I am one of the many victims of the defective Prius 2007 hatch opening switch. After 4 years the rubber cover turned to tar. I bought a new switch assembly and thought I’d change it myself.
These instruction at the PriusChat forum help enormously! The disassembly is not difficult if you know what to disassemble!
Double check for yourself, but the part number 84840-47020 is for the 2007 Prius without Smart Entry (the little rubber buttons to lock the door) and 84905-47010 with smart entry. They sold me the wrong switch, the one without smart entry. However, I understand the right one is about $40 more and I should be able to use part of the old assembly with the new assembly to make one that works and not pay the extra bucks.
I will do this!
This is what you want! Rubber replacement cover for the switch. I just did mine. While it was a gooey mess, it works like a dream now! I bought mine from the company through eBay, but it looks like you can buy it direct as well. Enjoy.
2008 Toyota Prius, read latch switch, is sticky black mess. Only 25K miles on car.
What a mess
I bought the part on line (84840-47010, $76) for my 2007 Prius, but the Toyota dealer who sold it to me sent the wrong part (84840-47020) w/o the Smart lock button. When I called he said he checked my VIN and the part I ordered was incorrect. I finally convinced him my vehicle does have a Smart button and I did order the correct part. He reluctantly sent me the correct part and pre-paid return for the incorrect part.
During replacement I couldn’t get the three screws off the bracket that holds the Smart button, even after letting them sit with a spray-on loosener, so I had to drill them out and put in new sheet metal screws. Other than that it was no problem. I can’t imagine trying to clean all the old melted rubber off the old switch; it was all through it. I’m surprised it worked at all. The new one is so smooth.
I just got used 2007 Prius few week ago and found same issue as you guys seen. I searched Toyota Japan web site and it seems that they are offering 9 years extend warranty of this part due to rubber degradation issue for Sep/2006~Aug/2009 Prius(MFG date. Not model year) in Japan as of Nov./2011 release note. (https://toyota.jp/recall/kaisyu/121107.html)
Why we cannot have same program in US??
Toyota Customer Experience was patient and explanatory of their workings and procedures. I will see what my dealership comes up with in response to my presenting the problem to them.
I had the same problem. My kid yanked on the handle so hard the whole plastic piece came off. I went with the inner tube idea and super glue. Scraped and cleaned all of the melted rubber with nail polish remover and the switch worked perfect. Glued on the cut inner tube and reattached the screws. I had to glue the broken plastic as well but seems good so far. 5$ fix rather than 500$! thanks for the idea.
Everyone needs to make a claim at the number below!! Once they get enough they will open a campaign to repair or reimburse but she said not enough people have called yet. I just did mine today but I am paying and keeping reciept. This is my email response from toyota headquarters.
Thank you for contacting Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. Your case is filed at our headquarters office under your name and file #xxxxxxxxx
If you have any further questions, please contact us at 800-331-4331. Our hours of operation are 5:00 am to 6:00 pm PST Monday through Friday and 7:00 am to 4:00 pm PST Saturday.
Toyota Customer Experience
I had the same trunk latch handle with the gooey black stuff, my trunk got harder and harder to open, one day it just broke off, now i can’t lock my car. had to get it fixed, cost me 700.00 at the dealers, i think we should get together and demand a recall ?
Glad to know it’s not just me. Why Toyota won’t admit and fix it is beyond me. It’s a great car, they’ve got a good reputation, and considering how many people I’ve convinced to get a Prius, you’d think it’d be a cheap way to gain even more loyalty.
I have a 2008 Prius with the defective hatchback opening mechanism. It’s gotten
harder and harder to open over the past seven months … to the point this past
Sunday that when I yanked upwards I thought the plastic was going to break, as
I have just read here. I took it to Elmore Toyota in Westminster, California and
was shocked when the service rep called to tell me a few hours later that
replacement was needed and the cost was $570, and they would have to order
the part. I complained and asked about a senior discount and the rep reduced
the quote to $495. He also said there is a possible safety risk due to it being part
of the electrical system. I gave them the go-ahead as I need to have access through
the hatchback for putting large dog crates in and out quiet frequently. Has anyone
been successful in getting reimbursement from Toyota for this defective parts
problem and if so, please tell me what steps to take.
