Sunday, April 17, 2011

How to Fix a Jammed Toyota Camry Trunk

This problem needs a higher pagerank, so I figured I would post the solution here.

If your Toyota Camry trunk won't open, one possible reason is that it is set to valet mode. Valet mode means that you cannot open the trunk using the release lever inside the car.

To set valet mode, you put the key into the trunk lock and turn it counterclockwise. You will know that your trunk is in valet mode if the lock is horizontal rather than vertical, and if you cannot open the trunk using the lever near the driver's seat.

Of course, a problem is that sometimes the Camry can get stuck in valet mode, such that you can't use your key to get out of it. (You can see how I spent part of my Sunday morning ...)

The solution turns out to be WD-40. Spray some WD-40 on your key and on the lock. Put the key in, and jiggle it around, and happiness ensues.

From an interaction design perspective, it sort of makes sense to have a valet mode. After all, the point of having a valet key is to limit the functions that an untrusted person can use. On the other hand, in the roughly 20 years I've driven a car, I pretty much never remember to bring the valet key with me, and have only valet parked at most three times. I suspect valet mode has caused more problems than actually solved.

50 comments:

boynton beach used car said...

Thanks for the information, it seems to me that you have a good experience about the parts of your Toyota car.

Umut Topkara said...

The name valet keys is misleading. They should be called oil change keys for the rest of us with more humble parking habits.

Anonymous said...

Great information! I thought I was going to have to get my cable replaced but it was just set on valet. Thanks so much for your post.

Anonymous said...

Been spraying WD40 into lock for two days and it's still stuck. Any ideas what to try next?

Anonymous said...

thanks so much, Jason. it took awhile, and it took trying 3 different keys I had, but after about 10 min. of jiggling in the WD-40'd lock, one of the keys suddenly clicked into vertical position. Can't tell you how helpful this hint was. Saved lots of futile effort and worry over it being a much worse problem than it was.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ajury said...

Thanks just did this, I used graphite instead of WD40. A locksmith I worked with said eithor use liquid lubricant or dry but dont mix. Makes a paste that is really hard to clean off.

buy gold said...

boy thats great another use for WD-40, love that stuff. I was thinking it would be nice if they came out with a mini spray bottle that you could put on your keychain cause you can use it for everything.

Annakate said...

Super helpful. I just unjammed my trunk! Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

Wow! That took 2 seconds to fix after at least a year of thinking my trunk release cable snapped.

Chris said...

Thanks, man. I fixed my trunk problem using your information!

John said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Thanks.. saved me a trip to the dealer. I also managed to set the trunk lock to valet mode.

Jalil said...

Hi every one ,my trunk doesn't lock.it'is open all time .Any ideas .Thank you

Jalil said...

Hi every one ,my trunk doesn't lock.it'is open all time .Any ideas .Thank you

Anonymous said...

Thank you! this was exactly what I needed to do and after jiggling the key back and forth and turning it 180 degrees in the lock, my trunk would close again. Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this info!! I have a relatively new-to-me Toyota corolla that I thought had a broken trunk release. I had no idea that there was a "valet" setting (really? a "valet" mode?). I've searched for hours about this problem, and found no other references to a valet mode anywhere else in the internet. Much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

thank you for this information

Anonymous said...

Didn't work at first, but I let the wd40 work in for 10 minutes, and then spend a minute gently jiggling the key in the lock, and that did the trick. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

This worked for me. THANKS. I was looking at a long Sat am in the trunk. You Saved me a lot of frustration!!!!

Anonymous said...

Worked like a charm! Thanks

Brutus said...

Worked great!!! Thanks for saving me some $$$$

Greg77 said...

Thank you soooooooo much, I didn't have any WD-40 handy but I have kroil, which is a comparible penetrating oil, put some on the key and squirted some in the lock and presto!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much!! I was starting to panic in what to do.

Anonymous said...

Is there one key for ignition and a seperate one for trunk?

