What is a trunk latch adjustment? 

When your car needs a trunk latch adjustment, it means that the mechanisms keeping your trunk closed are either misaligned or out-of-sync. The adjustment will usually involve physical manipulation of the metal pieces on the latch so that they align properly again. 
While a misaligned trunk doesn’t pose a safety risk, it should be addressed as soon as possible to ensure that water doesn’t enter and damage your trunk—and that your belongings are safe.
If your vehicle has a power trunk or hatch, a trunk latch adjustment may involve a more complicated inspection of the wires and sensors controlling the latching system. Every component of this system must work together to perform correctly so you will likely need a trustworthy mechanic to take a look.  

How do I adjust my trunk latch? 

If you’re unfamiliar with your car’s latching mechanisms, it’s safest to have a professional do a trunk latch adjustment for you. Performing the job improperly could worsen the alignment problem and cause more damage to your trunk and trunk latch. 
If you *are* familiar, you can adjust your trunk latch on your own by taking the following steps: 
  • Open your trunk and locate your latch mechanisms—the latch is attached to the hood, and the striker plate (the bar the latch grabs) will be on the trunk floor
  • Examine how the latch and striker plate line up when they connect—they should meet in the middle of the striker plate
  • Diagnose whether the latch or the metal bar in the striker plate is misaligned 
  • Using a wrench or ratchet, loosen the bolts holding the misaligned mechanism 
  • Carefully shift the mechanism so that it is lined up again 
  • Tighten the bolts 
The adjustment will depend on the make, model, and age of your specific vehicle. Latches on cars like a Toyota Corolla, for example, can often be adjusted by simply adding washers behind the latch bolts. 
On the other hand, vehicles with power trunks or more complicated latching mechanisms should almost always be taken to a mechanic for an adjustment. 
Key Takeaway A trunk latch adjustment can be performed on your own, but it’s safest to take your vehicle to a mechanic if you’re unfamiliar with its latching mechanisms.  

How important is a trunk latch adjustment? 

It’s important to address any trunk latch issues sooner rather than later. 
Your trunk latch performs the crucial job of keeping everything in your trunk protected from outside elements. Valuable features like batteries and fuses are located in the trunks of some vehicles, so any exposure to water damage can be devastating. 

Signs your trunk latch needs adjusting 

To preserve the safety of your trunk, look out for these signs that your trunk latch needs adjusting: 
  • The trunk won’t close or latch 
  • The trunk won’t open again once it is latched 
  • Part of the trunk seems visibly higher or misaligned 

How common is a trunk latch adjustment? 

A trunk latch adjustment is a fairly common service, especially if your vehicle is older. Typically, the more a trunk is overloaded or slammed with excessive force, the more frequent an adjustment might be needed. 
If a trunk latch consistently undergoes too much pressure, the latch may break entirely and a more costly trunk latch replacement will be needed.   

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