I have a 2008 Prius with remote keyless entry. I accidentally drained my battery by mistake. The locks do not respond, and trying to turn on the power puts the car into a strange low power error state.

I would like to open the hatch to get to the auxiliary battery, but I cannot find an exterior keyed lock or other switch to open it.

Is there a way I can open the hatch even if the battery is dead? Is there some kind if internal switch to open it?

  • 1
    Note: it is not necessary to open the hatch when the battery is dead. The Prius has a battery under the hood that can be jumped. I was able to open the hood and use a stand-alone battery to bring my Prius back to life. However, if you need to get into the hatch with a dead battery, see below. Apr 6, 2015 at 2:55
  • Thank you Michael Diedrick. Your information is exactly what all of us were looking for, not all the others who talked about ways to electrically open the hatch. It's odd that Toyota didn't put that mechanical opening latch in a more accessible place in the car for situations like this.
    – user14761
    Feb 1, 2016 at 16:54

4 Answers 4


See here for a step-by-step and pictures.

  • Thank you. I verified that this technique does work. And my, that level is both hard to see and hard to manipulate! Oct 6, 2013 at 17:16
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    While this may technically answer the question, Stack Exchange answers should be self-contained and the final stop for the solution to the problem in the question. It would be preferable for you to summarize the linked material here. Otherwise, the answer is at risk of losing its usefulness due to link rot.
    – jscs
    Oct 7, 2013 at 7:59
  • @JoshCaswell - I'm sorry I don't meet your standard. It appears that you're displeased with the quality of my answer. I look forward to seeing your answer, which I'm sure will be more comprehensive and avoid the link rot issue. Oct 7, 2013 at 8:34
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    @FriendlyGreasemonkey it's not JoshCaswell's standards it's the community's. Provide context for links Links to external resources are encouraged, but please add context around the link so your fellow users will have some idea what it is and why it’s there. Always quote the most relevant part of an important link, in case the target site is unreachable or goes permanently offline. Please see the Help section for more information Oct 7, 2013 at 20:59
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    "Step-by-step and pictures" was ample context for the link. Seems there are more people critiquing the answers than those providing them in this "community." Pity that. Oct 8, 2013 at 2:41

I just went through a similar problem with my 2009 Prius, which had a dead 12-volt battery. I think the "low power error state" you are experiencing is the car's alarm going off. I was not able to open the trunk mechanically, but here's what I did:

  • Following the instructions in my manual, I opened the driver's door with the spare mechanical key and opened the hood.
  • Began charging the battery with an external battery charger connected to the charging points under the front hood.
  • When the horn starts beeping, indicating that the alarm is going off, merely unlock the doors using the internal door-switch.
  • Once you've done this, you can keep charging the 12-volt battery until you have enough power to open the hatch normally (and you can start the ICE).
  • At this point, you can pick up the rear compartment carpet and (in the 2009) open a hinged compartment on the right-hand side of the trunk to find the 12-volt battery.

I replaced the stock battery with an Optima Yellow Top as per this website's recommendation: http://priusdiy.com/tutorials/interior/12vBatteryReplacement.html


I replaced the fronts brakes this morning, and I followed some great instructions to do this. One step was to disconnect the ground from the battery. Cool, I do that and shut the hatch. I finish the brakes and now I can't open the hatch, nor can I reconnect the battery.

Here was my solution:

Hook up jumper cables from my wife's car as if I were going to start my car, and just open the hatch.

I imagine you might have to race the engine of the 'donor' car if Prius battery was way dead.


It is not necessary to charge the vehicle to open the trunk.

Just unlock the car manually (if it's locked), climb into the hatch, open the floor hatch to the spare tire area, and reach underneath the door latch in the open space and there's a lever that unlatches it.

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