BMW Tailgate Not Opening Fully: Expert Solutions and Tips

Understanding the Issue of BMW Tailgate Not Opening Fully

Experiencing problems with a BMW tailgate not opening fully can be frustrating for vehicle owners. There are several possible reasons for this issue that need to be considered in order to diagnose and resolve the problem.

Firstly, it is essential to check the BMW trunk’s manual opening. In certain situations, owners might need to open the trunk manually with a key or from the inside of the car. This might be necessary if there is a problem with the car’s battery, which can affect the functioning of the tailgate. Ensuring that the car battery is fully charged can help eliminate this potential cause of the problem.

Another possible reason for the BMW tailgate not opening fully could be related to the valet switch. The valet switch is designed to disable certain functions, such as the trunk release, when the car is being parked by a valet. Accidentally engaging the valet switch can cause issues with the tailgate. Disabling it and attempting to operate the tailgate again can help determine if this is the source of the problem.

In addition to these potential causes, there could be issues with the wiring or worn-off parts that can hinder the operation of the tailgate. It might be necessary to inspect the wiring loom for any damage or disconnects, and replace any worn-off parts to ensure the tailgate functions properly.

Furthermore, it is important to consider if the key fob battery might be affecting the tailgate’s performance. A weak or dead battery in the key fob can cause delays or malfunctions in the tailgate’s operation. Replacing the key fob battery can help address this concern.

Lastly, some BMW owners have reported problems with the upper and lower tailgates not fully opening. This may be an intermittent issue that requires assistance from a BMW service center to diagnose and fix. It is essential to consult with a professional technician if the issue persists despite exploring the aforementioned solutions.

Addressing the issue of a BMW tailgate not opening fully involves understanding the potential causes, investigating each of them, and taking appropriate action to resolve the problem. By doing so, BMW owners can ensure their vehicle functions optimally and enjoy the convenience of a fully operational tailgate.

Analyzing BMW Tailgate Parts and Mechanisms

Lock and Latch

The lock and latch system in BMW tailgates are responsible for securely fastening the tailgate to the vehicle. These parts can wear out or become misaligned over time, leading to issues with the tailgate not opening fully. Regular maintenance such as lubricating the latch mechanism with a spray lithium grease can ensure smooth operation and prevent malfunctions.


BMW tailgates are equipped with electric motors that control the opening and closing of the tailgate. If the tailgate is not opening fully, it’s possible that the motor is malfunctioning, or grinding due to worn out parts. In some cases, replacing the motor may be necessary to resolve the issue.

Sensors and Wiring Loom

Modern BMW tailgates utilize various sensors and wiring systems to control movement and safety features. When the tailgate is not opening fully, it can be due to faulty sensors or damaged wiring. To identify and fix any issues with the sensors or wiring loom, it’s best to consult with a professional mechanic or a BMW specialist.

Tailgate Height Adjustment

For BMW models like the F36 435i Gran Coupe, tailgate height adjustment can be accessed through the iDrive system. If the tailgate is not opening fully, checking and resetting the height adjustment in the vehicle settings could resolve the issue. If the problem persists, there may be an issue with the tailgate’s opening mechanism or design.

Role of BMW Key Fob in Opening Tailgate

Unlocking with BMW Key Fob

The BMW key fob plays a crucial role in providing convenient access to the vehicle, including opening the tailgate. With the press of a button, the key fob sends a signal to the car, allowing the tailgate to unlock and open without requiring any manual effort. Some BMW models even offer Smart Opener with Comfort Access, providing a hands-free option to open the tailgate simply by carrying the key fob and making a specific gesture near the trunk area.

However, in some cases, the key fob may only operate the tailgate without the ability to open the glass window, which remains manually operated on certain BMW models, such as the G21.

Issues with BMW Key Fob Battery

Occasionally, problems might occur due to a weak or dead BMW key fob battery. When the battery is low on power, the signal from the key fob to the vehicle could become weak, causing issues in opening the tailgate fully. In such cases, it is essential to replace the key fob battery to restore its functionality.

Apart from battery issues, BMW owners may also encounter difficulties in unlocking the tailgate if the car’s battery is dead or the trunk release button is not working. In those cases, the trunk can still be opened manually using the key blade.

To avoid complications and maintain a smooth tailgate opening experience, it is necessary to keep the BMW key fob and car battery in good condition. By doing so, BMW owners can continue enjoying the convenience and advanced features offered by their vehicle’s key fob system.

Study of iDrive System and Tailgate Opening

BMW vehicles come equipped with a set of advanced technologies, one of which is the iDrive system. Among numerous functions, it allows owners to adjust and control various aspects of their car, including tailgate opening and height. In this section, we will discuss how the iDrive system influences tailgate opening and its adjustment.

Adjusting Tailgate Opening Height in iDrive

The iDrive system in BMW enables users to set the desired height of the tailgate when it opens. This personalized setting can be particularly beneficial for individuals with specific height requirements or those who frequently park in areas with low ceilings. The adjustment process is quite straightforward and can be done through the iDrive menu:

  1. Start the engine and navigate to the iDrive menu.
  2. Locate and select the “Settings” option.
  3. Choose “Doors/Access” or “Tailgate” (depending on your BMW model).
  4. Find and select the “Tailgate opening height” or a similar option.
  5. Use the controller to adjust the tailgate height by moving it up or down. The system will display a visual representation of the current height setting.
  6. Once the desired height is achieved, confirm the setting and exit the menu.

