BMW Automatic Tailgate Not Working: Expert Solutions and Tips

Understanding the Issue

Automatic Tailgate Problem

When you experience issues with your BMW’s automatic tailgate, it can be frustrating and inconvenient. There are several common reasons behind this problem, such as a malfunctioning motor, worn-out parts, or issues with the sensors and wiring system. In some cases, replacing the motor may be necessary to resolve the issue [^source^]. Modern BMW tailgates, especially the BMW X5, utilize various sensors and wiring systems to control movement and safety features. A problem with these components may cause the tailgate not to open fully or not to function properly.

BMW X5 Tailgate

The BMW X5 is known to have some tailgate problems, especially after receiving an over-the-air software update[^source^]. Some owners have reported that their lower tailgate stopped working correctly or became progressively worse after the update. In these cases, reprogramming or updating the software might be necessary to resolve the issue.

Car Battery Effect

A dead car battery can also lead to automatic tailgate issues. The tailgate might not function intermittently or permanently due to a lack of power supplied by the battery[^source^]. If you find your BMW’s trunk release button is not working or if your key gets locked in the trunk, you may be able to open the trunk manually with the key blade. However, you should also check for any stored fault codes in the tailgate function module, as these can provide valuable insights into potential problems and solutions[^source^].

Remember to troubleshoot any issues with your automatic tailgate and consult a BMW specialist or your local dealership for professional assistance when needed. Handling the issue properly will ensure the smooth and reliable functioning of your BMW’s automatic tailgate.

Troubleshooting Steps

Checking the Tailgate Option

Ensure that the automatic tailgate option is enabled in your BMW’s settings. Sometimes, the feature might be accidentally disabled, causing the tailgate to not open or close automatically.

Locking and Opening Mechanism

Examine the locking and opening mechanism for any signs of damage or wear. Over time, the components can become worn or damaged, affecting the tailgate’s functionality. In such cases, it may be necessary to replace the affected parts.

BMW Trunk Manually

If the tailgate is not working automatically, try to open the trunk manually. You can do this using the key blade or by accessing the trunk from inside the vehicle. This helps you to determine if the issue is related to the automatic tailgate function or if there might be a problem with the trunk’s opening mechanism itself.

Comfort Access Test

Perform a comfort access test to check if the issue is related to the key fob or the tailgate’s sensor system. Replace your BMW key fob battery if necessary and test the tailgate operation again.

Sensor Diagnosis

Inspect the sensors and electronic components responsible for the tailgate’s automatic operation. Check for any visible signs of damage or wiring issues. If the sensors and electrical components appear to be working correctly, you may need professional assistance to diagnose and repair the automatic tailgate system effectively.

By following these steps, you can better understand and troubleshoot the issues affecting your BMW’s automatic tailgate. Remember to keep safety in mind and consult a professional when necessary.

Fixing the Problem

BMW Key Fob Battery Replacement

Your BMW key fob plays a crucial role in the functionality of your automatic tailgate. If your key fob battery has run out, the tailgate may not unlock or operate as desired. Replacing the BMW key fob battery is straightforward. You simply need to open the fob carefully, remove the old battery, and insert a new one. This should restore the remote control functionality of your key and resolve any issues you may be facing with your automatic tailgate not opening or closing.

Broken Wiring Loom Repair

A broken wiring loom can also cause the tailgate not to function properly. This is because the communication between your vehicle’s electronics and the tailgate’s motor depends on the integrity of the wiring. You will need to inspect the wiring loom for any signs of damage, fraying, or disconnected wires. Repairing the broken wiring loom might involve reconnecting wires, wrapping them with electrical tape, or replacing damaged sections. If you are not comfortable handling this task, it’s always a good idea to consult with a qualified mechanic or technician for assistance1.

Spindle Drive Replacement

The spindle drive is responsible for the mechanical operation of your BMW’s automatic tailgate. Over time, the spindle drive can wear out or fail, leading to improper or unresponsive tailgate operation. In such cases, replacing the spindle drive becomes necessary. To do this, you’ll need to locate the spindle drive in your vehicle, remove the faulty one, and install the new part. This task may require special tools and a clear understanding of your vehicle’s tailgate assembly. It’s advisable to seek professional help if you are unsure about this process2.

By addressing these issues, you should be able to restore your BMW automatic tailgate’s functionality. Remember to be cautious when working on your vehicle and seek professional assistance whenever necessary.

External Solutions

Dealing with Dealers

When your BMW automatic tailgate is not working, one option is to contact your local authorized BMW dealer. They are trained in diagnosing and repairing various issues, including tailgate problems. By discussing the problem with them, they may suggest a potential fix or arrange an appointment for your vehicle. They will have access to original BMW parts, ensuring compatibility and quality.

Remote Control Trial

A key fob remote control can sometimes cause issues with BMW automatic tailgate systems. Before assuming the problem lies with the tailgate itself, try replacing your key fob battery. This simple step could resolve the issue. If the problem persists, consider testing another compatible remote control to rule out any remote-control-related issues.

Purchasing Parts from eBay

In some cases, a broken part might be the cause of your BMW automatic tailgate not working. If you know which part is broken or worn out, you may find budget-friendly replacement options on eBay. While purchasing parts from eBay can save you money, make sure the item you buy is genuine and compatible with your BMW model. Don’t hesitate to consult with an expert or user reviews to ensure you’re getting the right component for your repair. Keep in mind that, if you’re not experienced with car repairs, it’s advisable to have a professional perform the installation to avoid any further complications.

Additional Features

In this section, we will discuss other features associated with BMW’s automatic tailgate, including Understanding Soft Close, Back View of Rear Window, and M Sport Customization.

Understanding Soft Close

Soft Close is an additional feature available in some BMW models that gently pulls the tailgate shut for you if it’s not closed completely. This ensures a secure closure without any extra effort on your part. Once the tailgate is near the latch, the Soft Close system takes over and pulls it closed, so you don’t need to slam or force it shut. This makes closing the tailgate easy and convenient, protecting your vehicle from potential damage.

Back View of Rear Window

The rear window of your BMW plays a crucial role in maintaining visibility while reversing or parking. A clear view of the area behind your vehicle is paramount for safe driving. Some models come with a rear window wiper to help maintain visibility during rain, snow, or other weather conditions. In addition, a rear-view camera might be available, which delivers a live feed to your infotainment system, allowing you to see exactly what’s behind you while parking or maneuvering in tight spaces. Remember to keep the rear window clean to ensure optimal visibility and performance of these features.

M Sport Customization

M Sport is a line of BMW vehicles and accessories designed for performance and style enthusiasts. If you’re interested in enhancing your BMW’s appearance and performance, you can opt for an M Sport package that includes a variety of features, such as sportier suspension, improved brakes, unique body parts, and exclusive interior elements. These upgrades not only enhance the look and feel of your BMW but can also improve its handling and driving experience. Check with your local dealer or consult your owner’s manual for more information on M Sport options available for your specific model.


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Georg Meier

BMW technician since 1996. I began my automotive journey in 1993 as an apprentice mechanic at Automag, the world's oldest BMW dealership in Munich. With years of experience and dedication, I garnered a wealth of knowledge about the intricacies of BMW and MINI vehicles. The love/hate relationship with the brand led me to found BIMMERIST where I share expertise and insights with fellow enthusiasts.

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