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Tailgate, driving with it open?

905 Views 15 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  NoMoreDomestic
OK, first I'll confess. I damaged my tailgate back in August by forgetting to close it before driving into my garage. The tailgate and glass had to be replaced. Big PITA. But it nearly happened again yesterday.

As far as I can tell, there is no interlock that prevents you from driving around with your tailgate wide open. This seems counter-intuitive. Yes, I know, there's a warning on the center display when you start the car and/or put it in Drive that the tailgate is open. And, yes, I know, I can lower the height to which the tailgate can open; but that height is too low to effectively access the cargo area.

I would appreciate any (constructive) suggestions for addressing this.

Thanks!
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Back in the day when I had a class A motorcoach (8 mpg on a good day) there was always a fear of driving away with the TV antenna extended. There were two ways that folks "reminded" themselves to lower the antenna. The most foolproof way was to hang the ignition key from the antenna handle. When you retrieve the key you would be reminded to lower the antenna. The next best way was to fasten a hair clip to the antenna handle. When you raised the antenna you would move the clip to top of the steering wheel. The clip was a reminder right there in your face.
 

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Before putting it into Drive, train yourself to put it in Reverse for a second first. If you are look at the sky on the screen, then you will know you forgot it was open. I've trained myself when I go into a parking spot that I don't know if I am centered in my spot, I put it into reverse quick to see if my guide lines are between the parking spot lines. If not, I'm already in reverse to back up a bit and then park properly.
 

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When I go for a bike ride I will leave an empty water bottle on the floor my my driver side so I have to trip over the empty bottle as a reminder to grab my water from the fridge, or to even get a bottle of water.

When I want to be sure to check air pressure in my bike tire the following morning I will put the floor pump in front of the car door so I can't leave without moving the pump.

If I have cargo or something that I don't want to leave behind, I will put part of it on the driver side so I can see it. For instance, years ago I was dirt bike riding and it ended up snowing/raining.
I changed out of my gear and got in the truck. it wasn't until I got home that I realized my boots were gone.
From that day forward I keep everything on my driver side.
If I am helping people move, I will lay my tie straps on the driver side so I don't forget to take inventory and load everything before I go.

Perhaps you need to maybe put something on your driver seat that reminds you not to leave. Doesn't have to be 'hatch' related as long as you realize you can't sit down yet which will remind you to use your eyes to see the door is still open.
Maybe take up permanent backing up to park so you have to walk out to an open rear door before you can even get in the car.

I have the same fear as you have already experienced. I've set my hatch to not open far enough to present any issues if I accidentally close the garage door.
I have a small 2x4 laying on the floor for me to bump against as my parking indicator. It is positioned in a way that if I park backward or forward, the hatch can open interference-free regardless which way I am facing to park.
 

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At the risk of sounding like a jerk, this is some basic driving competency stuff. I'd hate for there to be some interlock preventing driving with the tailgate open, it's a fairly useful thing to do if you ever need to haul lumber or anything like that.
 

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A quick look in the interior rearview mirror would immediately reveal if the tailgate is wide open.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yeah, I know, I'm a "big boy" who can look in the rear view mirror and see that gate is open, the image on the screen, etc. etc. Don't recall any warning sound, but suspect it's there like someone said. But I've just gotten home with a load of groceries, or my golf clubs and push-cart, or a bunch of hunting gear from a weekend of bird hunting. I park in front of the garage door cuz my tailgate can't open far enough when in the garage, and unload whatever, and then I jump back in to pull into the garage. I'm not going in the garage in reverse, so no reason to look in the rear view. Just drive 15' and BLA M! the tailgate slams into the garage door header.

Of course I hope to take some of your suggestions to heart and use them to save myself this headache. But these vehicles have lots of accident-preventive features and interlock systems to prevent carelessness, e.g. you can't shift into Park while driving along at 25mph. Can't imagine Toyota wants us to drive down the highway at speed with the tailgate open, with or without a load of lumber in the cargo area.

Just whining, hoping maybe there was something I had overlooked. Thanks for your suggestions.
 

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Yeah, I know, I'm a "big boy" who can look in the rear view mirror and see that gate is open, the image on the screen, etc. etc. Don't recall any warning sound, but suspect it's there like someone said. But I've just gotten home with a load of groceries, or my golf clubs and push-cart, or a bunch of hunting gear from a weekend of bird hunting. I park in front of the garage door cuz my tailgate can't open far enough when in the garage, and unload whatever, and then I jump back in to pull into the garage. I'm not going in the garage in reverse, so no reason to look in the rear view. Just drive 15' and BLA M! the tailgate slams into the garage door header.

Of course I hope to take some of your suggestions to heart and use them to save myself this headache. But these vehicles have lots of accident-preventive features and interlock systems to prevent carelessness, e.g. you can't shift into Park while driving along at 25mph. Can't imagine Toyota wants us to drive down the highway at speed with the tailgate open, with or without a load of lumber in the cargo area.

