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Dodge Ram 3500 Tailgate Lock

Spotting and Troubleshooting Dodge Ram 3500 Tailgate Lock Issues

Your tailgate is as important as any of your truck's doors. The only difference is the cargo that it protects. For the Dodge Ram 3500, the huge bed could contain such important cargo that you have installed truck bed or tonneau covers. However, these covers are useless if you have a busted tailgate lock. The tailgate lock enables you to store your cargo securely in your pick-up truck's bed. But because of its heavy usage, the tailgate lock is prone to breaking. Here are some ways on how you can quickly address you Dodge Ram 3500 tailgate lock issues.

Key will not turn to unlock

If your tailgate won't unlock with your key but unlocks with the central locking mechanism then your issue is the key cylinder. There might be some frozen moisture in the keyhole that you may need to thaw with a lock de-icer. Or you may need to lubricate with WD-40 or any off-the-shelf auto lubricating product.

Key cannot enter the keyhole

The key cylinder has no way to keep small debris from entering and lodging itself inside. Small debris prevents the key from properly entering the key cylinder. If this is the case, then you need to remove the entire tailgate assembly and clean out the keyhole. If the gunk is stuck, and refuse to budge then you may need to buy a replacement.

Central locking system won't open the tailgate

If you find that the central locking system opens all doors except your tailgate then this means your tailgate locking actuator or solenoid has failed. This can either mean that no power is reaching the actuator so check the wires and the fuse. If the power goes through then it means you have a bad actuator and you need to replace it. You can also check the condition of the tailgate lock's plastic gears as they are prone to wear and tear. Once you've cleared the locking systems mechanisms, then the tailgate lock should respond to the central locking system.

Won't open at all

If the lock refuses to budge with key or the central locking system then you might want to try using a little force. There are times when the lock catch is misaligned and just need a firm bump to move it into place. You can open then tailgate assembly and check how far off the locking catch is so you can adjust accordingly.

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  • Keeping Your Dodge Ram 3500 Tailgate Lock Secure

    Your pick-up truck gives you the advantage of having a larger cargo area. However, despite a tonneau cover, you valuables are not safe from random crooks on the road. A Dodge Ram 3500 tailgate lock gives you the peace of mind, and allows you to leave your valuables unattended. Most tailgate locks are made of sturdy metal and blends with your tailgate handle. Although durable enough to stop thieves, the tailgate lock are still susceptible to breakage with time and heavy usage. Here are tips to prolong the service life of your tailgate lock.


    The tailgate lock in itself is made of strong materials enough to stop burglars. Still, it has vulnerable spots that can normally be overlooked. The cylinder lock or the keyhole is open to dust and debris. When left too long, the debris can accumulate and prevent the key from entering the keyhole. Dust particles can also corrode the insides of the tailgate lock, negatively affecting the mechanisms inside. So take a peek inside the keyhole or even better, remove the tailgate lock cover and check the condition of the mechanisms inside. For power tailgate locks, check the actuators as well, as they have the tendency to malfunction if it gets dirty inside.

    Clean and lubricate

    It is understood that with inspection, you also make time to clean the tailgate lock. You can't very well ignore any muck inside the tailgate lock as it would prevent the lock from working properly. When cleaning, make sure you remove the dust and grime from the smallest crevices. Lubricate the key cylinder with a graphite spray to keep the entryway smooth. Use a rust-resistant gun oil on all moving metal parts inside the tailgate lock. During the winter, some of the grime could freeze so make sure you heat it up before turning the key to unlock it.

    Be gentle

    One of the most common issues of tailgate locks and latches are misalignment. The constant rough handling of the tailgate itself can cause the mechanisms inside the tailgate to be misaligned. This would cause malfunction on both the locks and the latches, resulting to tailgate locking and unlocking malfunction. Despite your Dodge Ram 3500 tough truck image, it would be beneficial to remember to treat the tailgate with as much gentleness as you can muster.