Help Needed with Short person and 2019 Chevy Trax AWD lift hatch


My mom’s car is great, but she is short. We need to make the lift hatch more accessible. Options being considered are installing a hitch and just using that for a hitch step and bumper protection. I think she needs only about 3-4 more inches.

Another option I am wondering about is install shorter lift support struts. I’ve been told it is possible but would require some trial and error.

Another option would be to rig a cord or wire to rope form the base to the top to prevent it from going to high using the original lift struts.

I have to believe others have had to deal with this.

I would say talk to the dealer first as this vehicle is under warranty . You just want to make sure you don’t void the coverage on the rear hatch. It might not matter but it is better to know before modifying the hatch. The dealer might even have a solution .

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Thank you. I have been in contact with the dealer. I’ve asked the salesman to check with the parts and service department. He told me he is asking around.

The folks at AutoZone told me it is possible. I have asked the dealer for the exact specs on the lift supports.

I know you can order and install trailer hitches for the 2019 Trax and add a step, but I would like the option of new lift struts or a modification of some kind.

What about a wooden box to stand on? You can do that almost immediately and it’s low cost. She can stop the box in the rear seat area on the floor.

Yes, I suggested it, but she is opposed to it. We tried a suction cup and latch, but the suction cup didn’t hold up and she does not like that. Thanks for the suggestion. My mom is very picky and against the box for some reason. She’s always been conscientious about her height and doesn’t want people to see her standing on a box. Thanks again.

The box would really be annoying to get out of vehicle and put back every time .

I think you talk to the parts and service department yourself as the sales person really has no incentive to solve this .

I did a Google thingy and there is a power lift gate system for this Trax . It is about 1000.00 and has a remote.

Thanks. The guy at the parts department just looked it up on a commuter and said there’s nothing he can do. He says only two types of lifts are available for the 2019 Trax. I asked if other GM parts lifts can be used. The salesmen is a decent guy and this is not a big town so he has some incentive.

Yes I’ve seen it. It is a last resort though. I really want the hitch step or modify the lift struts.

OK, I have one more thought than I am out of ideas . Find a custom vehicle shop and see if they can fabricate some kind of handle than she can reach but will not hit the bumper cover when closed.

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Can a rope or strap be attached to the inside of the hatch? It’ll hang down when the hatch is opened. When closing the hatch she can flip it inside just before she closes it completely.


The issue with the strap is the plastic isn’t strong enough for repeated use unless it’s bolted into the metal. That is an option though. Thanks. Hope to get more ideas from you all.

One thing you can bet will happen if a step is added to a hitch is that you and others are going to bang the shins into at some point; or many points.

One problem with shorter struts is that a few inches off the original struts could mean the bottom of the lift gate will be much lower than a couple of inches. Instead of shins then it’s forehead banging into it every time she leans inside.

I tend to think shanonia’s suggestion about a rope attached to the inside would be the easiest and cheapest way to go.

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My mother in law was just under 5’ tall, she put a pull strap on the hatch, easy to reach and use. She did have to swing it into the car when closing but was easy enough. If you look around you will find something strong enough fasten it to.

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The hatch door often has a hand hold on the bottom. If the Trax does, you might get a dowel and attach a hook to one end that mimics a hand to bring the hatch a few inches down, then she can use her hand to finish closing the hatch. It’s cheap to try, and won’t be a big deal if it doesn’t work.

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As others have wisely suggested, just create a “tether” of some kind which will dangle below the bottom of the gate: rope has been mentioned but I would prefer some woven webbing material rather than actual rope because webbing is smoother to grab than any rope I’ve seen. Ideally it would be attached to whatever handle is on the low end of the gate intended for pulling the gate down. But as someone also mentioned, that would require tossing the tether inside before fully closing the gate, which might be a bit of a gymnastic move; do-able but annoying.

I have two refinements to the tether idea. First, and I don’t like this very much but it would be simplest, is to attach one end to the tailgate inside pull down handle, and the other to something on the interior such as seat frame, or whatever is there. Adjust the length to keep the gate from rising to its full height, low enough that your mom can reach the handle.

What I visualize though is a SHORT webbing strap attached securely to the tailgate handle, just long enough for mom to reach comfortably, with a bungee cord attached to the free end and that anchored somewhere inside. If you calibrate the length just right, and pick the right anchor point inside, the bungee will stretch when the gate rises, and then pull the webbing away from the bottom of the door sill when she closes the gate. If you use ordinary bungees, be sure to squeeze the hooks closed with pliers so that they remain attached. Good hardware and building supply stores will sell webbing and “shock cord” in bulk. Then, learn how to tie a “two half hitches” knot, and use that to make the connections.

Two half hitches knot

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Thank you for your suggestions. My mom created a hook with some rubber tie downs that she swings into the recessed handle in the lift gate… I haven’t see what she did, but she claims it is fine. She uses that to grab the recessed tailgate handle. My preference would be a hitch step or short struts, but she has told me that she is fine with the hook and handle. I am going to the dollar store to find something that can also serve as a hook to grab the recessed handle like a big spoon or something.

I am going to keep researching this. She is too cheap to get a hitch step and too cheap for me to do a less than 100 dollar job for shorter struts. What’s frustrating is that I can do a fix that for anywhere between 100 to 300 dollars but she is too cheap. LOL.

I appreciate your help and if you can think of anything else please post it here. I will provide updates.

That is what my mom did sort of–she used a rubber tie down of some kind . I would prefer something stronger like you suggested. Thanks for you help.

Agree with the use of webbing strap I would use a dog leash as it has built in loop to grab on to.

I think she’s better off without the hitch step, I’d worry about falls and slips.