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Trunk won't open

Old 09-07-2009, 09:29 PM
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Default Trunk won't open

I just bought my first Volvo today. It's a 2004.5 S40 T5. I got a great deal on it and love the car so far. Maybe I'm just doing something wrong but the trunk will not open with the remote or from the outside button above the license plate. It only opens if you crawl through and pull the cord on the inside. When you lock and unlock the car I can't hear the lock for the trunk doing anything so maybe a wire is loose or in two somewhere. Any idea
Old 09-09-2009, 07:07 AM
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Location: NC, USA
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Well there is an interlock when you lock the doors that also locks the trunk. Might be the mechanism (electronics) in the trunk that is defective. I'm guessing the part is rather expensive. Did you buy this car from a dealer? Can you take it back to have it checked? Have you tried the key in the trunk lock? I have the earlier model (2003) so I'm not sure if there was a change between the 2003 and 2004.5 model change.
Old 09-10-2009, 08:07 PM
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Bought it from a dealer but they didn't sell volvos. Just Kias. I have looked everywhere and can't find a place to put the key in the trunk?
Old 10-07-2009, 07:42 PM
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I have a 07 and my trunk wont open with the remote but I think its the remote. Sometimes when I go to use the button on the trunk lid it wont open and I have noticed that its not closed all the way. I have to push down on it. I will hear a click and then it will open.
Old 10-08-2009, 10:07 PM
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Make sure that it is not in valet mode (see owners manual). I think if the glove box is locked then the trunk latch is disabled.

Another idea, and I had this problem, sometimes the rubber seal around the trunk handle (switch) creeps into the gap and prevents the switch from being activated. Just press harder or maybe shift the rubber seal around a little. Worst case, unscrew the switch an reposition the rubber seal.

Still another idea, I have heard of others having the same problem if something gets stuck in the latch.

Old 10-09-2009, 02:48 PM
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Well the glovebox is unlocked (not in valet mode). I'll go out and try moving it around. Nothing appears to be in the latch or binding it as it closes easy. The remote doesn't pop it open either. The only way to get it open is pull the cord on the inside.
Old 10-18-2009, 04:57 PM
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Default same situation

i have the 2003 s40 and im having the same problem with my trunk. when i press the release on the remote i can hear it working, however the trunk doesnt open. i also can not open it with the key. like you the only way to get it open is to crawl in through the back seat and pull the cord from the inside. im interested to see if you find a solution so please let me know what works to fix this annoying problem.
Old 10-19-2009, 04:44 PM
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Something weird did happen the other day I was on my way to school and it tells me the trunk lid is open. Sure enough it popped loose. When you click the button on the remote or the one above the license plate you can't hear anything. I think the actuator or whatever opens the lock is bad in mine.
Old 10-19-2009, 05:55 PM
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Default 2005 s40

my boot lid wont open and as its a saloon i can find no reference to any kind of cord or wire release like i have had in VW estates that i have had.
the remote release doesnt work (keyfob) and the unlocking all doors through the key fob doesnt make the usual thud and clicking noise when all doors and boot unlock.
its not in valet mode and even when i have turned the glove box key half way or all the way round it makes no difference.
your thoughts please!
Old 05-23-2013, 07:20 PM
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Location: La Crescenta
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Default Cut Wires

I had this problem - for my 2005 Volvo S40 the cause was very simple, but hidden from view. With the trunk lid open, on the top left side there is a rubber bellows conduit which carries the wires into the lid. I pulled the lid end of this out and viola; there was a completely cut wire and another one half cut through - I repaired these and now the trunk works.
Old 05-24-2013, 01:13 AM
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Default s40 trunk lid

I also had the problem and there is a stupid little mechanism at the lock on the inside of the lid that gets stuck,i tried to disable it but sometimes still gets us try turning the key to left and push in or to right and push in that is how my wife makes it happen,would be expensive to replace.You will need to look and see in the lid to know what i mean.
Old 06-25-2013, 08:14 PM
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Location: The County, Ontario, Canada
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Default 05 s40, not US version

Hi there,This is my first post... and the reason I joined this forum.

I cannot get my trunk to open. The release handle seems to work as it should. It clicks as it always has... but wont open. I have a Canadian version of this car so there is no manual release inside the trunk.

Is there a fuse that could be gone for this mechanism?

I can't get the thing open... so I can't take the interior covers off to see if something has broken.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Old 06-26-2013, 06:52 AM
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You have to pull the rear seat backs down and crawl in through there.

On page 1 the poster claims to have found a broken wire in the harness on his 2005.
Old 06-27-2013, 09:35 AM
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Default Cut wires

Yes - two wires were cut in the harness leading into the trunk lid. But I had a US model with the emergency release. I'm not sure how to open the lid if there's no e-release.
Old 12-24-2015, 07:46 PM
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Default Cut wire indeed!

