Trunk security improvement

“Back in the day”, i.e., the 1990s and 2000s, the trunk was a safe place to keep valuables because it had a mechanical lock that could be turned to the left to disable the interior trunk latch release lever. The folding rear seats had a lock accessible only from within the trunk. And hatchbacks had a relatively substantial cargo area cover that would require a noisy cutting tool to get through it. Simply put, you couldn’t get to the stuff in the trunk without the key or without a lot of force.

Now every car has an electric latch for the trunk/lid so all it takes to access it is to break a side window, click the door unlock button, and open the latch at the back of the car. And for a hatchback, even if the trunk latch were disabled by a discreet switch, stuff in the trunk can be accessed just by reaching over the rear seats.

Does the typical consumer just not care about this large decline in trunk security? What ideas do you have to deter theft without sacrificing the cargo area? I do realize that keeping things out of sight with a cover is 90%+ of the solution. It would be nice to have a 100% solution like what’s available in my old Corolla sedan, but all I have been able to do so far is make a custom cargo tray that conceals the trunk area of my newer Scion hatchback.

Re-evaluating security procedures. When out and about we tried locking the wife’s purse in the hatch. It had her key in it and mine in my pocket. No go. Computer wouldn’t allow locking a key in the car. What’s a guy to do. Guess it doesn’t matter anyway if all they have to do is break a window. If your wear cargo pants you can put booths keys in your pocket and zip the pocket up. Or maybe just a back pack to carry everything, or carry a purse too. I dunno.

On my Pontiac I had my spare key in the trunk, figuring I’d just call Onstar to open it, until Onstar went south. So just back to hiding a door key like 40 years ago. Computers, huh.

On to garage door openers. I refuse to put it on the network or put it on my phone, or pay for coffee with my phone. I’ve always been a contrarian and served me well.

Did you check if your wife’s fob can be turned off? On my car (a Lexus GS), that’s what you do in this situation.

Most people driving new cars drive SUVs and they don’t have a trunk. None of the SUVs I rented when I worked had locking compartments, just a small area under a hatch in the floor at the back. My car has electronic locks but can’t access the controls since they are all on the LED panel.

I dont leave anything of value in the car, and i live in a safe neighborhood, so its not something i even think about.


OP makes a good point. Not only does complexity breed unreliability, it also opens security holes. It seems most car buyers these days want highly complicated functionality in their cars, and are willing to abide by the compromises; i.e. I don’t see things improving anytime soon. Keep your old Corolla on the road I guess is the best you can do.

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All of us have a way of justifying what we drive.

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If it makes you feel any better George, I can take a Rake and start your Ford Truck it in a few seconds with out any damage to anything… :wink: Opening the door is pretty easy too… And most older alarms for those are easy to bypass… Used to get vehicles from the auction with aftermarket alarms with no key fob for them, repos, you learn a lot removing alarms and how to bypass them… again that has been a while… :grin:

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I have to say that I’ve never checked the operation or security of a trunk before buying a car. You just take what you get and live with it. Same thing goes for a lot if other features.

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…or buy a modern car with common security features.

2010 Corolla has a locking trunk:

I’m not normally leaving anything valuable in there either and it’s most often parked at home in a garage or at the nuclear power plant where it’s pretty safe. But if I wanna go to the beach or store on the way home, my mind is way more at ease with my phone, computer, work badge, etc. in the double-secure trunk.

Yep, but my understanding is that Toyota switched over to the electric trunk latches after about 2012, and that feature wouldn’t be available any more.

2008 Volvo XC70 has a valet mode where the rear hatch won’t open.

Why not mount a safe or locked container back there?

No dispute. But there are different kinds of security and reliability . For example if you are inside & can’t open the doors or windows b/c of complicated door and window locks which have failed, a reliability problem. If that happens in an emergency situation, a security problem. Very little chance a malfunction would result in both door locks failing on my truck, or that I wouldn’t be able to open the windows.

When was the last time you rescued someone who couldn’t open a door?

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Your inside door handle could break… lol

Robert Gift’s inside door handle broke. There is a free repair available at the dealer but I think he installed a toilet handle instead.


In the 60’s, on return trip from ski resort saw a car going the other direction, go into a river. Submerged to 1/4 up the windows. They couldn’t open the driver’s door b/c of the force of the water moving downstream. The car was tilted slightly onto the right side, so the passenger door wouldn’t open either. I motioned to them to open the driver’s side window, which flooded the car then they could get out. Ambulance was necessary b/c it was late afternoon mid-winter, they were soaking wet & very cold.

I can’t speak to that issue with other makes, but if–for some reason–the push-to-operate electronic door lock release mechanism on my Lexus fails to operate, simply pulling on the door handle will unlock the doors mechanically. I think that your rationalizations regarding the supposed superiority of a now-antique vehicle have caused you to ignore typical modern solutions to technical problems that are used by auto mfrs.


A quick forum search shows numerous posts, the poster is not able to open the door.