How To Open a Toyota Sienna Rear Door from Inside: Explained

The “how to open a Toyota Sienna rear door from inside?” question has crossed many people’s minds. If your battery is dead, fold the passenger seat and pull out the plastic cover above the rear-view mirror to expose the emergency trunk release button.

Opening Toyota Sienna Rear Door from Inside

We have discussed the details below, including two other easy methods you might have yet to consider. Also, we will tell you how to troubleshoot a stuck Sienna trunk.

How To Unlock Your Toyota Sienna Back Door From the Inside?

To unlock your Toyota Sienna back door from the inside, use the controls on the driver’s door. If that doesn’t work, ensure the PWR DOOR OFF button on the center console isn’t engaged. You can also use the trunk’s emergency side and rear door lock/unlock buttons.

The Toyota Sienna is a great minivan with excellent features for everyday driving. Its rear door (rear hatch or tailgate) offers access to the cargo area and third-row seats. Sometimes, the usual methods of opening the trunk can fail. That could result from many things, such as a dead battery or a failing trunk latch, as discussed in this guide.

You’ll have to do it from inside the vehicle when you can’t open the rear door normally. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of that. It’s understandable, though, because a rear door opening issue can occur once in a lifetime. To ensure you don’t struggle, learn “how to open the Toyota Sienna door from the inside” in the details below.

  • Use the Controls on Driver’s Door

It’s the easiest way to unlock the rear door from inside your vehicle. These controls are powered electrically. That means they won’t help if you want to discover how to open Toyota Sienna trunk with dead battery.

Using Controls on Driver_s Door

So, try the next alternative if the controls don’t work for you.

  • Disengage the Trunk Button

Most modern vehicles have a trunk release lever on the dashboard near the driver’s left knee. But the Sienna doesn’t have this lever. The vehicle has a trunk button available on model years 2011 and newer.

You’ll find this button on the overhead console, under the steering wheel. The button has the label “PWR DOOR OFF” beside it. If the button is engaged, it will automatically keep you from opening the power sliding doors and the tailgate. So, disengage it and then try to open your Toyota Sienna trunk.

  • Open the Door from the Passenger Compartment

Another way to unlock a Toyota Sienna rear door that won’t open normally is through the internal emergency door handle. Many people, including long-time owners, don’t know that such a feature exists as it’s hidden. The manufacturer puts it there essentially for safety.

It will help you open the rear door of your Sienna from the passenger area when it doesn’t open from the outside. You must climb into the car and fold the back seat to access the handle. At the trunk, just above the rear-view mirror, you’ll see a plastic cover you must pull out.

Opening Rear Door from Passenger Compartment

Once the cover is out, you’ll see a lever designed to open or lock your Toyota Sienna sliding doors and the tailgate (trunk/rear door). Press the button to engage a mechanism that opens the doors. You may need to press the button repeatedly before the doors open. There’s a safety feature that would prevent the door from opening on the first press of the button.

The feature helps to prevent the trunk from opening if you’ve unknowingly engaged the door locks. Ensure you put the handle back in position once you open the trunk. Leaving it in an open position may prevent the trunk from locking.

Take note that you can perform a Toyota Sienna liftgate reset, which helps to adjust the height of the trunk once open. You can do that by pressing and holding the close-button until you hear 4 beeps. You’ll then continue holding the button until the beeps go off again. After that, close the trunk and the next time it will open to the highest height possible.

How To Troubleshoot a Stuck Toyota Sienna Rear Door?

To troubleshoot a stuck Toyota Sienna rear door, examine the battery to ensure it’s in good condition. You should also check if the trunk latch is broken or stuck, preventing the door from opening. Ensure the rear door actuator works fine and there are no broken wires.

If your rear door is stuck, you can’t open it from the inside or outside. That sucks. Let’s take you through the details of how to diagnose and fix the problem.

  • Examine the Battery

Examining the battery applies if you can open the rear door from outside, but the power locks won’t work. Note that the electric locks rely on the battery. The system will present issues if the locking/unlocking doesn’t receive enough voltage.

Examine Battery to Solve Stuck Toyota Sienna Rear Door

Find a voltmeter to check the battery’s output voltage. If it reads below 12.6V, then it could be causing the doors not to open. You can try recharging it and see if the problem gets fixed. It may require a replacement if you have yet to do so for more than three years.

  • Is the Trunk Latch Broken?

Another possible cause of the problem is if the trunk latch is damaged. The latch is what enables the trunk to close and open. It operates like the latch in the side door or seatbelt.

There’s usually a connecting unit on the door and the car’s frame. When you close the tailgate, the two pieces latch together and seal the door securely. But when you open the trunk, this latch should release and allow it to unlock.

If the latch is broken while the door is closed, it will likely refuse to release. That can result from the car absorbing impact around the trunk or anything, such as leaves stuck there. When you have a Toyota Sienna trunk latch stuck issue, you’ll often hear the unlock sound, but the door won’t unlock.

The latch malfunctioning is a common issue on Sienna, especially for the sliding doors. In fact, the company hasn’t made any “Toyota Sienna rear door latch recall” so far. Check with your dealer if your vehicle is still under warranty for a Toyota Sienna back door latch repair.

  • Do You Have a Malfunctioning Lock Actuator/Sensor?

The lock actuator or sensor controls the locking and unlocking of your trunk electronically. It’s typically a small motor with gears that shift when you lock the door and prevent the latch from releasing it. Like any electronic, this motor can malfunction or die.

Malfunctioning Car Lock Actuator

If that happens, the trunk latch won’t lock or unlock the door electronically. You may also find yourself in a situation where the “Toyota Sienna back door won’t close automatically”. You can also engage and disengage the PWR DOOR OFF button. If the mechanism works on the sliding side doors but not the rear, you’ll know it’s your Toyota Sienna back door sensor to blame.

  • Check if There’s a Wiring Issue

The wiring harness (inside the door panel) that connects the trunk lock may be because of shocks or by force. When that occurs, the trunk release handle on the outside won’t respond. It may also trigger problems with the rear lights, which share the same wiring harness.

So, check if you have these two issues concurrently. If you do and the bulbs aren’t burnt, there’s a possibility that the rear door being stuck results from an electrical failure.

Fixing some of these problems can be challenging for a DIYer. Therefore, you should seek the help of a local locksmith or a mechanic. The cost of fixing a stuck trunk door (professionally) can be as high as $90, depending on your location.


Our guide above helped you discover how to open Toyota Sienna door from inside.

Before we leave, here’s a summary:

  • There are three ways to open your Sienna’s rear door from inside
  • You can do it using the power controls on the driver’s door
  • If the controls on the driver’s door don’t work, check that you’ve not engaged the PWR DOOR OFF button on the center console by mistake.
  • You can also use the emergency release handle in the trunk, which is handy if you have a dead battery.

You now got all the information you need to open your Sienna’s back door from the inside like a pro. Well, go ahead and do it!

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