Happened same yesterday on my 07 S40 -second owner. Trunk release was working fine and all of the sudden I wouldn't open.

Quick Google search pointed to this site, and after reading sowr posts decided to give it a try. Removed the wire cover and sure enough, a wire was cut -there are about five wires, all of them had the jacket pinched at least once.

Today all cuts on the wire jackets and reconnected the wire that was cut and read the manual to verify how the remote button would work. About 5 mins later, got a perfectly functional trunk switch again, regardless of unlocking the doors or only trunk via remote.

Thanks sowr for sharing your experience, was spot on.
Old 12-25-2015, 08:45 AM
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Default Glad it helped

Glad I could help - it was a real mind-bender for while.
Old 01-28-2016, 12:57 PM
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Default Thanks foe the help!

My wife's 2007 S40 had a similar issue. It was displaying "Trunk Lid Open" warnings on the dash that was actually setting the alarm off on occasion. A months ago, the trunk lid stopped opening. After inspection of the wiring going to the trunk lid, I found almost all of the wires were pinched and two were completely severed. A few end-to-end connectors later, she was functioning perfectly. Thanks for the help, it avoided a rather large repair bill!

Now I am curious if there is a good place to get a replacement harness and if is something I can replace myself.
Old 01-28-2016, 01:31 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Ridgefield, CT
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you can try shopping at one of the dealer web stores like or or use to find a local recycle yard who may have a Gen2 S40 in the yard for you to pick from.
Old 06-07-2016, 07:12 PM
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Posts: 23
Default My Fix was different

2003 s40 Kidnapping handle opened the trunk. But manual from outside or key fob wouldn't.

I took off the lining for the trunk lid. There were some white portions of the latch mechanism. The pivot arm wasn't in place. Just readjusted and it works fine. (Not official parts names.)
Old 06-10-2016, 12:54 AM
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Default A fix for Trunk Won't Open...

I’ve had two similar and separate experiences with my 2005 Volvo S40 – both tracing back to a break in the wiring in the harness bridging to the trunk (boot) lid:

1) “Trunk Open” alert staying on
2) Trunk would not open.

I’m willing to bet %95 of the time these types of electrical problem relate to a break in the trunk wiring harness at the junction beside the trunk hinge bridging to the trunk lid. The trunk not opening problem is more complicated in European and Canadian models because these cars apparently do not come with easy-peasy emergency “kidnapper” trunk lid releases like US cars. I’ll explain more below.

1) My 2005 Volvo S40 “Trunk Open” Alert Staying On:
This happened to me two years ago when my “Trunk Open” alert suddenly appeared on my dash display and wouldn’t go away. The trunk worked fine but that message was there every drive. A little online hunting led me to learn about the habitual wire breaks in the Volvo S40 trunk lid harness. I popped open the trunk, pulled back the rubber cover, and sure enough there was a broken wire visible right near the top opening of the sleeve, easy to see and reach. I carefully clipped off the broken wire’s insulating covering on both sides of the break and tied the wire tight, then soldered generously and wrapped the repaired area snug with a lot of electrical tape. I put the rubber cover back in place, the alert stopped, and all was fine.

I realize now I probably should not have stopped there. If it happened once it could happen again. Maybe I should have wrapped up the other wires in the harness for some extra protection or maybe I should have replaced the entire harness. I didn’t… which led eventually to the next (much bigger pain in the butt) issue…

2) My 2005 Volvo S40 Trunk Will Not Open:
It happened all of a sudden and I’m only grateful that my trunk wasn’t loaded when it failed. When I clicked the remote opener, the trunk lock didn’t make its usual sound. I heard all the other doors unlock but the trunk didn’t budge. After a few more tries, I pushed the driver door unlock button – nothing. Checked the valet pin and it was secure. I immediately suspected the trunk harness wires failed again and tried to shake the car hoping to spark a connection… no luck. Was there a trunk lid key hole? No…

My last option was to crawl into the trunk through the folded back seats and release it from the inside. That’s when I realized my Volvo S40 does not have one of those glow in the dark emergency trunk release mechanisms. I learned later only US models have these emergency release pulls. Insert own jokes here…

So… The trunk won’t open but to fix why the trunk won’t open the trunk must be open… but the trunk won’t open... Figured I was screwed. Nope!