It should be noted that some BMW owners might experience issues with tailgate not opening fully, even if the iDrive setting is adjusted to maximum height. In such cases, it might be necessary to seek professional assistance for diagnosing and fixing potential technical problems. Additionally, it is advisable to periodically check the tailgate’s mechanical components and sensors for wear and tear, as these may also impact the functionality of the iDrive-controlled tailgate opening.

In conclusion, the iDrive system plays a significant role in tailgate adjustment and opening in BMW vehicles, offering drivers a personalized and convenient method to control the tailgate’s height. Maintaining your BMW’s tailgate components and regularly checking the iDrive settings will ensure the optimal functionality of this feature.

Importance of Switches in BMW Tailgate Functioning

Switches play a crucial role in the functioning of BMW tailgates, especially when it comes to opening and closing them fully. One particular switch, the valet switch, is of particular importance. In this section, we will look into its functionality and significance.

Understanding the Valet Switch Function

The valet switch is a feature found in BMW vehicles, designed mainly for situations when you need to temporarily hand over your car to a valet or parking attendant. It allows the car owner to enable or disable specific functions, such as the tailgate.

When the valet switch is enabled, it locks the tailgate, preventing it from being opened fully. This way, it ensures the protection of your vehicle’s luggage compartment, while still allowing the valet to park and retrieve your car.

To properly use the valet switch, owners need to understand how it impacts the tailgate functionality:

  1. Unlock: Press the valet switch to unlock the tailgate. It helps ensure that the tailgate operates correctly and allows you to open the tailgate fully when necessary.
  2. Lock: When you need to hand over the vehicle to a valet or if you want to secure the tailgate for any reason, press the valet switch again to lock it. This will make sure that the tailgate cannot be opened fully.
  3. Open Fully: When the valet switch is deactivated, the tailgate should open fully without any issues. In case your BMW tailgate is not opening fully, always ensure the valet switch is not engaged unintentionally.

Being aware of the various functions of the valet switch and how to use them effectively can help ensure proper tailgate functioning. It can also prevent potential issues and inconvenience when utilizing this secure feature in your BMW vehicle.

Solutions for BMW Tailgate Issues

Professional Assistance from Dealership

One of the best ways to resolve BMW tailgate issues is to seek professional assistance from a dealership. They have knowledgeable technicians who are experienced in diagnosing and fixing problems related to tailgates. If you notice that your BMW’s tailgate isn’t opening fully, it could be due to a variety of reasons. In such cases, contacting your dealer is a wise choice, as they can provide a proper diagnosis and repair the issue accordingly.

Dealerships also have access to the necessary parts and tools required to ensure a successful fix. Additionally, if your BMW is still under warranty, the dealership can offer support at little or no cost to you.

Self Solutions for Minor Issues

In some cases, there might be minor issues that can be resolved without the assistance of a professional. Here are some self solutions to consider for minor tailgate problems:

  1. Check the key fob battery: If the tailgate isn’t responding to your key fob, the battery may need to be replaced. Replacing the battery might fix the issue and allow the tailgate to open fully again.
  2. Inspect the tailgate for obstructions: Sometimes, the tailgate may not open fully due to physical obstructions. Make sure to check if there are any objects preventing the tailgate from opening completely.
  3. Examine wiring connections: Examine the wiring connections around the tailgate area for any loose or broken wires. Reconnecting the wiring, if required, might resolve the issue.
  4. Test the valet switch (if applicable): Some BMWs have a valet switch that disables the power tailgate. Ensure that this switch is in the correct position to enable the tailgate function.
  5. Charge the car battery: A weak car battery could prevent the tailgate from operating correctly. Make sure your BMW’s battery is fully charged.

Keep in mind that if you’re unsure about the issue or don’t feel confident in making repairs, it’s best to seek professional guidance at a BMW dealership to ensure a successful resolution.

Specific Tailgate Problems in Different BMW Models

Tailgate Issues in BMW X5

The BMW X5 has been reported to have intermittent tailgate issues where the upper and lower tailgates may not fully open. This can be frustrating for owners who rely on the tailgate for easy access to their vehicle’s cargo area. In some cases, pressing the power button on the upper tailgate results in it attempting to close and then reopening fully. Similarly, when pressing the lower tailgate button, the actuator can be heard, but the tailgate remains closed or doesn’t open fully 1.

There are several potential causes for these issues in the BMW X5. First, the latch switch might be faulty, leading to the tailgate reading as ajar despite being closed. Replacing the switch has resolved this issue for some owners 2. Additionally, a weak car battery can impact the opening and closing mechanisms, as the tailgate requires a sufficient amount of power to operate correctly. Charging or replacing the battery can potentially solve this problem 3.

Tailgate Problems in 4 Series Gran Coupe

The 4 Series Gran Coupe also has its share of tailgate problems. Owners have reported that the power tailgate may not open fully on the first attempt of the day, requiring two presses of the button to open completely 4. This issue could be linked to the tailgate’s design or the opening mechanism itself.

Other potential reasons for the tailgate issue in the 4 Series Gran Coupe might include broken wiring looms, worn-off parts, or a failing key fob battery 5. When troubleshooting these issues, it’s essential for owners to assess their vehicle systematically and consult a trusted mechanic for appropriate repairs or replacements.

By being aware of these specific tailgate problems in different BMW models, owners can better diagnose and address issues that arise, ensuring the continued functionality and longevity of their vehicles.


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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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