Just whining, hoping maybe there was something I had overlooked. Thanks for your suggestions.
Sounds like you'd benefit most by backing into your driveway area after returning from your outings that required vehicle unloading. One..... you'll be closer to putting away whatever it is that needs put away and Two..... you will see the door open before you finalize the parking.
Optionally you can pull part way into your garage in either direction. Perhaps your oddball parking habit will remind you that you are parked that way for a reason, being a reminder that you need to lower the rear door.
Does your door operate by a kick sensor? Hate to ask that obvious question -or maybe I reminded you about it.
Alternatively take one of my other suggestions, leave something on the seat. Your key perhaps. If you have to move your key to get in the car, it could act as the reminder.
 

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Yeah, I know, I'm a "big boy" who can look in the rear view mirror and see that gate is open, the image on the screen, etc. etc. Don't recall any warning sound, but suspect it's there like someone said. But I've just gotten home with a load of groceries, or my golf clubs and push-cart, or a bunch of hunting gear from a weekend of bird hunting. I park in front of the garage door cuz my tailgate can't open far enough when in the garage, and unload whatever, and then I jump back in to pull into the garage. I'm not going in the garage in reverse, so no reason to look in the rear view. Just drive 15' and BLA M! the tailgate slams into the garage door header.

Of course I hope to take some of your suggestions to heart and use them to save myself this headache. But these vehicles have lots of accident-preventive features and interlock systems to prevent carelessness, e.g. you can't shift into Park while driving along at 25mph. Can't imagine Toyota wants us to drive down the highway at speed with the tailgate open, with or without a load of lumber in the cargo area.

Just whining, hoping maybe there was something I had overlooked. Thanks for your suggestions.
Once you start going above a few MPH it will start beeping if the tailgate is open. It wont stop either until you go under that few MPH or close the gate. I helped a friend pick up a door for his house and it was 2" too long for the tailgate to shut. For the 5 mile (15 minute) drive through town, we got to hear that beeping the whole time except when we were stopped.
 

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Well, there is the answer. The OP is not entering the garage at a high enough speed to trigger the warning. Just go faster.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Our "garage" is really just one third of our unfinished basement (115 year old house). We can park 2 cars in it, but "nose" to "tail", not side by side. Passengers have to unload before the cars can be pulled into the garage. And there is about 1' of clearance over the vehicle (less when passing under the garage door opener). So it's a tight space and not big enough to set off the audio warning with speed. Maybe 1 mph is how fast we pull into the garage.

I think I'll train myself to lay something up on the dash as a reminder whenever I have to unload the cargo area before entering the garage.

Thanks again for all of your comments.
 

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Our "garage" is really just one third of our unfinished basement (115 year old house). We can park 2 cars in it, but "nose" to "tail", not side by side. Passengers have to unload before the cars can be pulled into the garage. And there is about 1' of clearance over the vehicle (less when passing under the garage door opener). So it's a tight space and not big enough to set off the audio warning with speed. Maybe 1 mph is how fast we pull into the garage.

I think I'll train myself to lay something up on the dash as a reminder whenever I have to unload the cargo area before entering the garage.

Thanks again for all of your comments.
The arm from the garage door opener to the physical door clears my hatch by only a couple inches. I manually opened/closed the garage door and it seems I would be clear of the metal arm. It is not worth the risk that at another point in the travel or if the car is in the garage in an unusual position that there could be contact. I installed a tow hitch and the car was not 'parked' in the garage and was in an unusual location. The hatch was open the whole day during the work. Of course I couldn't not actually drive the vehicle but that's just one example of when forgetfulness could have been a bad thing. I don't think I can clear the door header if I chose to drive in/out of the garage with an open hatch. Keeping mine adjusted to a few inches lower than maximum opening height I've [hopefully] removed all that potential.
I can see your situation being a problem for people like me who have a routine of driving then stopping. Occasionally breaking routine like opening the hatch then forgetting NOT to open the garage door. I load my bicycle gear into the cargo area and leave the hatch open until I am satisfied I've finished. I may choose to open the garage door to get my bicycle out of the garage -could be an accident by not lowering the hatch just to get my bike out of the garage.

I'm sure you are not the only person to have had the hatch repaired due to low clearance.
 

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I damaged my tailgate back in August by forgetting to close it before driving into my garage.
We had minor damage when we opened or closed the garage door when the tailgate was open. The opener mechanism would hit it causing some nicks. once it happened when my wife opened the tailgate and then I opened the garage door when I got home.

But it turns out you can adjust the tailgate’s opening amount, which we did and, now the tailgate is always low enough. I have to duck a little but it’s better than damaging the car. Maybe you could do this too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
We had minor damage when we opened or closed the garage door when the tailgate was open. The opener mechanism would hit it causing some nicks. once it happened when my wife opened the tailgate and then I opened the garage door when I got home.

But it turns out you can adjust the tailgate’s opening amount, which we did and, now the tailgate is always low enough. I have to duck a little but it’s better than damaging the car. Maybe you could do this too.
Stephen,
Yes, I looked into that. Unfortunately, the heights of our garage door header and the overhead ceiling (joists), light fixtures, and garage door motor assembly require the tailgate to be so low as to make access impractical. But thanks for the suggestion anyhow.
 
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