Inspiring you to fix things & showing you how

VW Tiguan Boot Won’t Close? Let’s fix it!

If your VW Tiguan boot won’t close, read on! In this post I’m going to describe the problem on a 2012 Tiguan I was asked to fix, then show you how I fixed it. I’ll also show how the boot latch failed.

The problem

You go to close the boot in the usual way, but rather than that satisfying VW thud, a more ‘bouncy’ noise hits your ears. You notice the tailgate bounce up and down on the sealing rubbers before coming to rest.

The boot hasn’t shut. You jab at the release button in the hope that something will happen. Something does happen – a loud and unpleasant sound reminiscent of a motor spinning against something broken.

Picture showing old and new VW Tiguan boot latches

And then, as if by magic, after a few more closure attempts and button jabs, it closes, and all is well…..until you press the release button, when the whole process starts again.

That’s the story as told to me by the owner of the Tiguan, and is what I found whilst testing it.


My first step was to check there wasn’t anything blocking the latch from engaging around the latch pin, or stopping the latch from moving. There wasn’t.

Next I tried to engage the latch manually using a screwdriver. It would move but wouldn’t stay latched shut.

I knew power was reaching the latch mechanism because I could hear and feel the release motor spinning when the button was pressed. At this point I decided to use VCDS to check for fault codes relating to the boot latch. Nothing doing – which was surprising because there seems to be a code for everything in VCDS. Not so here!

I was fairly confident something had broken in the latch mechanism, so I ordered a new one. I gave the vehicle owner the option of genuine VW or aftermarket from eBay. They chose the eBay option, as the part was a quarter of the genuine VW price.

Replacing the VW Tiguan boot latch

I disconnected the battery before starting. This is probably unnecessary for a job like this but I’m in the habit of doing it.

There is a screw at the bottom of each handhold point at the bottom of the tailgate. Prise out the plastic screw covers with a trim tool. If you haven’t got one, I use and recommend Bojo trim tools. If you don’t want to buy trim tools, you could use a screwdriver with a rag to protect the trim.

Remove the 2 T20 Torx screws.

Pull the plastic trim away from the tailgate at the latch end. This is easier said than done, as the clips holding it in place are strong. I’d definitely recommend wearing gloves! This trim doesn’t need to be removed completely, but we need to disengage the clips along the bottom edge of the tailgate, to allow the trim to move enough to gain access to the bolts holding the latch.

Picture showing VW Tiguan boot trim removal

With the trim removed, undo the two 8mm triple square / XZN / 12 point spline bolts. Then disconnect the electrical plug and remove the latch.

By the way – a set of these triple square drivers is essential for working on VW Audi group vehicles. This is the set I use.

Replacing the latch is the reversal of the above process. Try to get the new latch lined up in the same place as the old one. The bolts allow for some movement. I used the dirt on the paintwork to guide me and it worked out OK. You may need to go back and make adjustments later on once you’ve tried the tailgate to see if it closes OK. The latch pin can also be adjusted to get the tailgate closing properly.

Reconnect the battery if you disconnected it, and try out the new latch.

In my case, the latch worked great and the tailgate closed and latched in the correct position 1st time!

VW Tiguan boot latch failure analysis

I couldn’t help myself….had to take the old latch apart to find out what had broken. This required some destruction, but hey it was broken anyway.

Turns out a plastic threaded shaft, which moves a slider back and forth to release the latch, had broken away from the cog that turns it:

Picture showing VW Tiguan boot latch broken cog

There was also a motor in this part, but I’d already removed it.

Watch the video!

I made a video of me fixing the Tiguan. Here it is!

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