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How to Open Tonneau Cover When the Tailgate Won’t Open? 

One of the most frequent problems that Truck owners might face is when our Tailgate gets stuck and leads to a locked Tonneau Cover. 

I identified that carrying heavy items or merchandise on the bed of my pickup truck is one of the main causes of the truck’s tailgate jamming. And that locks the Tonneau Cover as well. 

So, how to open a tonneau cover when the tailgate won’t open? Luckily, I have been able to find some easy yet effective methods for solving this problem. 

We’ll detail the entire process here. So, keep reading.


How to Open Tonneau Cover When the Tailgate Is Stuck? 

We have already established that heavy load is one of the main reasons for a jamming tailgate.

However, when you are unable to open a tailgate but still need access to the tonneau cover, you need to get crafty and slip something under the cover to pry it open.

If those tricks don’t work, you might need to take your truck to the dealership or manufacturer to figure it out.

Unfortunately, in many cases, you might even need to get rid of the tonneau cover altogether and get a replacement! 

Tools Needed: 

  • Flat-Tipped Screwdriver
  • Tape
  • Solder or Coat Hanger 

The Step-by-Step Process:

The entire process is all about being crafty with some simple tools. And with a little prodding, you will eventually be able to open the tonneau cover. Let’s dive into the process!

Step 1: Lift The cover

The first step requires you to lift the tonneau enough to slide or insert a flat-tipped screwdriver underneath the cover.

However, before sliding it in, to avoid any scratches or nicks, I usually wrap the screwdriver in tape first. 

Step 2: Hook The Ends

Next, take some thick solder and twist its ends into a hook. Make sure to create the hook small yet sturdy enough so that it doesn’t lose its shape when tugged. 

Alternatively, you can also use a coat hanger that is bent at the end if you don’t have any solder in hand.          

Step 3: Connect the Cables

The screwdriver, in this case, will provide sufficient room for the solder or the coat hanger to glide in. 

I usually aim for 12-inch in from the passenger side edge of the tailgate to hook and snag the cable of the tonneau cover and open it. To make pinpointing the cord easier, you can use a flashlight.  

Usually, it takes me a couple of tries and, on average, 10 to 15 minutes to get it open. But it can be time-consuming and tedious.

However, this is the most convenient solution to get the tonneau cover open when the tailgate won’t.


Can You Open Tailgate With Tonneau Cover?

In cases of a jammed tailgate, no matter what the cause is, an alternative option is to manually open the tonneau cover to get to the tailgate.

To open it manually, raise the cover by unlocking the latches. 

Then, restore the latches and the entire tonneau cover after replacing the handle. However, this method is quite exhausting and requires time. Also, it is not always the preferable option.


How To Open a Tailgate With a Broken Handle?

Opening a tailgate is undoubtedly tough when the latch is damaged. Fixing it is the best course of action to restore proper functionality. 

If there is no chance to fix it, you can always solve the issue by taking the hooks out one by one and replacing them. 

Even though removing the clips and hooks and replacing them can get the job done, however, the procedure is still strenuous, tedious as well as difficult.

But it can provide a chance to act in situations where there are no other options.


Fixing a Broken Tailgate

There are mainly two ways in which a defective tailgate can be fixed. The first course of action is to inspect the problem area while keeping the tailgate on the truck. 

However, if that’s not working, opt for a replacement by professionals, even though it can be quite expensive.

The majority of the time, it’s quite easy to locate the issues and effectively resolve them without professional assistance. 

Identify the Problem With the Tailgate: To start, thoroughly examine the problematic area of the tailgate to see what is causing the issue.

Check if it is caused by a particular part or component that has to be fixed or replaced.

Removing Parts: Once the problem has been identified and if any of the components need a replacement, go to the hardware store.

To make sure you obtain the correct replacement parts, always take the removed parts with you to the store. 

However, in most cases, defective parts can still be used when lubricated or tuned properly. So, before you go to the store, be very sure that the part needs replacing. 

Replacing Components: After acquiring the replacement parts of the tailgate, install them properly while ensuring they are operating as intended.


Photo of author

Kevin Shaw

Editor-in-Chief at F150Lab

Kevin Shaw has a vast knowledge of pickup trucks, especially the Ford F150. He has been doing various DIY fixes, upgrades, and modifications to pickup trucks for more than five years now.

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