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How to Lock Toyota Tacoma Tailgate: Step by Step Guide

How to Lock Toyota Tacoma Tailgate: Step by Step Guide

If you own a Toyota Tacoma, you may have noticed that the tailgate doesn’t lock and unlock the way you might expect. This is an issue that has affected countless owners and caused no small amount of frustration. Knowing how to lock your Toyota Tacoma’s tailgate is crucial, not just for everyday use, but to prevent serious inconveniences as well, theft of valuable items stored in the truck bed.

You can lock a Toyota Tacoma tailgate by using the designated key (not the same key used for the ignition and doors), by using the designated key fob (if you have the keyless entry system on your Tacoma), or by using the buttons inside the driver door.

In this article, we will walk you step by step through the process of locking and unlocking your Toyota Tacoma’s tailgate using the three methods listed above. As you read, you will also learn how to ensure that your tailgate is theft-proof.

Locking and Unlocking a Toyota Tacoma Tailgate

Most vehicle owners are used to the buttons on their key fob being universal, so they are understandably confused when they realize this isn’t the case for their Toyota Tacoma. Luckily, the solution is simple.

The tailgate on a Toyota Tacoma can be locked and unlocked in one of three ways:

  • Designated key
  • Designated key fob/remote
  • Lock/unlock buttons found on the driver’s side door

It is also common for owners to install their own power lock to the tailgate for improved security and convenience.

The two primary methods for locking and unlocking your Toyota Tacoma’s tailgate will require the tailgate’s designated key or key fob. This is not the same key or key fob that is regularly used for the vehicles ignition and door locks.

If your vehicle did not come a tailgate-designated key/key fob, you will need to contact your local Toyota dealer or locksmith for assistance in obtaining one.

With this, you can lock/unlock your tailgate using one of two methods. If you don’t have the tailgate designated key/key fob on hand, there is one alternative.

Designated Key

This is the simplest and most popular method for locking/unlocking your tailgate. Every Toyota Tacoma owner should receive two keys/key fobs: one fore their tailgate and one for the rest of the vehicle.

Place the tailgate-designated key into the tailgate’s lock. Turn it fully to the left to lock the tailgate or fully to the right to unlock it (if the key does not fit, you might be using the one designated to the rest of the vehicle).

If have a key fob instead of a singular key for your Toyota Tacoma tailgate, then the key is stored inside the fob. To remove it, press the small release button on the side of the fob and slide out the key.

Here’s a video showing how to use the key and remote for the tailgate on a Tacoma:

Check out the most popular Tacoma Accessories Here from Amazon

Designated Key Fob/ Remote

While using the tailgate’s designated key is the most reliable method for locking/unlocking it, most people will opt for the more convenient option of the key fob/remote.

This feature is available if you have a keyless entry system in your Toyota Tacoma. To lock or unlock the tailgate, press the appropriate button on your key fob. The lock button should work with one press, but the unlock button will require two.

  • Should you find that the remote does not work correctly, try replacing the battery or reprogramming the key fob.
  • If you’ve had this key fob for a while and can see significant signs of wear, then you might need to replace the buttons or components underneath.
  • This can usually be done by at an automotive store like AutoZone or Advance Auto Parts.

After you’ve troubleshot all of these options and confirmed that you’re using the right key fob without results, contact your local Toyota dealer or locksmith for assistance.

You can also contact a local Toyota dealer to purchase a key fob for your Toyota Tacoma in the event that you’ve lost yours or purchased this vehicle from someone and the key fob was not provided.

Driver’s Side Door Lock

In the event that you either lost or never received a designated key/key fob for your tailgate, you should be able to lock/unlock it using the appropriate buttons located on the inside of your driver’s side door.

Again, locking should only take one push of the lock button, whereas unlocking the tailgate will require two presses of the unlock button (pushing it once unlocks your Tacoma’s doors, and the second unlocks the tailgate).

How Can We Prevent Tacoma Tailgate Theft?

Too many truck owners have lost hundreds of dollars’ worth of cargo, tools, and other valuable items due to an insecure tailgate. While locking your Toyota Tacoma’s tailgate using the methods listed above is a great start, there are additional steps you can take to increase your tailgate’s security.

One of the most common steps Toyota Tacoma and other truck owners will take is to install additional tailgate locks and alarm systems to effectively deter robbers.

Simple and cost-efficient locks, like the Hose Clamp Found Here (link to Amazon), can be installed on your tailgate’s hinges. This will prevent thieves from removing and stealing your tailgate door as well as any items you’ve stored inside the truck bed.

If the specialized lock is more than you’re willing to spend, radiator/hose clamps provide identical results for a fraction of the cost. The only difference here is that they’re a little less sturdy than the aforementioned lock and don’t come with additional safety features.

Our last tip for preventing tailgate theft is to be conscious of where and how you park your Toyota Tacoma. Try to park with your tailgate against a fence, wall, tree or any other large and sturdy object to impede access to the tailgate and prevent the door from opening fully.

Check out the most popular Tacoma Accessories Here from Amazon

Final Thoughts

Locking and unlocking your Toyota Tacoma might be confusing at first, but once you know what key/key fob is designed for the tailgate and how to use them, the process becomes second nature.

Remember that locking your tailgate is the primary safety measure to take against thieves, but there are additional steps you can take to keep your tailgate and stored items safe.

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