Miata Trunk Opener - Lock Mechanism Failed Leaving the Hatch Stuck Shut




Today I went to help my dad with his 90 Mazda Miata. As it turned out the trunk was stuck shut because the lock mechanism failed. By design there is no backup to accessing the trunk in the event the lock mechanism fails. I will show you how to open your trunk in just a few easy steps without damaging anything in the vehicle.

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Step 1: Removal

First step is to remove the 3 items that block your ability to access the inside of the trunk.

1. Passenger Chair (Quantity 4 - 14mm Bolts)

2. Peel back the carpet

3. Remove the rear firewall (a dozen or so small 10mm bolts)

Step 2: The Tunnel

View the passageway/tunnel you will use to access the trunk. This is to the passenger side of the gas tank.

Step 3: Handy Dandy Trunk Opener

Now its time to make the tool that you will use to release the latch.

You will need the following items

1. crowbar

2. flash light

3. 2in x 2in x 4ft long piece of wood

4. masking tape

Tape the crowbar and flashlight to the end of the piece of wood and voilà you have a new handy dandy tool.

Step 4:

Using the new tool you will first need to pull the carpet in the rear of the trunk down to expose the lever for the rear trunk release. Once you have done that you can use the forked part of the crowbar to pull the arm for the trunk lock release.

Step 5:

Voilà you now have an open trunk so you can fix whatever it was that broke.

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    6 Discussions


    11 months ago on Step 1

    This was very helpful! I did not want to drill into the back of my miata. As others stated, if you have a spare in the back, you won’t be able to do this.

    My glove box trunk release was not working for some reason, so I followed your lead and made a MacGyver tool of my own using a broom and vise grips. The intent was to lock the tool around the metal rod; however, I couldn’t get the grips to close, so instead I twisted the broom so the mouth of the vise grips still grabbed the rod, even tho the mouth was open. Then I pulled the rod to my left (Miata right) and the trunk popped open!
    Thank you again for your instructions.


    1 year ago

    Thanks everybody, and for SwngrStyle did you try pulling the drivers seat and accessing from there? Might need a golf club or something thinner that is just as rigid.


    1 year ago

    This was a great bit of advice, thank you. However, it should be noted that if your spare tire is installed, you will not be able to gain access this way. It blocks the passenger side access hole completely and I was not able to find a way to remove it. Looks like I am going back to the drawing board :(


    4 years ago

    This is excellent. Thank you for sharing.

    We had an incident last winter in a deserted and unfamiliar area with a dead battery. When the battery (which as you know is located in the trunk) is dead, the latch release button will not work. Domino effect in motion. The jumper cables were in the trunk. Using the 25 year old key in the cold weather to open the trunk, the key finally decided it was ready to retire and broke off in the tumbler. My husband now called is on his 1 1/2 hour drive to me with the spare key and one stop off for new jumper cables. Of course Mazda didn't plan ahead for suck a domino effect, so they did not create posts on the engine for direct engine jumps, but hubby was brilliant and found a way.

    I have since been told, the trunk release cable fails often on older Miata's. It becomes stretched and worn over time. With our experiences and your ingenuity in mind, I am now wondering what could be rigged as an emergency pull cord to permanently remain somewhere inconspicuously but accessible when or if the need arrises.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Until I can purchase a new lock cylinder I am using a fishing leader that has clips on both ends and which was extremely to connect and seems to be working just fine as a temporary release lever.