Your car's tailgate functions pretty much like the rest of the car doors. The only difference is that the tailgate's mostly a lot larger and heavier. Because of its weight, the tailgate lock may fail much sooner than the car doors' locks. Blame it on excessive force upon closing, or misalignment in the factory, the fact remains that a broken lock is both dangerous and costly.Not only will cargo be in danger of falling out the cargo bed, passengers in the bed are also at risk of injury. With a broken tailgate lock, the tailgate could suddenly open at high speeds and your passengers may fall out.If you discover that your truck's tailgate is easier to open than usual, or you're starting to have difficulty securing the lock in place, suspect lock failure. If you do decide to replace it, make sure it's aligned properly with the tailgate latch to prevent early wear and tear. You can find durable replacement tailgate locks at our catalogs at Carparts.
• Keeps the tailgate latch securely fastened
• Helps contain cargo in the truck bed
• Fits a wide variety of stock tailgate latches
Tailgate Lock Buyer's Guide
- A tailgate lock fits on the tailgate of an SUV or a pickup truck to prevent unauthorized access to the vehicle’s rear storage compartment. It is a valuable security investment and a powerful thief deterrent.
- There are several factors you have to consider before buying a tailgate lock: the type, material, and the compatibility of the locking mechanism of the lock with your vehicle’s locking system.
- If you can’t insert, move, remove your key from the tailgate lock or if it does not latch properly or even respond to remote controls (if applicable), there might be something wrong with it and you will need to replace it soon.
- A tailgate lock replacement may cost you around $43 to $272, depending on your vehicle’s year, make, and model. The pricier sets may include tailgate kits complete with their own hardware.
Investing in the safety and security of your belongings is always a priority. To secure your vehicle and its passengers, you would make sure that the doors and the locks work well. The same amount of precaution also goes for your cargo, especially if you own an SUV or a pickup truck.
Having a good tailgate lock deters thieves from stealing your tailgate and anything that you store at the back of your vehicle. It also gives you a sense of security that even if you’re away, the things you keep in your vehicle stay there. This guide will show you how to spot a bad tailgate lock and how to purchase a new lock with better quality.
What is a tailgate lock?
A tailgate lock fits on your tailgate to prevent unauthorized access to your vehicle’s rear storage compartment. Just like any lock, it opens with a physical key. However, some tailgate locks can synchronize with the automatic locking system of your vehicle.
The tailgate, or the hatch, acts as a mini-door through which you can gain access to the back of your vehicle. It’s commonly installed in pickup trucks and SUVs to close off the trunk or rear storage compartment. Some tailgates do not come with a lock, which makes the vehicle vulnerable to thieves. To deter potential thieves and to secure your vehicle, you need a tailgate lock.
Your truck tailgate lock connects to a lever that engages and disengages the latch handle. This mechanism allows the tailgate itself to open. Most tailgate locks come in sets complete with compatible hardware and cables so it can connect to the latch handle mechanism perfectly.
Tailgate lock buying tips
There are different types of materials, designs, and even mechanisms for the tailgate lock in the market. Knowing which specific type you need will help make it easier for you to purchase a replacement. Below are some factors you need to consider before buying a replacement tailgate lock:
Tailgate locks can either use stainless steel or a combination of ABS plastic and steel. Stainless steel has a well-deserved reputation for its durability, aesthetics, and its ability to withstand corrosion and other harsh weather conditions.
ABS plastic-steel tailgate locks also possess durability and corrosion resistance, but they can also withstand harsh chemicals.
The material and finish of the tailgate lock may vary, but you can choose a lock that has a similar color and trim as your vehicle. If you can’t find anything that matches your vehicle’s aesthetics, you can also customize the lock handle to your liking.
A tailgate lock can incorporate into your automatic lock system or can be unlocked manually using a key.
A power lock saves you the time and effort of locking the tailgate yourself. Power locks need to get programmed into the automatic lock system so they can lock and unlock in sync. With one click of a button on your key fob, you’re sure that your truck bed or rear compartment is secure. There’s no need to double-check anything anymore.
On the other hand, you can opt for a manual latch, since some vehicles might not be compatible with a power latch system. Some locks use the ignition key to open the tailgate so you won’t have to carry an extra set of keys, but you can still definitely opt for a separate key if needed.
Universal-type locks come in standard sizes and are available for all kinds of vehicles that have a generic locking system. In a pinch, this would work best because of its availability.
On the other hand, you can also have your tailgate locks custom-made, especially if you’re looking to improve your vehicle’s aesthetics or to revamp your security. These custom-type locks got made specifically for your vehicle’s year, make, and models, so you’re sure that it fits perfectly.
OEM replacement tailgate locks are the best type of locks you can get in the market. OEM replacements use quality materials and specifically designed to fit your vehicle. They also come in a wider variety but for a lower price. In addition, they’re widely available, even online.
How to spot a bad tailgate lock
It’s easy to overlook your vehicle’s locks and locking mechanisms when you do your regular checks, especially if all your locks integrate into the automated system. Checking your tailgate lock regularly is important because it’s part of your first line of defense against thieves.
