What To Do If Your Ram Tailgate Won’t Latch? See Every Possible Ways To Fix

Why Ram tailgate won’t latch? It can happen if the locking teeth of both sides get jammed for not lubricating the inside mechanism. Also, when the levers don’t spring back down while closing it, the tailgate won’t be latching. So, is there any solution?

Of course, there is. To lubricate the inside parts of the tailgate, you can make it work again. And a screwdriver would fix the lever’s problem.

However, these aren’t the only issue with the tailgate. There are so many things that come into play when your tailgate isn’t working.

Ram Tailgate Won’t Latch: 6 Reasons and Their Solutions

If your vehicle is in a cold place for a long time, you’ll often face trouble while latching the tailgate. It is because the inside mechanism gets frozen. The most common reason for the Ram tailgate not opening is the cold.

However, there can be other issues behind it, such as road sludge, inappropriate suspension cable, and rubber bumper squashing. All the reasons will be shortlisted in the chart below with their possible solution. So, let’s check out.

Frozen inside partsLube them with a liquid spray.
Jammed locking teethSlide them forward and backward.
Stacking of levers.Move them back with a screwdriver.
Wrong size suspension cableAdjust the cables.
Squashing rubber bumperCheck the rubber bumper while latching.
Road sludge in the catch pawlTake it apart and clean it.

Every problem has its solutions. But at first, you have to figure out the main reason. Now that you know the probable causes of the Ram tailgate issue, you shouldn’t have trouble finding the main cause.

Here are the most probable reasons why the Dodge Ram tailgate latch won’t open and their solutions. 

Problem 1: Froze Inside Parts

If your vehicle is off for a long time and is in a cold place, there’s a strong possibility the inside mechanism will be frozen. It’s the most experienced scenario for Dodge Ram owners. According to one of the Ramforumz user’s complaints, it is prevalent in the 2010 Ram tailgate. And even you can find the same reason when the 2009 Dodge Ram tailgate won’t latch.

Solution: Take the cover off by popping it through a screwdriver. Once the inside parts are uncovered, lube them with graphite-type spray powder. However, any lube would get the job done.

Problem 2: Jammed Locking Teeth

There are two little locking teeth on both sides of the tailgate. Sometimes they get jammed due to rot or cold atmosphere. Even if you don’t lube the tailgate often, they get hard. This is mainly seen be the main reason why the 2013 Ram tailgate won’t latch along with other models from the 2015 to 2016 Ram tailgate won’t latch problems.

Solution: Try to slide them back and forward. Make sure they return to their neutral stance. Lubricate their bearing if needed. Also, this solution may work if your 2016 Ram tailgate won’t latch.

Problem 3: Levers Gets Stuck

On the inside of the tailgate, there are little levers right near the latch. When you release the handle of the tailgate, they are supposed to spring back down. But they can get stuck sometimes.

Solution: Move them back with the help of a screwdriver. Lube the inside groove of the levers through the little red straw. After lubricating, they’ll be good to go for months.

Problem 4: Inappropriate Suspension Cable

There are two suspension cables on both sides of the tailgate. The problem occurs due to the different locations of the hinges to the tailgate attached.

Solution: In this case, you might need to pose some basics of the Dodge Ram tailgate latch adjustment. To adjust hinges, follow the given steps one by one.

  • Loosen both side bolts (1) of the pickup box.
  • If needed, install the shims (2) on both sides.
  • Tighten the bolt (1) of each side with your bare hand.
  • Now close the tailgate and adjust for fit and flushness on both sides.
  • Now open the tailgate again and tighten the bolts with a screwdriver.
  • Now, check the flushness by opening and closing it for a few seconds.
  • If everything’s good, then you’re good to go.

Problem 5: Squashing Rubber Bumper

There are rubber bumpers near the latch strikers and mount. When you close the tailgate, they rotate and get squashed by it.

Solution: Check for all the rubber bumpers near mounts while closing the tailgate. Because of those elements, the tailgate doesn’t get closed entirely.

Problem 6: Road Sludge in the Catch Pawl

A little metal tab that runs alongside the catch pawl next to the mechanism frame catches mud sometimes. When the road sludge piles into that tab, you need a little forward push every time you close the door. And you may find this reason shouting loud when your 2020 Ram tailgate won’t latch.

Solution: Rather than pushing it every time, you better take the tab apart and clean all the road sludge there is.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace A Ram Tailgate

If there’s any urgency that you need to change your Ram tailgate, you must know its replacement cost. The Ram tailgate price differs depending on your vehicle’s model. The approximate cost you can assume is between $500 to $1500. And the labor cost can be around $500. So, overall it can be a 2000 buck project.

This Video Will Help You Too!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you fix a tailgate that won’t latch?

First, you must find out the leading cause of this problem. To do this, you have to test every part of it separately. Latches, handle, and the latch pin should be your primary intention to check in. Then go for suspension cables, levers, or locking teeth. In most cases, lubricating the inside part of the tailgate fixes the problem.

Can you adjust a tailgate latch?

Of course you can. Tailgate adjusting is only required when there’s a problem with the suspension cable or hinges. Most of the models come with the left mount ⅝” inches from the bed, and the suitable mount stays ⅜” inches. That’s where you need to adjust and set them at an equal distance.

How do you adjust a tailgate latch?

To adjust a tailgate latch, you only need a flathead screwdriver. Now, see the Dodge Ram tailgate latch adjustment with a few steps.
#. Remove both tailgates
#. Loosen the striker nuts with the screwdriver so the striker can move and give it a bump.
#. Pull the striker closed to the rear.
#. Now close the tailgate and tighten the striker nuts. That’s it. Your tailgate will be adjusted.


So, now, if your Ram tailgate won’t latch, you surely know what to do under this circumstance. Aren’t you? The description above can get you out of this problem, we hope.

To get the tailgate working smoothly, lubricate it once a month. It’ll prevent it from getting stuck in critical situations and save your time and money.

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