How can i get my trunk door to latch shut?
November 25, 2009 11:53 PM   Subscribe

My 2004 mercedes ml350 trunk door will not latch. Please help!!!

I used the trunk earlier in the day with no problems. Then my husband took the car to pick up some folks from the airport and when he finished loading the car and tried to close the trunk door, it would not latch. He drove home with it closed but not shut.
Normally we'd wait till the dealership is open to take the car in, but tomorrow is thanksgiving so theyre closed, and we need to be on the road at 5:30am on Friday morning. I've googled to no avail so i was wondering if Mefi could help. It seems like its a mechanical issue, nothing to do with the motor.
Thanks in advance.
posted by ramix to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
Spray it with some silicone or WD-40. It may just have stuck and need lubrication. Mind you, WD-40 is not a lubricant, but it's common to have laying around and is somewhat of a solvent in case the latch is just gunked up. If you have WD-40 and it works, oil the latch afterwards.
posted by rhizome at 1:07 AM on November 26, 2009

Try moving the latch with your fingers. It may be stuck like rhizome says. Alternately, your trunk may be slightly misaligned and the latch isn't lining up properly with the hook it latches into. But my money's on the former. You can get silicone spray at any auto store (Kragen, Autozone) and probably any hardware store too.

I have no special knowledge of Mercedes trunks, this is just general car trunk latch advice
posted by zippy at 1:29 AM on November 26, 2009

So, automotive trunk latches are comprised, basically, of two components:
The "u" shaped anchor on the bottom sill of the trunk and the latching mechanism on the trunk lid.
Examine the U shaped anchor. Is it deformed, loose, or missing? (Paint chipping and a little denting is normal.)

Step 1.
Obtain a substantial screw driver. Make sure that your trunk latch is unlatched by pressing the "unlatch" button on your key remote and in the cabin of the car. Take your screwdriver and use the shaft of the screwdriver as a substitute for the U shaped anchor. That is, make the latch mechanism latch around your screwdriver as a substitute for the anchor on the trunk sill. This allows you to visually examine the latch and its action with the trunk lid open. If you can pull on the screwdriver and cause the mechanism to unlock or spring open, then the latch is defective.
If it holds the screwdriver firmly, then lubricate the latch with silicone or similar. After lubrication, proceed to step 2.

Step 2.
You might find that the latch is stuck in the closed position. Slide the screwdriver into where the anchor would normally be, apply lubrication, and press the unlock button as you giggle the latch with the shaft of the screwdriver.
I've seen many cases where this has occurred (and slamming the trunk a few times has made it worse). You probably can get it working again by following these steps.

After you've freed it up, test it repeatedly, using the screwdriver as a substitute for the anchor. Latch with the screwdriver, and then unlatch with the remote key about five to ten times. Make sure it moves smoothly and doesn't get hung up when you unlatch it.
You don't want to slam the trunk only to find that it's now stuck shut.
posted by Jon-o at 5:41 AM on November 26, 2009

Has the emergency release been triggered? On the interior of teh trunk lid, there should be an emergency latch. Perhaps it was triggered somehow while loading bags into the trunk.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:00 AM on November 26, 2009

Seconding the emergency release latch maybe? Similar thing happened to me a few days after getting a new car. The latch in mine is on the inside of the trunk lid and is green (glows in the dark). It took a bit of pushing/pulling to get it to go back in, but once it was there the trunk closed like normal. While it was pulled out, the trunk just wouldn't close at all - just bounced straight back up when I'd slam the trunk.
posted by ish__ at 7:53 AM on November 26, 2009

I don't think this has anything to do with an emergency release. The ML350 is an SUV. SUVs, hatchbacks, and station-wagons never have an emergency trunk release since there's no trunk to become trapped in. Only vehicles with a proper trunk have that glow-in-the-dark emergency handle inside.
posted by Jon-o at 8:07 AM on November 26, 2009

Yeah I'll retract the trunk release suggestion then; I didn't realize it was an SUV. As usual, Jon-o probably has the best advice here.
posted by ish__ at 8:16 AM on November 26, 2009

Thanks Jon-o, your suggestion worked! I owe you a beer!
posted by ramix at 11:39 AM on November 26, 2009

It's a thanksgiving miracle! Have an awesome weekend and a great holiday!
posted by Jon-o at 1:04 PM on November 26, 2009

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