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Tailgate Lock Cylinder Replacement Cost – This Quick Fix Takes Less Than 30 Minutes! 

Tailgate Lock Cylinder Replacement Cost

The average price of tailgate lock cylinder replacement cost in most cars is between $117 and $127. The average cost of labor, including all billed hours, comes between $39 and $49. Lastly, the parts’ total cost is priced at around $78 for most vehicle makes, models, and years. As you can see, the total time to fix this issue is relatively minimal, with the total repair time often taking less than 30 minutes at a dealership or auto body shop.

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Although the tailgate lock cylinder replacement cost is relatively low compared to other potential fixes in your car, paying for this repair before you notice any more damage is essential to keeping your car in good condition. Many drivers do not think of their tailgate or the apparatus holding their car together – but they should.


Let’s go over the tailgate lock cylinder function, how to replace the tailgate lock cylinder, symptoms of a faulty cylinder, and the total tailgate lock cylinder replacement cost!

What is a tailgate lock cylinder?

A tailgate lock cylinder is usually in the tailgate latch handle assembly that a driver or passenger uses to access the cargo space of a car. The lock cylinder is used to secure or unlock the tailgate manually with a key, ensuring that any items in the back of a car do not accidentally get thrown out of the car if the tailgate opens unintentionally.


Furthermore, the tailgate lock cylinder could also be a part of the central locking system used in the entire vehicle. Typically, the lock cylinder will have a sensor attached to the mechanism as a part of the Anti Theft system to ensure that the proper key is opening it. If someone tries to fiddle with the lock or use the wrong key to manually unlock the tailgate, the Anti Theft system is alerted.

How does the tailgate lock cylinder function?

The tailgate lock cylinder is specifically matched to the car’s key and turns when the key is inserted. Like the key in the ignition, the key’s specific construction and the movement of turning it in the slot will activate the mechanism to unlock, similar to any other key.


When the tailgate is locked and can’t access the back cargo space, the handle is disconnected from the latch linkage. This means that you can’t open the tailgate, and it can’t open unintentionally since the latch is disconnected completely from the apparatus. 


However, when the tailgate is unlocked, the latch handle engages the linkage and lets the tailgate open freely. This can be done by using the tailgate lock cylinder and unlocking this mechanism. If you find that the key does not open the tailgate, you should look into the total tailgate lock cylinder replacement cost.

Works With The Body Control Module 

Lastly, the lock cylinder can activate the central locking system through the body control module on some trucks. The body control module is the electronic unit in all vehicles that is responsible for monitoring, controlling, and analyzing various electrical signals and accessories in the car’s system. 


If you find that your body control module is not working properly, your tailgate lock cylinder replacement cost will increase. Since the BCM is such a crucial part of your car’s control system, your car would not be able to steer, function, or perform any of the necessary functions without this part. The costs to repair your body control module typically range from around $450 to $1,200 on the high end. 

Symptoms of a Faulty Tailgate Lock Cylinder

Drivers will find the most common sign of a faulty tailgate lock cylinder is the key’s inability to turn or be inserted into the hole to unlock the tailgate and open the hatch. If you find that something is wrong with the key, this is an easy fix that just requires bringing the key to a mechanic’s to purchase a new key or have the old one repaired.


However, more often than not, the problems with the key inserted into the keyhole trace back to the actual keyhole itself. Sometimes, the key will get stuck in one position, can’t be turned, or removed. Occasionally, you will see that a key is broken inside the lock cylinder due to structural damage inside the tailgate lock cylinder, preventing the key from being removed by the owner.


Lastly, electrical issues with the locking system is another symptom and sign of a faulty or failing tailgate lock cylinder. These electrical concerns are often caused by other components’ failure and can increase the tailgate lock cylinder replacement cost. 

How often should I replace the tailgate lock cylinder?

Find that you are having issues with the tailgate, the lock, or you are worried about the tailgate lock cylinder replacement cost. You will be happy to know the tailgate lock cylinder typically lasts a lifetime on most vehicles. However, if you are already noticing symptoms of something going wrong, this is a sign that your lock might be seizing up.


Since today’s vehicles are high-tech and rely on electrical-powered communication more so than manually-operated apparatuses, the lock cylinder gets very little use. The lock buttons on the door often do the work of unlocking the car, along with drivers using a remote key fob to open their tailgate while standing outside of their vehicle.


This little use means the lock cylinder does not get the usual wear and tear it is built for and can simply shut off if the electrical connection is not stimulated after a long period of time. The lack of use causes the lock cylinder to seize up, meaning the cylinder’s mechanism can no longer freely move and respond to the key’s construction. 


Due to the disuse and trouble moving, drivers at this point will have to go to a mechanic to receive a quote on the tailgate lock cylinder replacement cost. 

How do I diagnose the tailgate lock cylinder issues?

If you decide to diagnose the tailgate lock cylinder issues, you should first bring your car to a reputable mechanic. Although you may be able to figure out the root issue with car DIY knowledge, bringing your car to a knowledgeable professional can help you save any future problems from occurring.


Firstly, the technician will try to insert and turn the key. If the key has trouble getting into the keyhole or turning, the technician may try oiling the cylinder and getting it to free up. This is the most simple solution and can sometimes be caused by debris or dirt build-up from disuse. Fortunately for drivers, this fix has the lowest tailgate lock cylinder replacement cost. 


If this does not work, the professional will remove the latch handle from the tailgate to provide an angle of access to the linkage, inside of the latch, and the tailgate lock cylinder. Once he gets to this point, he needs to analyze the situation and rule out any other components as the root causes of the issue, like any electrical components that could be short-circuiting.


Once he diagnoses the root cause of the issue, he will quote the tailgate lock cylinder replacement cost. 

Average Tailgate Lock Cylinder Replacement Cost

The average price for the tailgate lock cylinder replacement cost at most dealerships, auto body shops, or mechanic’s garages will range between $117 and $127. The labor costs make up between $39 and $49 of this total, while the cost of hte parts is around $78. Of course, this price range does not include taxes, fees, or your geographical location when getting this procedure done on your car.


This price will also vary depending on the make, model, and year of your car. For example, the Ram 3500 tailgate lock cylinder replacement cost ranges from $103 and $115. The total cost of labor is between $44 and $56, while the price of the parts is around $59. As you can see, the labor is a little tougher on this truck and takes more time, while the cost of hte parts is fairly low when compared to the average. 

The Bottom Line

Although drivers typically do not think of their tailgate or how it functions, this is an important component of all vehicles. If the tailgate lock cylinder did not function properly, the tailgate would not open or close, rendering the entire space useless. Furthermore, if the tailgate could not be secured while shut, it would increase the chances of items in the cargo area falling out while driving. 


Instead of waiting for problems to worsen or debating whether to pay for the tailgate lock cylinder replacement cost, drivers should pay the low fee of between $117 and $127 to fix the noticeable issues in their vehicle. This is a low price compared to other routine maintenance procedures on cars and costs much less than engine work or transmission work.


Overall, paying less than $130 for the transmission lock cylinder replacement cost is a small price to pay for securing your car and your valuables while on the road. 

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