Subaru Outback Rear Hatch Lock Issues and Quick Fix Solutions

Owners of Subaru Outbacks may encounter issues with the rear hatch lock at some point during their vehicle’s life. These problems can vary from electrical malfunctions, such as a solenoid failing to receive the correct signal, to physical issues where parts of the locking mechanism are broken or jammed.

The Subaru Outback rear hatch lock clicks open as the key turns, releasing the door to swing upward

We understand the frustration when the rear hatch of a Subaru Outback will not lock or unlock as expected. Owners report occurrences where the main doors continue to operate normally, but the hatch remains unresponsive. In some cases, simple solutions, such as resetting electronic mechanisms or checking fuses, can resolve the issue without the need for extensive repair. It is crucial to diagnose the problem accurately to apply the correct fix.

Efficient Keyless Entry Systems

Subaru Outback’s keyless entry system enhances convenience and security. When functioning properly, a simple tap or touch can unlock your vehicle’s doors and rear hatch. We’re here to guide you through optimizing the sensor performance and troubleshooting common issues for smooth operation.

Optimizing Sensor Performance

Proper maintenance ensures that the keyless entry sensors perform effectively. To optimize these sensors’ performance:

Regular Cleaning: Dirt or water can interfere with sensor function. A clean sensor surface can maintain its sensitivity and responsiveness.
Avoid Obstructions: Ensure that nothing blocks the line of sight between your key fob and the vehicle’s sensors.

Troubleshooting Common Keyless Entry Issues

If you’re experiencing problems with your keyless entry system, there’s a series of steps we can take to troubleshoot:

Issue Solution
Sensor Not Responding Reset the system by disconnecting the battery or checking the fuse associated with the keyless entry system.
Button or Switch Failure The remote’s battery could be low or the button itself may need replacement.
Inconsistent Operation
Listen for beeps or watch for lights to confirm signal transmission when using the key fob. If there’s no response, a reset or repair might be needed.

A regular inspection and prompt response to issues can keep the keyless entry system for the rear hatch of your Subaru Outback reliable and efficient.

The Hatch Lock Mechanism

The rear hatch lock of the Subaru Outback relies on a combination of mechanical and electronic components to function properly. These include the latch, mechanism, sensors, and in some cases, a new switch that communicates with the vehicle’s onboard systems.

Maintaining and Replacing Hatch Locks

Regular maintenance of your Subaru Outback’s hatch lock is crucial for its longevity. Over time, the mechanical elements can wear out or fail, necessitating replacement.

Steps for Maintenance:

  • Regularly inspect the hatch lock and latch for signs of wear or damage.
  • Clean the mechanism periodically to ensure smooth operation.
  • Listen for any unusual noises which could indicate a problem.

Replacing locks involves carefully removing the old mechanism and installing a new one. It’s crucial to choose the correct replacement parts that are compatible with your vehicle’s model.

Tips: Always seek professional advice or service if you are not experienced with car repairs.

Understanding Hatch Beeps and Signals

The electronic components of the hatch lock often communicate through beeps and signals, which can alert you to different statuses like whether the rear hatch is securely locked or if there is an obstacle preventing it from closing.

Signal Meaning
Single Beep Hatch has successfully locked or unlocked.
Multiple Beeps Issue with closing, such as an obstruction or malfunction.

When operational issues arise, such as the inability to unlock the rear hatch via the remote units or the driver’s door switch, these signals may become inconsistent. It’s then essential to check the sensor’s condition and wiring, as damage here could disrupt the mechanism’s ability to function correctly. Additionally, a failed actuator could prevent the hatch from locking, in which case the actuator would need replacement.

Subaru Lift Gate Operations

Subaru Outback models are equipped with a power lift gate that brings a high level of convenience, especially when our hands are full. Ensuring its proper function is key for smooth and reliable operation. If you encounter issues where the lift gate does not unlatch or open as it should, it may require a reset and calibration.

Reset and Calibration of Subaru Lift Gates

To reset the Subaru lift gate:

  1. Close the gate if it’s open.
  2. Press and hold the exterior lift gate button (usually located near the Subaru logo) for approximately 10 seconds.
  3. You should feel the mechanism reset, signifying the latch is re-locking.

After performing this reset, the lift gate should function normally, allowing it to open, close, and lock as intended. If this manual reset does not resolve the issue, the power lift gate system might require further attention.

If the lift gate still presents issues, we recommend visiting a certified Subaru dealership.

At the dealership, the specialized technicians can diagnose the issue more deeply, which may involve checking for any Subaru-specific error codes, recalibrating the lift gate mechanism, or inspecting for any mechanical problems. Their expertise ensures that each feature, including the convenient power lift gate, operates as designed, so we can unlock the full potential of our Subaru Outback.

Expert Suggestions for Hatch and Lock Maintenance

In our experience, ensuring the longevity and proper functioning of your Subaru Outback’s rear hatch lock requires regular maintenance. We recommend periodic checks and actions that can preserve the mechanism’s integrity and performance.

Preventive Measures


Periodically, we grease the hatch lock mechanism to avoid sticking or jamming. Silicone-based lubricants work best, avoiding any that might corrode electrical components.


We keep the Subaru logo, often doubling as the hatch button, free of dirt and ice buildup that can impede lock functionality.

Action Description
Visual Inspection Regularly inspect for visible signs of wear or damage.
Operational Check Test lock to ensure proper opening, closing, and securing.

Early Detection:

When issues arise, such as the hatch not locking or responding to commands, we promptly schedule a service appointment with the dealership.

Swift action can prevent more extensive repairs and security risks.

Occasional resets of the mechanism, following the manufacturer’s guidelines, keep the system functioning optimally.

For electronic issues:

If the hatch experiences electronic problems, a reset procedure typically involves holding the exterior latch button for ten seconds or, in complex cases, disconnecting the battery.

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