Here’s one person who was able to get his hatch fixed free:
“Update: Oct. 3, 2013. I’m pleased to report that Toyota Motor Corp. and my local dealer have now agreed to fix this goof at no cost. I’ve made clear I hope this courtesy is being extended not just to me — because of my squeaky-wheeledness — but to all owners with similar defects, because the company now realizes it’s responsible. Share your experiences below or on the NHTSA website.”
But as he says, it’s partly because he’s on the Chicago TV news. Here’s his blog:
I’m taking my ’07 Prius to the dealer tomorrow and showing them the 24 complaints posted on the NHTSA website on this sticky issue. Last year, they told me it would be $350 to replace my switch here in the DC suburbs of Maryland.
I called Toyota Customer Service tonight, and Jamaal in Torrance was extremely cordial, said he’d look up my issue tomorrow and call me back later.
But I’m glad I started perusing this blogsite. The Gorilla tape or old inner tube sounds like the best way to go. Those two Phillips screws seem to be the major hurdle. I don’t have deep sockets, or deep pockets.
My dealer wants $550 to fix this – when it’s a manufacturing defect, obviously. It should be a recall. Maybe we should write Toyota about this. I’m going to give this website to a local car repair person, who should do it for a lot less, since I am a single woman.
Thanks to all for advice! Here in NY my latch worked fine until last year. Got progressively worse this year until one night when I couldn’t open it at all. As for removing those two screws – I managed to do it with a bent (L shape) Phillips, but did it very slowly because it was clear they’d strip easily. In the end, I removed the inside door cover anyway, which (after removing four 10mm nuts with a deep socket) allowed me to detach the plastic panel from the outside door holding the latch – it provided much better access to those two screws!!! I then scraped off most of the gummy tar, replaced with Gorilla tape (excellent suggestion Don) (btw I added an upside down small piece of tape so the tape would not stick to the white plastic piece), screwed it back in place using two new “gutter screws”, then added silicon caulk all around the tape edges to better secure and seal it. It now works like new, and should last another 100k!?
Add our 2007 Toyota Prius to the long list of “black gooey lift gate” horror stories. Then take it one step further. Our hatch started sticking, and one day the entire panel housing the backup camera came off in my husband’s hands. We now have it taped on with double wide clear tape. We’re sure it’s gonna to be an expensive repair. Reading these comments has made us feel less alone though. Thanks!
I also used gorilla tape. Much stronger than duct tape or electrical tape.
I scraped off the old black stuff and then used some alcohol to clean the area.
Then cut a few pieces of the gorilla tape to seal off the whole area.
Total time = 5 minutes.
Even if I have to repeat every 6 months, no big deal.
Thanks to posters above for suggesting this easy fix.
Had the same issue. I fixed it in 5 minutes. Total cost -0- i had the tape.
1. Take a screwdriver GENTLY scrape the gooey rubber away.
Only remove enough so that you now feel the switch again moving normal.
2. Place a piece of Gorilla duct tape over the strip.
Ditto what Esteban Celis said. Part Number 84840-47010 doesn’t have the “Smart Key” locking switch connector, so I cut the wires and soldered in the new hatch release switch. Works fine. These videos helped me prepare, glad I watched them first, I avoided possibly breaking the brackets holding the interior cover panel on.
Many retailers get this confused, 47010 is not suppose to have the smart key button and 47020 is suppose to. I have often seen it reversed.
84840G 84840-47010 SWITCH ASSY, BACK DOOR OPENER (08.2003-…) NHW20; 1
84840G 84840-47020 SWITCH ASSY, BACK DOOR OPENER (08.2003-…) NHW20; W(SMART ENTRY)
Mine has been gummy for quite some time, but in the last couple of months it got increasingly hard to open. Then last night it wouldn’t open at all. When I tugged on it (and I wasn’t cranking real hard I thought) the entire plastic housing broke off in my hand! The temperature outside was cold, maybe 10F, but damn! That part is $240 from the dealership and doesn’t include the switch. I’m going to try to clean the switch as well as possible before I drop more money on that. Has anyone else had the plastic itself break? Half the entire piece came off in my hands. Of course it was the middle half, so it’s completely ruined.
