Why Your Chevy Malibu Trunk Won’t Open? Possible Reasons

Chevy Malibu receives lots of favorable customer ratings for its spacious trunk: with a total space of 15.7 cu.ft, you can carry tons of personal items with you on any trip.

However, be mindful of possible troubles that may come along the way: beginners report failing to open the trunks on certain occasions.

To avoid unwanted disadvantages – especially during trunk emergency situations – learning possible reasons why the Chevy Malibu trunk won’t open is important.

And my experienced team can definitely help you with that. Keep scrolling for more.

Why Your Chevy Malibu Trunk Won’t Open

chevy malibu trunk won't open

Dead key fobs, worn liftgate struts, jammed/dirty latches, broken trunk buttons/ motor/ fuse/ electrical wiring/ switch/ weather strippings, and engaged child safety locks are the most common culprits behind a jam-shut trunk.

The Key Fob Batteries Are Dead

The dead key fob batteries might be a reason for stuck trunks in cars like Chevy or BMW, but how can you know for certain? Here are two steps to confirm:

Step one. Check the battery level. If it is low, you now know where the culprit lies. Just charge the fob, and the trunk will pop open just fine! 

Step two. If the battery charge is still quite high, ask professional mechanics to open your trunk using other devices (ex: switch, alternative fobs, etc.).

When the trunk still opens upon control from other remotes – yet refuses to respond to your key fobs – you may have to fix or replace the entire fob in that case.

The Lift Gate Strut Is Worn Out

“A liftgate strut” refers to the small piece that tabs the trunk lids and keeps them in place. When the strut wears out, your deck lid clearly cannot stay up any longer; no wonder it refuses to open! 

Thankfully, finding a remedy for this issue is not entirely impossible: you only have to adjust the strut a little.

  • In most cases, just changing the mount tension will make it work again like a charm.
  • Another method (one of my favorites!) is lubricating the struts. I often use WD-40, but you can use any other lubricant of your choice.

If these methods do not work, install brand-new mounts then.

Jammed, Dirty, or Faulty Trunk Latch

Not just Chevy Malibu; most car trunks from major brands arrive with a latch that helps ease out the process of trunk closing/opening.

A jammed/dirty latch mechanism, no doubt, restricts all possible movements and makes it a challenge to open the trunk properly.

Ask yourself when was the last time you cleaned the latch. If you cannot even remember it, it’s time to get into action! 

Lubricate/ clean the latch carefully and check whether the situation improves. In the case that it doesn’t, replace the whole latch then.

Chevy Malibu Trunk Release Problem

Trunk release buttons and trunk latches work quite closely with each other; the former releases the latter to pull the trunk lid from its original position.

Without a well-functioning release button, my 2015 Chevy Malibu trunk won t open no matter how hard I try.

To tackle this dilemma, you have a few choices: 

  • Replace the trunk lock button
  • Bypass the button and open the car trunk from inside

Damaged Motor

2017 chevy malibu trunk won't open

The motor controls the entire trunk setup. When it malfunctions, the rest will follow.

Some might want to fix it, but trust me; there’s nothing better than to purchase new motors.

They are not that expensive, either, and very affordable; you can spot replacement motors almost anywhere at local stores or online shops. 

Blown Fuses

Another possible reason is the blown button on trunk fuses – the most infuriating culprit whenever my 2015 Chevy Malibu trunk won’t open.

Open your car’s fuse box to double-check the fuse locations inside. If there is any defective or burnt fuse, I replace it with a newer one.

Still not working? Then the wiring system might have been damaged.

Damaged Wiring/ Broken Wires

When my 2015 Malibu trunk won’t open and fuse replacements fail to fix that, I move on to the wiring system and check all the wires from the switches to the release solenoids.

You should do the same. Any faulty wire must get replaced immediately.

Broken Lid Handle Switches

Malfunctioning switches or broken trunk lock might also be to be blamed (do not mistake them for latches.

By the way: switches use electronic control to control the trunk closing/opening, while the latches are mechanical devices that secure the trunk’s shut-off position).

To confirm the issue, use a multimeter to test the switch’s wiring, then inspect the mechanism consistency between the volt trunk release and the switch.

Also, assess the switch’s power supply and fuse box to confirm nothing is blown.

Any unusual symptoms mean the car needs new trunk switch replacements. Do not put it off!

Broken Solenoid

o not forget about the solenoid – which takes charge of trunk release activation.

As the last puzzle of the entire trunk setup, it plays a major role in deciding whether the trunk can be electronically opened! 

If you do not know for sure, try out these few methods:

  • Open the trunk manually. If the manual trunk still opens, the solenoid only has a few minor glitches and requires no fixes. And if the trunk is still closed? 

Then the solenoid damage is beyond saving; your only choice is to have it replaced at auto repair shops

  • Check the car’s battery. No car battery means no devices can work – including the solenoid. Charge it right away.
  • Put the solenoids through different paces and monitor them with a multimeter. If there is damage, the multimeter won’t show any reading.

Jammed Weather Strippings

My 2016 Malibu trunk won’t open in cold weather. The car’s weather stripping might be the reason here, as it is produced to tightly seal the car trunk from external elements.

When placed the wrong way, it might jam-shut the trunk.

Worse, the metallic trunk cords around will dissipate the heat even faster, causing the surrounding plastic to shrink and make it harder for you to crack the trunk lid.

What to do, then?

  • Heat these weather strippings with a hairdryer. When these materials are softened, the trunk may open more effortlessly.
  • Use flathead screwdrivers or putty knives to pry those strippings gently. Once some small openings are created, use them to free up the trunk lid.

Child Safety Locks Are Engaged

Many Chevy Malibu models are equipped with child safety systems, which – as the name suggests – only allow adult access when activated.

Hence, my 2015 Chevy Malibu trunk wont open sometimes.

Take a quick look inside the car to confirm whether Chevy’s child safety system is operating. If yes, move the switch to “OFF” to deactivate it. Your issue should fix itself at this point.

How to Avoid Stuck Chevy Malibu Trunks In The Future?  

2016 chevy malibu trunk won't open

A Chevy trunk gate that won’t open or won’t close is the biggest nightmare for any family during camping or vacation trips.

Note down these reminders from my personal experience to steer clear of such frustrating experiences:

  • Maintain the locking mechanism regularly: Ensure they are debris-free and frequently lubricated. Always inspect/ clean trunk areas to keep obstructing objects and dirt at bay.
  • Handle the exterior trunk gently: Avoid too much force or slamming. Close the trunk gently to reduce latch strain and minimize damage/ misalignment risks.
  • Do not overload it: Pay more attention to the item’s size and weight before putting them into the trunk.

An overloaded trunk may suffer from excessive pressure on the hinge and latch; malfunction will only be a matter of time.

  • Keep the remote and key lock in peak condition: For Chevy Malibu models with remote/key trunk release, ensure they are well taken care of. Replace batteries when needed.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix When Your Chevy Malibu Trunk Won’t Open? 

The diagnosis and inspection cost of trunk repair fluctuates from $150 to $1200 – depending on what problems or issues your car trunk encounters.

In serious cases, some drivers even have to replace the entire trunk, which is certainly not cheap – hence the importance of regular maintenance and upkeep.


The Chevy Malibu trunk won’t open with a broken trunk lock mechanism, so keep in mind my maintenance guide.

Avoid overloading the car when unnecessary, and always pay extra attention to the metal parts during extreme weather. Only then can you protect your car trunk from broken locking mechanisms!

Should you still need more advice on Corvette trunk issues, check the wire diagram in your owners manual or write to my customer service team for advice.

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