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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Part arrived in the mail on Thursday so I eagerly jumped into this fix so I could have access via the liftgate once again. I've tried to explain as best I can the procedure and included some photos. If you've already figured out how to manually release the liftgate you can skip steps 1 through 4.

1. Fold down one of your second row seats so you can remove the groceries / hockey equipment / whatever was inconveniently stuck there after the lift gate switch failed.

2. Climb into the rear cargo area and bring with you: a smartphone with a flashlight app, a Flathead screwdriver, and a pry tool with a small point (can used a taped up flat head screwdriver blade in a pinch).

3. Gently pop off the small circular plastic latch mechanism access cover on the lift gate near the floor of the cargo area. It has three tabs (see pictures).

4. You need to pop the lift gate latch manually with the screwdriver. I found it very awkward to see into the opening / get light in there - had to lay flat against the floor. Once you can see in there, the screwdriver blade needs to go through a second rectangular / oval opening in mechanism (sorry I don't have a picture of this, not enough hands / too crowded). Beyond that second metal opening there is a latch you need to push forward with the screwdriver to unlatch the lift gate. You can now celebrate by getting out of the cargo area.

5. Next up you'll need to pop out two circular clips that are found on either side of the liftgate latching mechanism itself. Again use a flat trim tool or a taped flat head screwdriver.

6. Now you need to shift your focus to the grab handle on the end of the lift gate. You should be able to gently pry the cover of the handle off by hand with the top or thicker part coming off first.

7. Once the handle cover has been removed, you'll see there are two screws that hold in the remainder of the handle - you'll need a 7mm socket to remove these. Once the screws are out you can remove the remaining two pieces of the handle.

8. Okay, so you are are ready for the most delicate part of the disassembly. You need to remove the large piece of trim from the lift gate interior to gain access behind it. The trim is held on by a number of plastic pins. There are two on either corner of the end of the lift gate. I found if I pried gently near one of these corners with a pry tool, this worked well. Basically pry, increasing pressure gradually until one of the pins pop. Then repeat for the other 7 or so, working from the area you've already freed.

***DISCLAIMER. When I removed mine, it appeared that in a previous removal by the dealer to replace a peeled Saturn logo, they broke two connection points in the trim by the handle (see photo). I'm not sure how this would have changed the removal of the trim, but it appears there are two clips around the points where the handle makes contact. ***

9. You are almost there. You can now see the backside of the lift gate release handle and switch. To remove the handle from the lift gate, you'll need a 10mm socket to remove two screws. Once you've removed these. Unlclip the wire from the faulty liftgate switch and pull the handle out from the outside of the lift gate.

10. The original switch clearly showed signs of water and dirt penetration into the switch - either a bad fit or poor design. The faulty switch pops out of the handle with the release of four tabs. I replaced the switch, and also added silicone around the switch itself, and then more around the handle seal.

11. Test the switch to make sure everything is working, and then reverse the process for re-assembly.


1. Clipping the trim back on is challenging if you are doing it by yourself - I was able to do it with a few choice words, but if you have someone to help it will make the job a lot easier.
2. When clipping the trim back in, make sure all the clips are in properly around the entire perimeter of the trim before you snap everything down. On my first attempt, I noticed a clip was sticking out that was hidden from my view during re-assembly next to the lift gate window.

Link to photos of procedure:
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