Yup. I just spoke to my dealership in Atlanta about replacing the entire part, because it broke off in my hand. The rubber on the latch had totally melted and the trunk was difficult to open. I was strong-arming it trying to open it when SNAP, the left side of the entire plastic unit broke. I reattached it with duct tape. But because my rear-camera is attached to the plastic, I need to get it replaced. Cost with labor is going to be about $900! Toyota should step up and fix these for free as a recall issue. Why should those of us in hot climates have to pay to replace these things every few years?!
When I look online at the screws in the hatch openers that people have taken photos of they’re definitely Phillips. But on my car they’re definitely something else. There’s barely an indentation for a screwdriver. I’ve tried all my bits–Phillips, star, etc., nothing seems to fit. If I could get those out I think I have the perfect fix. But I can’t get them out. Maybe the dealer would do it for me.
Are those two screws really Phillips screws? I can’t seem to find much of a slot to get a Phillips head in to.
I think they are Phillips, but many folks strip them when trying to remove. I got mine out. Just be sure you have the right size screwdriver.
Hmmm. The only times my 2007 has been washed with soap is when the dealer washes it after a service. Otherwise I do it in the driveway with water only. Our latch was fine til this summer when my wife had to park in a lot of hot parking lots for her job. We’re in Kansas, where this summer was a fairly cool one. I’ll be trying the inner tube fix. Dealer wants $391 plus tax.
That replacement cost from the dealer is a rip-off. At most the replacement takes 15 minutes and the part is like $70. Sounds like a place to avoid.
After reviewing all this excellent information, I decided it was to hot this time a year in Florida to attempt some of these solution. So as a temporary fix (or maybe final depending on how long it last) I cut a couple strips of vinyl electricians tape and covered the sticky mess. Goop gone and the trunk opens fine.
A very practical solution.
But you’re just trapping the goop under the electrical tape!
You won’t get your fingers dirty, but the operation of the switch may get gummed up, which is what happened to my Prius.
Kevin’s never washing his vehicle notwithstanding, it is not a huge expectation that cars will get washed with soap and also waxed. Toyota, this is a poor combination of materials used to make this flexible switch cover. No one on this forum has been “abusing” their hatch release by washing their vehicle (even with soap). You made, or accepted from a vendor a poorly made part, and apparently will not take responsibility for it. A responsible corporation would admit the mistake and make a special part run of just the defective portion of the switch and distribute them for replacement at the Toyota dealers.
I have been noticing the gooey sticky tar-like substance on my hand when I use the rear hatch, which is always! I also have a 2007 Prius which has been washed very occasionally in the time I have owned it. I will look into replacing the rubber before it gums up my actual switch. Thanks for the information. It is unfortunate that Toyota is not handling this. It changes my thinking about future purchases.
Agreed ! TOYOTA…..if you don’t do a massive recall on this, all of my future purchases will be Honda in the years to come. Take ownership of this and be responsible and reputable. This is disgraceful !
Replacing the switch is a needless expense in our experience. My husband just took off the screws, dissolved all the rubber gunk out of the switch (which was completely gummed up with deteriorated rubber) using charcoal lighter fluid, and replaced the rubber seal with a piece of inner tubing. The latch works perfectly. The problem has been worsening from about the second year of ownership (we bought it new) and had finally reached the point where the hatch rarely opened. My husband said that when he got the gunk cleaned out of the switch, it actually opened in front of him. In other words, the gunk had stuck the switch partially open and partially closed. Toyota’s attitude toward this is a real downer for me as I have been a faithful Toyota owner and currently have two Prii and a Paseo. My car has also never been washed with soap, so Toyota cannot claim that as an excuse.
Thanks so much RhoRich — I have to say that is just the fix I have been looking for. The latch works, why fix it. I will be telling my husband about your experience.
My wife also has a 2007 prius with the same gooey mess. Kind of obvious that it was a manufacturing problem and not a random occurance. Thanks for the part numbers and suggested solutions.
I had same problem with my 2007 prius. The rear hatch has finally broken after being loose. I agree also that this is a common problem.
Esteban, I used the less-expensive part too. It works fine.
The problem is probably not the switch itself. The rubber cover is thick and eventually melts around the switch and prevents pushing it. I pulled the switch out with a short L shaped Phillips screwdriver and scrapped all the melted rubber away. The switch then worked fine. You can’t buy the rubber so I’m going to make my own. Temporarily I’ll use some duct tape and wrap it around the switch plate to seal it from the weather.
