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If the latch on an '03 focus (not hatch back) just clicks at you 4 or 5 times and never actually closes what needs to be fixed?

I can't close my trunk. The black plastic thing that the latch is supposed to hook on to was pretty battered when I first tried to figure out what was going on and I took it off. I tried replacing it with copious amounts of electrical tape, but that didn't help, it just got chewed up by the latch.

I'm not sure what to look for to replace the part that I know is broken, and I'm not sure that the real issue is the part I took off. I think there may be some mechanical failure in the trunk's latch, otherwise it would make a normal sound when hitting the button to open the trunk.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

There are two usual problems associated with latches failing to latch.

The first (and simplest) is an alignment problem - if the striker is too far from the latch, it will never trigger it and thus it won't latch. You can test this by getting hold of something a similar diameter to the striker (such as a screwdriver) and trying to use that to trigger the latch. If that works, it is simply a case of re-adjusting both parts until it latches cleanly. This is hinted at by your second paragraph as chewing up the striker is a common symptom of misalignment.

If that doesn't work, then the second likely thing is that the latch has failed or something is preventing it from closing. If it is rarely used this might simply be down to it gumming up, in which case cleaning out the mechanism and re-greasing the appropriate bits may fix it. Is it an electrically operated one or mechanical? If it is mechanical the cable might be stiff and so not letting the latch close properly, but I would assume it is electrical and thus that wouldn't be the problem.

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Yeah, it's electrical. I guess I'll have to try taking it apart. Is there a particular kind of grease I should use. I doused it with WD-40, but I don't think that was a good idea. – Peter Turner Jul 28 '11 at 13:01
@PeterTurner WD-40 is a solvent with a bit of very light lubricant on soln. lubricate the latch with some bicycle chain oil. worked for me – user1281 Dec 4 '11 at 20:27

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