How To Open Tonneau Cover When Tailgate Won’t Open? (Quick Guide)

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Written By Waylon Joe

Hey, It’s Waylon “Joe” Kite here. I am a West Virginia native and a die-hard pickup truck fan. My story with trucks started with my dad’s 1989 Ford F-150, and it's still going on. I'll share all my trucking experiences (both great and gross ones) with you. I have a garage full of tools to fix and renovate trucks and a freezer full of ales. Do you want to join me?

Carrying large cargo on a pickup truck bed can bring lots of difficulties, including preventing the tailgate from opening up.

So if you suffer from this problem, then what do you do? How to open a tonneau cover when tailgating won’t open? Luckily, there are some effective procedures you can follow.

How To Open Tonneau Cover When Tailgate Won't Open

Throughout the guide, we will discuss some easy and effective hacks so you can fix the problem and enjoy better service from the tonneau as well as the tailgate.

How To Open Tonneau Cover When Tailgate Won’t Open?

When the tailgate won’t open, first check how much load you have placed on the pickup truck’s bed. In most cases, the extreme load makes it tricky for the tailgate to open. Other steps to follow are:

Place the cargo in the proper way

The first thing you can do is place the cargo in the right way. This will help avoid any frustrating situations. Then try to place the loads rearward and the center of the truck bed so the tailgate handle doesn’t suffer from opening.

At the same time, you can add a pad on the upper surface where there is the potential to hit the cargo on the lid.

Bungee the cargo strongly

After that, bungee the cargo securely but don’t make it too tight. Bunging the cargo too tightly can hit the bottom of the lid close to its hinges and cause damage. It is especially vital if you can’t lower or raise the top while the lids stay open.

Get a Tonneau Cover retention strap from here.

Carefully bungee the cargo

While bunging the cargo, don’t bungee it too far, which makes it impossible to reach in and open the tailgate. Instead, you should leave a gap of about 6 inches between the cargo and the tailgate latch. Following the hacks will let you reach in easily and unlatch the tailgate to open it successfully.

The Way of the Tailgate Handle Work

Usually, you can operate a tailgate handle in plenty of ways. The first and easiest way is to operate it automatically through the bottom, which includes most modern vehicles.

The button is found in the key fob or the glove box in the truck. But if there is any difficulty that prevents the free movement of these parts, then you can leave a little space via an alternative route.

It will help you reach in and unlatch the tailgate handle manually to open the tailgate. That’s why it is vital to maintain a distance between the cargo and the latch to prevent such difficulty.

Read More: Can You Lock A Tonneau Cover?

The reason the tailgate gets stuck and doesn’t open initially

There are two main reasons for sticking the tailgate and preventing it from opening.

Firstly, it can happen due to a fault in the operating system as some moving parts may be blocked. For example, modern trucks operate the tailgate automatically. So, errors in the movement chain, like power cuts, broken wires, or extreme friction, can cause it to fail.

Secondly, the tailgate can be stuck due to the bad placement of cargo, which is the most common reason. Doing so interferes with the operation of the tailgate hatch and keeps it from opening. 

Some other reasons are the manual operation of the tailgates in older models, and even in modern trucks with problematic automatic operation systems.

To fix such a problem, take the truck to a qualified auto electrician and, if needed, remove the damaged object.

The Alternative Method Is To Open The Truck Bed Cover When The Tailgate Won’t Open

If the tailgate refuses to open, whatever the reason is, simply open the truck bed manually. To do so, unhook the latches and lift the cover. Then replace the handle, re-install the entire tonneau cover and latches. The only problem with this process is that it is time-consuming and a bit strenuous too.

Read also: How To Patch A Hole In A Tonneau Cover?

The impact of the tailgate on the opening of the Tonneau Covers?

The tailgate is generally used to open and close the tonneau cover. So any difficulties with the function will prevent the easier operation. Thus, it requires a proper functional tailgate to enjoy better access to both the truck bed and cargo.

The tailgate handle or latch and somewhere an automatic button are used to open and close the tailgate. If the tailgate causes any problems, this ease of operation is interrupted.

How to open a Tailgate with a Broken Latch?

A broken latch certainly presents difficulty opening the tailgate. The most preferable option is to fix the latch problem to get the proper functionality. But if there is no opportunity to fix it, you can conquer this problem by removing the hooks manually.

Though, you can remove the clips that attach the tonneau to the truck bed sliding. The process may be stressful and time-consuming, but it at least offers an opportunity to do something where there is no other option.

Read also: Bakflip Mx4 Problems

How to repair a broken tailgate on a truck?

You have two options for fixing a broken tailgate on a vehicle. Firstly, find out the problem and take action to restore it by keeping the tailgate on the truck. If it’s not possible, then you may need to remove the tailgate and ask for experts’ help. 

Another option is replacing the expensive tailgate. However, most of the time, the truck owner can identify the problems and fix them successfully without getting the aid of experts. You can follow this process to fix a broken tailgate.

Also read: How To Open Truck Bed Cover Without Key? Answered!

Identify Problem

Firstly, look at the affected area of the tailgate carefully to identify the reason for the difficulty. Be sure whether the reason is a component or part that needs to be replaced or repaired.

Remove defective Parts

If the parts need to be replaced, then remove them and take them to the hardware store. It will help you get the right fitted parts to ensure proper replacement.

Install Replacement Parts

Once you have got the right replacement parts, install them carefully and check whether they are working properly or not. However, sometimes you can use the broken parts by tuning or oiling them up. So carefully identify if the parts really need replacement or if they are repairable.

The fixing cost of a broken tailgate handle

The cost of fixing a broken tailgate relies on the amount of injure and the required solution. Replacing a certain part will cost significantly less than replacing multiple parts. In most cases, the repair cost doesn’t go over a couple of dollars, though the quality of the handle is more expensive than others. Despite that, it can be fixed by just lubricating.

Read also: Roll N Lock Bed Cover Problems And Solutions

Final words

Using a tonneau cover is beneficial in plenty of ways, including security for the loads and improving gas mileage. Although it’s a costly option, investing time in proper maintenance and placing and carrying the loads properly will ensure longer quality service.

This means if you use it the proper way, who knows you don’t need to know how to open the tonneau cover when tailgating won’t open? If you face a problem, luckily you have already known.

Read also: What Size Toolbox For Toyota Tacoma?

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