Internet to the rescue! Here’s what needs to be done. And you’re going to feel like MacGyver when it’s open! Let me start by saying thanks to the different folks who shared all their experiences with this sort of problem. All I’m doing here is sharing the details of my experience with the hope it helps, gives some confidence, and adds some clarity. I really didn’t know what to expect. My first fears after starting to do research online was that I might have to find some alligator clips or cut the lead wires in the trunk and then attach either a 12V battery or run some sort of bypass to another plug somewhere in the car... None of that was necessary and it was actually fairly easy.

You’ll need a flashlight, a standard 9V battery and two good wires. I actually used a 3ft length of household wiring I had laying around. I trimmed the wire covering off the ends, folded the ground out of the way, and jammed one exposed wire end into each hole of the 9V battery. They fit snug. A small flathead screw driver definitely helps too. So does some natural flexibility; you will definitely feel like a pretzel in a sardine can…

I crawled into the trunk through the folded back seats and began popping off the plastic pins that hold the fabric trunk covering in place using the flathead screw driver or by hand. You only need to take the covering off the trunk lid, no other place. You won’t be able to get it entirely off but you won’t need to if all those pins are out. Gently pull back the fabric and you’ll see there are a couple sets of wires in the trunk lid. Ignore the upper set which I think feed power to the plate light and lock button. The lower line feeds the electric lock mechanism itself and it is clipped in to the lock mechanism with a plastic plug. Unclip the plug (you might need the screw driver but be gentle) and pull, it should slip right out fairly easily. Once the wire plug is disconnected, you’ll be able to see the line of little connection pins on the lock mechanism.

This is the fun part. Using the 9V battery connected to your two wires, you want to reach in and touch the FIRST and THIRD lock connector pins from the left side. It’s not easy to do when contorted in a dark trunk but it’s not hard either. Since the wires I was using were thicker, I was able to space them, adjust them with my fingers, and eventually make contact but it took a few tries.

Here’s what you need to expect… I’m adding this part because I had no clue at all what would happen, or even if any of this would work. I didn’t know if I had inserted the wires to the battery properly and I didn’t even know if I needed someone to stand outside the trunk and activate the lock when I made contact. Short answer is you don’t need to worry, just make contact. When the battery wires do touch the right pins, you’ll hear the lock activate. It may even surprise you. When it activated I heard it but couldn’t believe it. I also couldn’t tell if the trunk lid was open or if it had just unlocked for that moment. It seemed to stay in place. So I made contact once again with the wires on the pins and this time when it activated, I pushed up with my head to raise the trunk and it lifted. Success!!!

I can only imagine what the people passing by my driveway thought when they saw a car trunk lid suddenly open on its own and a man flop out cheering for joy… Thankfully, no police were called.

Once opened, and after a little stretching, I reattached the trunk wire plug to the trunk lock pins as I found it and then put the fabric covering back with the plastic pins.

With the trunk now open and the rubber trunk harness sleeve pulled back, it was easy to find the problem. There were two clearly severed wires. One of the breaks was deeper inside the rubber sleeve, so I cut the rubber lengthwise about 6 or 7 inches and used a couple of clips to hold the sleeve folded open so I could work safely.

I trimmed the insulating covering on both sides of the first break and as soon as I touched the wires together my trunk light came on. I didn’t expect that. I noticed that the trunk light had stopped working months ago and just assumed it was a burnt bulb. In retrospect, I should have realized that a burnt bulb in the trunk wasn’t very likely and it was in fact a warning that the wiring was breaking down again inside the harness.

If I could have done it, I would have simply spliced the broken wire back together but I felt there wasn’t enough slack to play with in my situation. I clipped some spare wire I had in the garage and created a bit of a double splice, extending the broken wire a couple inches with this bridge and hopefully taking some of the pressure off the whole wire. That created two connections to tie up for the one wire and then I soldered both connections generously. I finally wrapped the whole splice job snug with lots of electrical tape. If I had any, I might have used shrink-wrap to cover the repaired wire instead of tape. I repeated the same process for the second broken wire and then pressed the trunk unlock button on the open trunk lid – it activated perfectly, problem solved! And finally, for good measure, I re-fixed my original repair from a couple years ago. I added a little extra protective tape anywhere I saw signs of wire fatigue or where I thought there may be more abrasions.

With all that extra electrical tape, it was a little snug fitting the wires back into the rubber harness covering but I slowly got is all in place. I then removed the clips and wrapped up the rubber cover tight with electrical tape. I thought about adding duct tape for good measure. Maybe I will later, maybe I’ll remember to replace the whole wire harness thing later… what can I tell you, some guys never learn… I then reattached the rubber cover to the metal trunk frame.

I slammed the trunk a few times, lock worked, I have a trunk again. It’s funny to think of all the warnings I had leading up to this problem. I really must remember to change out that wiring harness before the next fail… Hope this helps, let me know! Cheers!

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