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Ford Ranger Tailgate Handle

Ford Ranger How-to: Troubleshooting the Tailgate Handle

Can things get any more frustrating when after carrying dozens of bags and boxes from your house to your car, you can't seem to open the tailgate? How are you supposed to load all of your stuff now? You're also running late for all the fun things you and your kids are going to do for camping today! We understand the frustration; for a guy as busy as you, there is just no way to justify the tailgate handle ruining your much deserved break with the family. Worry no more; this troubleshooting article is designed to help you out and get you right on the road in a jiffy. Read on.

Working around the plastic encasing from the inside panel of the tailgate

The tailgate handle may be jammed because of some minor issues inside the mechanism. To remedy this, pry the plastic housing of the handle from the interior side of the rear door panel. Check the rod running from the handle to the side latches of the tailgate and remove any dirt that may be causing the blockage. Replace the handle and the plastic encasing, and try pulling the tailgate handle again to open it.

Dismantling the side latches of the tailgate

If the model of your Ford Ranger is of early origin, the side latches should be clearly visible to the naked eye. Pry the latches open with a flathead screwdriver, until it gives way and opens the tailgate. You will need another set of hands to do this, since both side latches should be released simultaneously for this troubleshooting method to work. If your Ford Ranger is fairly new, detach the plastic encasing that covers the latches. You should see it screwed unto the side panels of the truck; it is also a bit elevated to meet the height of the tailgate. After you unscrewed the encasing, proceed to doing the same steps mentioned earlier. Fair warning, though; you should only pull on the latches with controlled strength, just enough to pry it open. Extreme force will cause the latch to totally come unwound, causing you worse troubles locking the tailgate back.

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  • Ford Ranger How-to: Tailgate Handle Maintenance 27 February 2013

    The tailgate handle is a second-class lever that opens and closes the rear door of your Ford Ranger. The principle behind the apparatus is like the door handles on the driver and passengers' side; when you pull on the lever, you also release the locking mechanism that attaches the door to the body of the vehicle. Usually, in SUVs and pick-up trucks like the Ford Ranger, a tailgate handle develops rust earlier than the other door handles. Frequent exposure to mud, and habitual neglect to clean the part, are the reasons for this. To help you manage the care of your tailgate handle, we listed a few maintenance tips:


    Apply ample lubrication when needed.


    Sure, the tailgate handle on your car may look anything but damaged, but when you start noticing some squeaking noises every time you pull on it, then something about your presumption is wrong. These squeaking noises are good indicators that the part lacks lubrication. An assortment of rods and cables link to the lock and trip system of the handle; it is often subjected to friction when you pull the handle open, and thus, it needs ample lubrication to do its job perfectly.


    Keep the lever spotless.


    As stated earlier, the tailgate handle is frequently exposed to dust and mud. It is always advisable to keep the handle as spotless as possible, do not give even the smallest particles a chance to make its way inside the component and jam the mechanism. Be extra attentive to the small nooks and crannies on the handle, this is where dust often hides and accumulates.


    Rescue minor cracks before it gets worse.


    When you start noticing visual signs of wear, it is always good practice to forestall any worse damage by addressing the issues at hand when you see them. If the tailgate handle is cracked, fill the cracks with automotive glazing putty and sand it. This will reinforce the original material and prevent the cracks from worsening. If you wait on it, the cracks will creep into the inside part of the device and will eventually break the lever into half.