How to test a trunk lock actuator?

2005 Mazda 6 – 133,000 miles. Could anyone walk me through the steps of testing the trunk release actuator? The trunk on my wife’s car stopped opening when using the remote or pressing the trunk release button on the dashboard. The trunk opens when using the key. I’m trying to determine if the problem is the actuator or something in the wiring. I own a digital multimeter, but my electrical knowledge is pretty minimal. The most I’ve used it for is testing the battery capacity and voltage under load. I appreciate any guidance anyone can provide.

The actuator is essentially a solenoid- when voltage is applied to the solenoid coil, the actuator retracts and opens the latch. When activated, there will be 12 volts across the coil.

The simple test would be to disconnect the actuator and then put the multimeter on the wires and have someone press the trunk button while you watch the display. If power is getting to the end of the wires but the actuator isn’t working, then it’s a bad actuator.

Yeah what shadow said. Check fuses first but likely a sluggish solenoid. 2nd person or long pole to hit the switch/or I suppose the key fob would work too.

Does the mechanism work well? I had this problem with a 2009 Cobalt, and the lock needed lubrication. Now it works fine. Th S is also a cheap and easy thing to do if you haven’t done it already.

Another possibility is that the latch release is working just fine, but the trunk seal is dirty/sticky and is preventing the trunk from opening. Get close to the trunk, hit the trunk button, and listen for a click. If you hear it, try wiping down the seal.

Before testing for power to the trunk release solenoid check the position of the trunk cancel switch in the glove box.

That’s a good idea. When we first got our Aurora years ago, the trunk release wasn’t working (at least I think that was the problem). At any rate I had the factory manual and after checking lots of stuff and tearing panels apart, I noticed the valet switch in the glove box. Flipped the switch and all was well. Put everything back together and told the wife I fixed it.

Original poster here . . . thanks for all the input and recommendations. The suggestion to try the trunk cancel/valet button in the glove compartment was the winner! One push and the trunk was opening remotely again. I tried to present this to my wife as the result of hours of sweat and struggle, but I couldn’t keep a straight face. I do wonder about the value of a valet button feature when the trunk can still be opened with the ignition key, but I’m just happy to have the trunk working remotely again.

Looks like @Nevada_545 is the sharp one.