Busted trunk lock



I drive a 1989 Ford Taurus SE. In a fit of stupidity, I jammed a toothpick into the keyhole of the trunk. The toothpick broke off and I couldn’t get it out. Then, I thought I could ram the key in there to break up the toothpick and open the trunk. No such luck! The key just broke off in the lock.

On the plus side, the trunk key is separate from the ignition key. Then I’d REALLY be screwed.

Any idea where I can take this to get it fixed? Will a standard auto shop be able to do it, or should I go looking for locksmiths? That keyhole is the only way to open the trunk, there isn’t any sort of lever or button that pops it open.


See if you can pull down the rear seatback and access the trunk. If you can, there should be a lever that you can pull to open the lid from the inside. That’s required on all cars so that kids etc. can’t get locked in trunks.

If not, you’ll need to bore out the lock. You now have a key end wedged in with a toothpick and I doubt of anybody can extract that.


Toothpicks are for pickin’ teeth not locks. yuk yuk.


Bore out the lock? You mean, like play an endless loop of Car Talk for a week in front of the lock? Okay, but I don’t see how that’s going to get my trunk open.

I know about pull-down back seats, and the trunk releases; my mother’s got a Neon that does that, and my old Saturn ION could do that too. But the Taurus is an older car and has none of those.

I wouldn’t have any problems getting the lock out and replacing it, as long as I can find someone competent enough to do that. But do you folks think any old mechanic would be able to do that? Or should I find a locksmith’s shop? I guess it’d be smarter for me to ask around at actual area businesses.


if you cant (or dont want to) pay a locksmith, then getting into the trunk and unlocking it is the remedy.

isn’t the rear seat back removable? i believe that you CAN unclip the back seat bottom, then the seat back unclips too.

you should be able to find a new lock at a junk yard (make sure they give you the trunk key with it). they may make you buy a whole trunk deck lid though. but you only need the lock tumbler.

you could check with ford and see if they will sell you one too, just to check the price to compare with the junkyard cost.


Are we that bad?

Actually, I meant standing on back of the lock with a good drill with a cobalt bit and a Sam Adams and boring a hole. It’s nasty work, but once the cylinder comes out you’ll be able to open the trunk and remove the rest.


If you can get the remnants of the key out, I have a probably very bad suggestion that might be worth a try if your only other option is to trash the thing chiselling and drilling into it. You could try using a small butane lighter to actually burn away the remnants of the toothpick. I’d guess this will eventually ruin the lock, but if the pieces do burn away, the lock might have one or two opens left, which you can then use to replace it. Have a fire-extinguisher handy!

Once I had an '88 Taurus that my friend who gave it to me had managed to lose every single key for. Luckilly this was an MT5 submodel, which had a manual transmission all the SHO luxury features, but a dinky 4-cyl engine, and so it had the little trunk release up front, although that needed a key so I had to break it open to pull the little cable. This car doesn’t have the actual “escape lever” in the trunk, but it does have the slot where the lock engages the latch, which if you can get in the trunk you can turn with a flat bladed screwdriver.


A locksmith, for a fee, will straighten your mess out…

Or you can drive a stout square shank screw-driver into the lock (try not to bend the trunk metal) and twist it with a wrench to open the trunk. Then you can remove the entire lock from the inside and replace it. Trunk and door locks are nowhere near as stout as ignition locks and they usually “pop” pretty easy…