you press the trunk button on your wireless remote or on your dashboard, power is sent to the trunk solenoid.  The solenoid has an arm controlled by an electromagnet.  When the magnet gets power, the arm moves and releases the latch. 

Some General Motors vehicles integrate the trunk release solenoid into a motor which also closes the trunk.  If you try to slam a trunk, hard air resistance can actually slow it down, which can, conversely, cause it to close slower.  GM came up with a solution in the form of a trunk pull down motor.  You only have to touch the trunk striker to the latch and the motor pulls it the rest of the way down.  That saves you the trouble of slamming the trunk and saves the trunk the grief of getting slammed. 

Models without power trunk releases use a cable to release the trunk latch, similar to the cable used for the hood latch. 

How do I know if my ­­­­trunk release solenoid needs to be replaced?         

Usually you will find out there’s a problem with your trunk release in the worst possible way.  You will go to open your trunk and nothing will happen.  In other cases, you may not be able to close your trunk, leaving you with no secure place to put your groceries. 

The solenoid can wear out over time, as can the gears in a trunk pull down motor.  Slamming the trunk closed speeds wear on these parts, so close your trunk firmly but not too hard to avoid these kinds of problems in the future.  If you buy a used car with a trunk release pull down, the pull down may soon need to be replaced if the previous owner treated it roughly. 

Trunk release cables may become jammed, rusted, stuck, or snapped with age, leaving you unable to open the trunk. 

Can I replace the ­­­­trunk release solenoid myself?  

Yes, replacing a trunk release solenoid is quite straightforward.  You can just open the trunk, unbolt and remove the solenoid cover, unbolt the solenoid, disconnect the wiring, and pull it out.  Then you can reverse the above steps to install the new one.  The steps are the same for a trunk pull down motor. 

You may be wondering, though, how do you get the trunk open to work on it?  Well, you may still be able to open it with your key.  If not, you may be able to use the emergency trunk release.  There is a glow in the dark, manual trunk release handle inside your trunk so that you can escape if you are ever kidnapped.  If your back seats fold down, you can access the emergency handle and open the trunk that way.  Otherwise, you’ll probably need to call a locksmith. 

Trunk release cables can be more difficult to replace.  You need to route them the length of the vehicle behind several body panels.  Doing so will take many steps and a great deal of patience.  

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