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How to Open Your Toyota Prius Trunk (a.k.a Boot) When Your Battery Is Dead

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The Toyota Prius Owner's Manual makes opening the rear door from the inside look easy. It's not a simple two step process.

The Toyota Prius Owner's Manual makes opening the rear door from the inside look easy. It's not a simple two step process.

It's bad enough that you got into your Toyota Prius, pressed the Power button, and nothing happened. It's made infuriating when you discover that your trunk lid doesn't open because that little black button that pops it up is battery operated.

If you want to jump start your Toyota Prius with jumper cables, you DO NOT NEED TO OPEN THE REAR DOOR. Just like a regular car, there is a regular car battery under the hood. Open the hood, and you will find it under the black cover in the back, right corner. I've included a great video at the end of this article with step-by-step instructions to jump-start your Prius.

However, if you are awaiting roadside service or a friend with a car and jumper cables and you need to get into the trunk in the meantime, this is the problem I will show you how to solve. You probably tried to consult your owner's manual and found easy-looking instructions. An easy two-step process: 1) remove the cover and 2) pull the lever.

If you are reading this, you learned that 1) it's not an easy two-step process 2) there is nothing in your trunk that remotely resembles either of those diagrams and 3) it's not easy to get to the trunk when the rear door doesn't open.

Here's a step-by-step photographic guide to open your Prius trunk (a.k.a Boot, a.k.a Rear Door) when your battery is dead.

Step 1: Flip Down the Rear Seats

Push the button next to the seat belts on both rear seats and pull down the seat backs.

Push the button next to the seat belts on both rear seats and pull down the seat backs.

To begin, you need access to your trunk from inside the car. Unless you are exceptionally small and Barbie doll thin, you will not fit through the narrow opening between the top of the rear seats and the inside of your roof. Of course, this is where small children can come in handy, but that's the subject for another article.

Press down on the button, and pull down the seat backs for both rear seats. You can now go caving into your Prius trunk in search of the Holy Grail: The Door Lever.

Step 2: Pull Back the Carpet to Expose the Tool Box

Pull back the carpet to expose access to the tool box.

Pull back the carpet to expose access to the tool box.

Hopefully, you are one of those rare individuals that doesn't actually store anything in their car trunk. If you are not, step 1a is to empty your trunk.

Once empty, you can pull back the carpet to expose the toolbox. You are looking for the tiny fabric tab very near the rear door.

Step 3: Pull Back the Tool Box Lid

You need to pull the tiny fabric tab near the rear door to open the tool box.

You need to pull the tiny fabric tab near the rear door to open the tool box.

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Pull on that fabric tab to open the toolbox lid. It should open easily, but If the lid resists you, take a breath. It's not trying to add to your already bad day, it's just locked.

To the left and right of the tab, respectively, are two locks. To unlock the toolbox, the arrows on the locks should point to the side (left for the left side lock, right for the right side lock). If they point to your rear door, they are laughing at you and keeping your toolbox lid locked.

Turn the two tool box locks to 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock. If the arrow points at your closed trunk lid, your tool box lid is locked.

Turn the two tool box locks to 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock. If the arrow points at your closed trunk lid, your tool box lid is locked.

Step 4: Remove the Cover

There is a plastic cover in the tool box lining that protects access to the trunk lever. Remove it. This picture is with cover removed.

There is a plastic cover in the tool box lining that protects access to the trunk lever. Remove it. This picture is with cover removed.

We have now joined the owner's manual already in progress... you can now remove the plastic cover.

The toolbox lining has a small plastic cover that protects access to The Door Lever. You can easily pry it off. If it makes you feel better to express your increasing anger at this process, use a screwdriver and damn the owner's manual... pry that cover off and don't use a rag to protect it. It's a cheap piece of plastic whose sole purpose is to obscure access to the door lever.

Personally, I threw my cover out. It was gratifying, and it will never again block my access to the door lever.

Step 5: Pull the Door Lever

Pull that silver, backward c-shaped lever toward you. The trunk door will pop open.

Pull that silver, backward c-shaped lever toward you. The trunk door will pop open.

This is where the owner's manual writers were seriously smoking something. The manual makes it appear that 1) this lever is easy to find and 2) you can pull it up.

First of all, you are going to have to feel around for this lever. It's buried inside the rear door and, because you are already reaching through the toolbox liner that is IN the body of your car, it is below your eye level. You head won't fit into the toolbox to look the door lever in the eye.

Second, the owner's manual arrow is drawn incorrectly. You couldn't possibly pull that lever up from the position in which you are contorted. It defies physics.

Reach two fingers straight into the black abyss, once you feel this lever, pull it TOWARDS you. Voila! Trunk door pops open, you can push it up, and feel the freedom like Tim Robbins at the end of The Shawshank Redemption.

Finally, Relax

Your trunk door is open. Take a breath. Lie in your trunk, enjoy the moment, drink that margarita. You still have to jump-start your Prius.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

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