Norm, you are completely correct. The switch itself is not the problem, it’s the faulty rubber covering that deteriorates into a gooey mess and traps the switch operating bar from moving freely.
I have a 2008 Prius, and the same deteriorated rubber cover happened on my vehicle. I too managed to remove the retaining screws from the outside, and cleaned the gooey mess from the operating mechanism. That was the problem, not the switch itself. Once cleaned and an improvised new cover made from an old bike inner tube, the switch now works perfectly, it does not hang trying to work against the gooey junk that was trapping it.
If you have the smart key system don’t bother ordering part 84905-47010, which is about $74.00 online. Order instead the non-smart key switch (part No. 84840-47010), which costs about $30.00 less. The main reason is that as mentioned by several other posts, to take out the 3 “Phillips” screws that hold the smart key switch in the assembly is almost impossible (I stripped all three of mine). On my way to Home Depot to buy a set of screw extraction bits, I realized that it would be much simpler to leave the old smart key switch in (which works well), cut the two wires (red and black) that go from that switch to the hatch opening switch, remove the old hatch opening switch (that had the melted rubber), install the new one and simply connect the wires together and cover them well with electrical tape. This worked perfectly. I wish I thought of this and had ordered the less expensive part.
I think this is a bigger problem than just a few people are having. this has happened to me too. whenever I open the hatch, my fingers stick to a gooey black tar… It for sure is caused by the pink foamy soap from the do-it-yourself car wash. it is the only place that I ever washed the car, and it happened on the second year that I owned the car. the dealer (carmax) charges $62 for the assembly and $285 for the labor bringing the total to $347.00 parts and labor plus tax… I will try Randy’s 5 dollar quick fix first.
It’s not the car wash. My Prius has never been washed. NEVER!
I’ve never washed it with any chemicals or “pink foamy soap.” I live in Virginia. This is a flaw that Toyota should step up and take responsibility for.
I did get it installed and working.
I too have a 2007 prius that has a rear hatch switch on which the rubber cover has turned into a gooey tar like mess. I live in Georgia.
I have read that the only solution is to replace the switch. I stopped by my local dealer today and was told the same thing, With a song and dance about soap from washing being left there and deteroriating the cover, My switch works okay but my hands get black and gooey and I have ruined some clothing.
my attempt at a solution is this:
I cust a strip from an old rubber type chemical resistant glove that I had. stuckt it in place and the gooey mess held it there. I cut the strip so the edges folded over the edges of the old cover and replaced the screws. I spent much more time cleaning the mess from my hands and tool than actually doing the repair.
So far so good
best of luck
I’m gonna try your method on the hatch switch… you are brilliant Randy!
That story about soap is total BS. I have never washed my Prius, not one time, nor put any kind of soap, chemical, wax or anything else on it. The rubber is defective.
Great post. Just fixed mine (2008) but did not do any of the above. The following instructions are for Priuses with only a gooey rubber cover and working switches. I ordered part (84840-47010) from toyotapart.com http://www.toyotapart.com/84840-47010.html for $44.35 and 7.95 shipping to Houston, Tx. This is the switch assembly without the smart switch. If you have an “L” shaped or ratchet phillips screw driver, you can remove the 2 screws holding the gooey switch assembly. the assembly can be pulled out about 1 1/2″. you can open the white plastic housing and pull out the blue switch. When the new switch assembly arrives, open the new housing and remove the switch. Insert the old switch back into the new housing and reassemble. No wire cutting and no shroud or bolt removals…Voila! I may change the 2 black phillips screws with hex head screws for easier removal.
Followed your advice, made quick work of the switch change. Thank you!
Thanks for the tip Jimmy. I gambled and ordered a 84840-35010 assembly for a 4Runner instead, as it was $12 cheaper and the non-electrical parts looked identical. It swapped in fine, reusing the original switch as Jimmy suggested.
Thanks for this! I’d seen other folks mention splicing wires, but if the switch is fine, and the housing pops open, that’s much simpler! And thanks Keith for the mention of the 4Runner part that’s cheaper! Just purchased off eBay for $35. Yay.
Thanks for pointer. Made it easy. Thanks!