How to Fix a Broken Chevy Tailgate Handle

There are a few problems that can come up with your tailgate. Fortunately, most require simple fixes that can be done through adjustments to the latch/striker or the internal rods/connections that operate the latch. Unless you have body damage to the tailgate, you can probably fix it rather than replace it.

Tools

  • Wrench
  • Trim tool or flathead screwdriver
  • Twist-tie wire
  • Torx bit

Instructions

  1. Drop the tailgate and detach the cables. Move the spring retainers up and slide the cables from the pins. If you have a 2001 Silverado or later, you will need to take off the bolts on the lower right hinge of the tailgate as well.
  2. Move the tailgate so that the right side hinge pocket is aligned with the pin. Disconnect it by lifting the right side off the pin. Slide the tailgate to the right in order to disconnect the left pin. It might help to have two people in order to support the tailgate weight once it comes off.
  3. If you have an issue with the alignment of the tailgate, then you can adjust the latch striker on the rear frame. Use your Torx bit to loosen the strikers. Adjust them in small increments.
  4. If needed, remove the latches for the handle. Use your trim tool or flathead screwdriver to pry the bezel off the handle. Remove the mounting bolts and take off the control rods in order to get to the latch. Adjust the latch position and then put it back together by reversing the steps.
  5. Should your handle not work, then you may have problems with the control rods. Reconnect them if they have broken off. A wire or twist-tie can be used to reconnect the rod to the handle.
  6. Put the tailgate back onto the truck by reversing the removal steps. Slide the left hinge pin into the frame. Put the right side hinge pocket over the body hinge. Reconnect the cables to the pins.

Test the tailgate to see if you have corrected the alignment or adjustment where you want it. If you run into trouble, contact your local Chevrolet dealership. If you do have to replace components, only use genuine OE parts for the job to make sure it doesn't fail or get stuck when you need the tailgate to open in a hurry!