Knowing how to spot a bad tailgate lock is important so you can be on top of your vehicle’s security system. Below are some indications you have a bad tailgate lock that needs replacing:
The key can’t fit in the lock
If you can’t insert your key into the tailgate lock, the lock cylinder might have internal components that have broken off or fused together. Sometimes, debris or other particles might have gotten stuck inside the lock, making it impossible to insert the key and thus open the tailgate.
The key got stuck and you can’t get it out
This issue usually has the same set of causes as when your key can’t fit in the lock. Inside the tailgate lock cylinder are little rods that fit into the grooves on the side of the key and activate the locking mechanism. These rods can break inside the lock cylinder and your key can get snagged on these components.
If this happens, your key can get stuck inside the tailgate lock cylinder and you won’t be able to get it out. Even worse, your key might break in the process of you trying to get it out. Before doing anything in this situation, it’s an excellent idea to get a mechanic or a lock expert to help you remove the key or give you suggestions on how to install a tailgate lock yourself.
The tailgate lock doesn’t latch
Sometimes, you might lock the tailgate lock but can’t get it to latch properly. This might have something to do with the inner components of the lock that connects it to the latch handle mechanism. This indicates a more complicated problem with the tailgate lock and you will need to replace it right away.
The lock does not respond to the remote key fob
A power tailgate lock can get programmed to synchronize with your vehicle’s locking system and respond to remote controls from the wireless key fob. If your tailgate lock does not respond to the key fob or the console inside the vehicle, there are several possible causes for the malfunction.
One, your tailgate lock might have problems with its programming and so it doesn’t respond to the remote controls. Alternatively, there may be an even bigger issue with your vehicle’s automatic locking system.
How much is a tailgate lock replacement?
Tailgate locks last a lifetime, but there are problems that you won’t see coming. You can get a long-lasting and durable replacement tailgate lock that offers maximum security for your vehicle.
A tailgate lock replacement may cost you around $43 to $272, depending on your vehicle’s year, make, and model. The pricier sets may include tailgate kits complete with their own hardware.
If you’re looking for a Ford F150 tailgate lock replacement, online car parts stores have a search filter that can help narrow down your search for the perfect part. Just input the correct year, make, and model of your vehicle so you can find a compatible part. You can also choose a specific brand or type of tailgate lock replacement kit.
Finding the Right Tailgate Lock
If you're driving a pickup truck, then most likely, you've thought of securing its tailgate for a long time. The tailgate enables you to secure cargo when you're traveling and in some instances, it could even work as a table when you're having picnic outside. Meanwhile, the best way to secure your pickup's tailgate is by using a simple component called the tailgate lock. As its name implies, the tailgate lock provides security and protection to all the stuff that you have placed inside the truck bed.
What you should know
Tailgate locks come with wires, connectors, and brackets when you buy them and that only means that you'll need a little bit of effort if you plan to install them. The most common tailgate locks are found made in China, although American brands are pretty common as well. Some tailgate locks are sold with a warranty while others don't.
What are the types available
- Bully tailgate lock-This type of tailgate lock comes with a separate key from the vehicle door key in order to be used. It has a relatively simple construction and when you buy it, it usually comes with an instruction manual to help you install it easily.
- Automatic tailgate lock-Unlike other tailgate lock types, the automatic tailgate lock definitely provides the best security. Automatic tailgate locks are available with a keyless entry and because of that, you'll be able to lock the tailgate and doors at the same time.
What you should remember
There are countless brands that offer top-caliber tailgate locks these days. Despite all the promises, it still pays to double-check whether the tailgate lock that you're going to buy will provide the security that you're looking for.
There's really no need to buy the most expensive tailgate lock, all you need to know is that you should only buy a tailgate lock depending on your security needs.
Tailgate Lock Installation: A DIYers Guide
A broken tailgate lock can cost you thousands in the long run. With your cargo left unprotected, theft is almost unavoidable! This is why it's crucial that you replace this component as soon as you can. The following instructions should help you quickly and easily install a universal tailgate lock.
Difficulty level: Easy
Tools that you'll need:
- Socket set
- Replacement tailgate lock
Step 1: Release the tailgate handle's retaining clips. You can do this by locating and squeezing the plastic bezel around the handle.
Step 2: Remove the bezel from the tailgate, then replace into the top retaining clips. This time, however, be sure to leave the bottom of the bezel unattached.
Step 3: Behind the handle, find the bolts on the tailgate's inner wall and take out the lower bolt. Some replacement tailgate locks require the use of a 13mm socket to loosen the upper bolts and remove the lower bolt.
Step 4: Align your replacement tailgate lock assembly with the rest of the tailgate handle mechanism and keep in place with the supplied screw. In some models, you'll have to keep the tailgate handle's open bolthole and threaded clip aligned.
Step 5: Make sure your new tailgate lock is aligned with the latch arms of the handle. Install the lock by fastening it in place by replacing the mounting screw. Take note that some tailgate locks require the use of one-way screws and hex head bolts to secure the mechanism, so be sure to check the product manual for this.
Step 6: Lastly, push the bottom part of the plastic bezel into place.
Note: After installation, check the tailgate handle to see if it locks and unlocks properly.