Unidentified car part

I had to open up the back hatch door of my 2005 Toyota Highlander because it was locked closed and I couldn’t open the lock on the door. After I opened it up I discovered a completely loose chunk of metal was blocking the lock.

This almost 21 ounce chunk of mostly metal measures about 3 1/8" long by 1 1/8" high by 1 1/4" wide “rectangular cube” with 2 broken off plastic tips found on each end, and a couple of pieces of felt glued on (for sound dampening?). No electronics at all, just solid metal with partial plastic coating and broken off end tips.

I’m not too good at posting pictures, so I am hoping someone knows what this is without pics. It seems vaguely familiar, but I don’t know what it is, or what it’s possible function could be. The only thing somewhat above the lock is the back windshield washer, but it seems to still function properly.

What the heck is this thing?

Now would be a good time to learn how to post photos… Google it, and you can go to YouTube for video instruction…

Here is a video of the rear latch being replaced. maybe you can see that part in the video. and then if you do you can tell us the time in the video and where you see it.

How to Replace Rear Hatch Door Latch 00-07 Toyota Highlander - YouTube

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Maybe something to dampen noise/vibration in the panel it was attached to.

Wild guess but if everything works now, consider it may not be related. Could it be something That was stored in the back, broke off and witted its way in the back. Interrogate family members. Check the compartments if any and the spare for missing items. At some point there will be an ah ha moment.

Something like, oh yeah I found that on the ground and threw it in thinking it might be important.


I presume you mean the back hatch door lock was stuck & wouldn’t open the back hatch door. (Not that all four doors were stuck shut and you had to crawl in the back hatch to open them). My guess, that piece of metal is the result of someone trying to knock the lock out of its housing. Perhaps someone was attempting to break in and stopped the attempt mid-stream.