Jason Hong said...

I think there are only two keys, valet key (which can only be used to start the car) and regular (which can start the car and open the trunk)

Lee said...

You are brilliant!
My trunk wasn't stuck, but no one could figure out how to lock the trunk from someone like the guy who has your car all day for service and your camera equipmet is in the trunk. No glove-box switch, nothing. And then I found your "turn lock to the left" and wah-lah!! In all the years I've owned this 98, no one, not even the Toyota service guys knew this. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Thanks...I thought I had broken my handle in some form or fashion.

Kyoko Nitori said...

Well, I thought the most awaited car was the Toyota Corolla. I have heard that they are releasing the new version next year.

Dr. Ida L. Rodgers said...

Thanks! I was able to cancel my Monday appointment with a car-lock-smith, who was going to charge me $100 to recondition my lock.

Vicks said...

Great. It worked. Thanx a million. U R a GENIUS.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your help. I'm so glad you helped me I almost spent a couple hundred bucks trying to fix it :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! I couldn't figure out how my lock got in the horizontal position and why my trunk wouldn't open. I have a Toyota Corolla and I was at a loss for what to do. My key wouldn't work, my latch wouldn't work and you can only lower the back seats from inside the trunk. WD-40 and 3 minutes of jiggling did the trick!

Anonymous said...

Great clue.. works like a magic

Anonymous said...

Would never have fixed my trunk issue without this website. Had the car for 8 years without knowing it had a valet mode. I fixed it for the wife, now we can live in peace this evening

Anonymous said...

Um.... Wow. Really easy and EXACTLY what I needed to know. Thanks for taking the time to write this up.

Fishback said...

If you still can't unlock your trunk, at least you can gain access through the back seat with this trick.
http://youtu.be/VXKhksv-v5k

Anonymous said...

04-19-14 Just used your steps and it worked beautifully.
P.S. I just came back from my mechanic, he thought about the valet idea, but didn't know how it worked in the car.

Anonymous said...

Jason,

Thank you so much - you are absolutely correct that this should have a higher page rank. Like many others, I thought the problem was a broken lock or a frozen cable. You saved me much frustration!

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot!

The key slot was horizontal, inserted key and turned it to vertical. Trunk release now works!

Steve GM said...

You saved me a trip to the Toyota dealer. It was horizontal like you said. I used WD 40 and jiggled it and bam, it flipped back and the trunk opened. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I have a 1996 Camry LE - my key broke in the lock and it has now locked with the lock in the horizontal position. The trunk will not open from the lever under the driver seat. Any thoughts besides calling a locksmith? Is there a way to crawl inside the trunk and open it from the inside? Any help will be much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Thanks I had no clue there was a valet mode. My key hole was indeed horizontal for some reason, plus it was stuck. I used wd-40 on the lock and the key and it unjammed after a few tries. (Corolla 2004)

Anonymous said...

Another big Thank You!

Matthew Trujillo said...

What if my trunk on my 2009 Camry does not shut?

Matthew Trujillo said...

Help please

Ananth said...

Thanks, Jason. From misery to relief, what a difference Knowledge can make!

Grant said...

Jalil said...
Hi every one ,my trunk doesn't lock.it'is open all time .Any ideas .Thank you

If the trunk won't latch I would suspect the tiny latch spring has broken or more likely come unhooked maybe by arguing with a bunjee cord as in my case. If the car is older the best bet is to visit a junk yard as I did and find a replacement. If the car is new enough you may be able to order the entire latch assembly for $60+ but unlikely just the spring which can't be worth more than 50 cents.

Anonymous said...

I worked !! It took 2 keys and 30 seconds of jiggling and it turned to the vertical position. Awesome! Thank you so much !

Anonymous said...

Also works on a 2006 Corolla. Don't waste your time or effort on AAA or a locksmith either, they had zero idea on how to fix it. This post saved us a ton of headache.