Why Won’t Highlander’s Back Door Won’t Close

Toyota Highlander is a popular midsize SUV. But like any other vehicle it has some common problems and the rear door won’t close issue is one of them.

Generally, owners plan their weekend gateways around their favorite SUV. They load their bags and other necessities into the SUV.

But what if, at the last second, they attempt to shut Highlander’s rear door and it remains open?

It is a very frustrating moment. If you are facing this problem, don’t worry; I have got your back.

Resetting the back door is an easy way to fix the problem. To reset Highlander’s back door, press and hold the Highlander rear door close button for over 10-12 seconds. When you hear a beep or click sound several times, it will reset the rear door.

In most cases, resetting will solve the issue. But if the back door is still not closed, you should go for other methods.

In this article, I have discussed and provided a clear overview of the causes and solutions to Toyota Highlander’s back door issues.

What is Toyota Power Back Door

Toyota offers different types of SUVs. The SUVs have a rear door option that can open and you can store necessary items such as groceries, bags, etc.

The power back door means it can open and close automatically. The door is widely known as a power tailgate or power liftgate.

This is a very useful hand-free option that allows you to open and close the power liftgate when your hands are full of luggage, groceries, or children.

Liftgate can be opened by key fob, button, rear emblem, or kick sensor, depending on the model and trims.

The Power liftgate works with a combination of sensors, a motor, connecting wires, etc.

If any of its related parts malfunction, the power liftgate fails to work properly.

5 Reasons Why the Back Door of a Toyota Highlander Won’t Close

Sensor malfunction, misaligned or worn out latch, switch malfunction, wiring issues, and software glitches are the 5 main reasons that cause Toyota Highlander’s back door not to close.

Some problems are easy to solve, while others require professional fixes. Occasionally, we fail to notice that a basic key fob’s low battery can also cause the issue. So it is necessary to list simple to difficult problems that are causing Highlander’s back door to not close problem.

I have talked about 5 reasons why the door won’t open or close elaborately.

1. Sensor Malfunction

Highlander has a small sensor that controls the movement of the rear liftgate.

The sensor also ensures the user’s safety. It is located beneath the trunk door.

The door doesn’t open or close if the sensor detects anything in the liftgate’s path.

This is specifically designed to protect users, children’s fingers or body parts, pets, useful objects, and the rear door from scratches.

But over time, dirt accumulates on the door path and the sensor assumes it as an obstacle and stops the door from closing or opening.

If dirt is the cause, you can easily fix it. Just clean up the dirt that accumulates on the door path with a clean cloth and the problem will be resolved.

In rare cases, the sensor starts malfunctioning. If the sensor is faulty, you need to replace the sensor.

Hire an auto mechanic to replace the faulty sensor and adjust everything correctly.

2. Misalign or Worn-Out Latch

If the rear liftgate does not close, try to close it manually. The door should close smoothly if the automatic mechanism is problematic.

Otherwise, you will face some difficulties while closing the liftgate manually.

This mainly occurs when the liftgate is misaligned or the latch is worn out.

The rear liftgate latch wears out quickly if someone opens or closes it a lot.

Check visually for signs of wear. If the latch wears out or misaligns, take your vehicle to a mechanic for proper solutions.

3. Switch Malfunction

Highlanders come with a button switch that can be used for operating the liftgate.

In a Highlander, the switch is located on the left side of the glove box.

If the switch starts malfunctioning, the rear liftgate cannot work properly.

This may be a reason for the door not closing automatically. Repairing the faulty liftgate switch is not an easy task.

You should take your Highlander to a mechanical shop to have it repaired.

4. Wiring Issues

Sometimes, the power liftgate malfunctions because of loose wiring.

Any faults in the wires cause intermittent power supply failure.

Therefore, the power liftgate functions for a few minutes and then stops functioning.

Inspect the power back door wiring properly.

If there are any loose or damaged wiring connections, fix them or consult with an auto mechanic.

5. Software Glitch

Software glitch is a rare case but cannot be ignored.

Power liftgate’s unexpected behavior is also caused by a software glitch with the Electric Control Unit (ECU).

So, always keep your vehicle’s software up to date.

How to Adjust the Height of the Power Liftgate from the Door

This is the easy way to adjust the power liftgate from the door. You can adjust the height manually.

Just open the back door and stop it at your comfortable height. Then press and hold the power liftgate close button.

You will hear one, two, and three beeps. This means the setting is memorized by the system, which means your height adjustment has become successful.

Power Liftgate Maintenance Tips

Follow these 4 maintenance tips to keep the power liftgate in working condition and avoid any issues:

  • Regularly clean the power liftgate and remove dirt, debris, and grease.
  • During cleaning, inspect the hinges and rollers properly.
  • Always keep the tracks dry.
  • Use silicone lubricants to lubricate power liftgate and moving parts. It will prevent rust and ensure smoothness.


‘Toyota Highlander power back door won’t close’ is a common problem in many models. The good news is that we can easily fix it. Generally, it costs less than $100 if the problem is simple.

But if the liftgate or its motor is problematic, it requires $600 to $700 to fix the liftgate or replace the motor. So, always maintain your vehicle properly to avoid problems Regular maintenance also prevents problems from getting severe.

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