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Can't open trunk

My 18 year old son has a 1988 Totota Camry LX, it has a trunk release lever on the drivers side floor. This no longer works and it seems this cable has broke or is dis-engaged somehow. Key will not open the trunk lock and cannot get into trunk from back seat as the security latches that release the back seat fold down feature are secured within the trunk campartment. I looked under the car chassis on the drivers side to see where the trunk release cable is located but it seems this cable runs under the carpet or floor of the car. I do not want to cause any needless damage and desparately need to get into the trunk. I bought a Chilton manual but there’s no information in that book. Any usefull information and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

The key is the default openner of the trunk. If the key is not working, something in the trunk latch mechanism is faulty. Does the key turn in the trunk lock? Remember one resting position of the trunk key lock disables the inside unlock.

HOw long has the key not been working?

The key does turn in trunk lock and I do feel some resistance like it was trying to catch but seems it doesn’t trip the latch mechanism. I tried pushing down on trunk lid AND pulling up on it liitle when turning the key but to no avail. The release lever on floor of drivers side is flipped up and won’t stay down in it’s natural position, when I pull the lever I feel no resistance on the cable
that’s why I think the cable has broken or dis-engaged from the trunk latch somehow.

I know I can trash the trunk lock with a screwdriver or drill it out… still feel that’s the last resort though

You might call a locksmith and see if they know how to handle this without damaging the car. It might be best to drill out the lock if it can’t be opened any other way. The lock mechanism should not be that expensive.

Before you call a locksmith or drill the lock - try squirting some lubricant like WD-40 or CRC-56 into the lock mechanism - sounds like something is binding up in the lock - the lube may be just enough to get it open.

No, no, no. If you read his statement “no resistance on latch,” that says no drilling or locksmith will suffice. Its a MECHANISM problem that the lock is detached from (key wont work). Therefore it stands to reason that boring a 1" dia. hole will do little but perhaps let you view the broken mechanism. Seek first any advise from the DEALER. If the mechanics wont give you free advice, the Dealer Parts Dept. usually will. They may tell you a common part has worn out, etc. They will usually tell you well known, symptomatic problems with various vehicles based on mechanics requesting related parts, hence free advice.

If all else fails this is what I would do:

  1. Strip out with a heavy wire stripper or utility knife the plastic sheath on the wire, right where it goes into the trunk section. Strip off about 1-2 inches. Then with pliers, hand pull that section. If it was broken near the pull lever, then this will intercept that break. If that fails,
  2. Youll have to get real mean. This may mean tearing out the seat backrest as methodically as permissible. Then with a drill and a jigsaw or reciprocating saw, cut out three sides of a 1-foot square section of the panel to the trunk area. Inspect the lock with a flashlight and coat hangar or other metal to force the lock from the inside, or otherwise pull on any attached cables therein.

One of these many suggestions should get you further along than drilling locks or locksmith. Finally once you have determined the cause(s) of the problem, take action(s) that prevent it from ever happening again. Good luck!

I figured out the hard way that you CAN get into the trunk of any car by removing the back seat entirely. Or, you can remove the seat back just far enough to be able to reach an arm and standard screwdriver into the backside of the lock assembly. The back side of the lock assembly will have a notch in it just big enough to slip a standard screwdriver into and turn to open as if you have a key.

Did YOU read his statement? the cable is inacessable and cutting a big hole probably constitutes “needless damage”. How are things under that shade tree?

If the key is turning, even a locksmith would have to “punch” the lock. They can do this without damage to the deck lid. Sometimes it’s better to pay a pro.

Concerning the trunk/deck lid, in this case, I will quote a famous philosopher Moses Horowitz. Well, I think I’ll have to blast! (Thats Moe Howard of the 3 stooges)

I believe that you should be able to access your trunk through the back seat area. Remove the bottom seat first then there should be two bolts at the bottom of the back. May have to buy a Torx head socket to fit the bolts if they’re not hex head. Remove them then pull up and I think it will remove the whole back assembly. As to cutting holes if you do it is usely a thin cardboard like material. I’m not familar with your car but most of the back seats that I’ve remove were like this. As to your question “How are things under that shade tree?” It’s doing great been one for several years! I can do about anything on most domestic and foreign cars. How many of the Auto Tech trained people can say this? Have a good day!