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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2020 Outback Limited XT. Has anyone encountered this problem? I was putting the new license plate on, with the key fob in my pocket, and the sensor in the Subaru emblem must have noticed me and decided to open the back hatch while I was bent over in front of it. I simply pushed back on it and closed it. But now it won't latch (the car dash shows the rear lift gate is open) and none of the three buttons to operate the door will work (the key fob, the button on the door itself, and the button on the dash). I've tried holding various buttons down with no result. The salesman checked with a service guy who suggested I open it fully, then gently close it, and then press to hold the door closed for a few seconds to see if the latch would engage. It didn't. I also called Subaru for advice and the rep said they don't even have the 2020 manuals in their system yet, and she definitely doesn't know what to suggest - other than towing it to the dealer. The sales guy suggested I tie the hatch shut from the inside and drive it in - and listen the the warning beep for the hour & ten minute drive. And since the car thinks the back hatch is open, the interior lights and the little LED lights in the side mirrors stay on. I was able to switch off all of the interior lights (three different switches...the front, the middle, and the rear) but can't switch off the side mirror lights (and can't find a way to disable them in the control system in the dash). Sales rep suggested disconnecting the battery to prevent it dying, and suggested that might even reset the latch and fix the problem. I haven't tried that yet. Today is Saturday and I don't really want to wait until Monday, and don't really want to drive it to the dealer. Does anyone have any experience with this? I think I also need to learn the rules for properly opening and closing the hatch.
 

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2020 OB Limited, Titanium & Magnetite Grays
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So now I learned not to install my rear licience plate without first turning off the power on the dash.
*Disconnecting the battery could help with a reset. Expect it will take a 10mm socket/wrench. Wait some time before reconnecting.
*Check or replace the applicable fuse
* Driving the vehicle with the gate not properly sealed/closed could allow CO from the exhaust to enter the cabin which can kill. Be warned! If you are like me, after checking it all, I would possibly decide to drive it anyway with the following restrictions. 1) Keep the windows open 2) Max the heater fan for outside air 3) Get and activate a battery powered carbon monoxide detector then place it in a good location in your vehicle. 4) Keep in mind that safety experts would insist you not drive the vehicle. You will be driving at your own risk. I offered 1-3 in case you decide to do something dangerous but NOT making a recommendation to drive it. Good luck
 

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2020 Onyx
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I have a 2020 Outback Limited XT. Has anyone encountered this problem? I was putting the new license plate on, with the key fob in my pocket, and the sensor in the Subaru emblem must have noticed me and decided to open the back hatch while I was bent over in front of it. I simply pushed back on it and closed it. But now it won't latch (the car dash shows the rear lift gate is open) and none of the three buttons to operate the door will work (the key fob, the button on the door itself, and the button on the dash). I've tried holding various buttons down with no result. The salesman checked with a service guy who suggested I open it fully, then gently close it, and then press to hold the door closed for a few seconds to see if the latch would engage. It didn't. I also called Subaru for advice and the rep said they don't even have the 2020 manuals in their system yet, and she definitely doesn't know what to suggest - other than towing it to the dealer. The sales guy suggested I tie the hatch shut from the inside and drive it in - and listen the the warning beep for the hour & ten minute drive. And since the car thinks the back hatch is open, the interior lights and the little LED lights in the side mirrors stay on. I was able to switch off all of the interior lights (three different switches...the front, the middle, and the rear) but can't switch off the side mirror lights (and can't find a way to disable them in the control system in the dash). Sales rep suggested disconnecting the battery to prevent it dying, and suggested that might even reset the latch and fix the problem. I haven't tried that yet. Today is Saturday and I don't really want to wait until Monday, and don't really want to drive it to the dealer. Does anyone have any experience with this? I think I also need to learn the rules for properly opening and closing the hatch.
Have you tried turning off (or on) the memory height button on your dash? This glitch could be somehow related to memory liftgate height?
 

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2020 OB Limited, Titanium & Magnetite Grays
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I started thinking about the unexpected opening and decided I should consider turning off the tailgate while going through a car wash, just in case.
 

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When you opened it, did you check for anything in the area where the latch is on the body? Make sure nothing fell down in there and is keeping it from closing all the way. When the gate latch is activated, does it try and pull the gate closed? or just nothing?

you could try to disconnect the battery, and then re-initialize the rear gate afterwards....

475200


475201
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks all! I'm happy to report that it's fixed. Disconnecting the battery did the trick. We left it disconnected for a minute, hooked it back up, and then tried closing the open lift gate. None of the buttons worked, and the earlier beep-beep-beep didn't sound either (which it had while it was malfunctioning). So it was encouraging that something was different. Then we manually closed the lift gate gently...and it latched! Then I turned the car on and tried all the buttons and this time everything worked!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Somehow by pushing the hatch closed I messed up the automatic closing system, which also messed up the function of the latch. Disconnecting the battery seems to have allowed it to reset.
 

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2020 Onyx
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Thanks all! I'm happy to report that it's fixed. Disconnecting the battery did the trick. We left it disconnected for a minute, hooked it back up, and then tried closing the open lift gate. None of the buttons worked, and the earlier beep-beep-beep didn't sound either (which it had while it was malfunctioning). So it was encouraging that something was different. Then we manually closed the lift gate gently...and it latched! Then I turned the car on and tried all the buttons and this time everything worked!
Seems like "unplug it and plug it back in" is something to add to our car troubleshooting arsenal.
 

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Somehow by pushing the hatch closed I messed up the automatic closing system, which also messed up the function of the latch. Disconnecting the battery seems to have allowed it to reset.
yeah, that section in the manual seems to indicate that if it "detects an abnormality while operating" that it would need to be initialized again... but the battery shouldn't have needed to be disconnected. Or maybe it did in this case! at least it's fixed.
 

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2021 Outback Onyx XT; 2005 Outback XT
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On the inside of the tailgate, there is a cover that comes off that exposes the latch mechanism. Maybe flipping that mechanism would do it? See video (go to 6:50):


edit: just saw that you fixed it.
 

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I’m glad it’s fixed, but all of this begs the question... do I need to keep a 10 mm wrench with me at all times, and show my wife how to disconnect and re-connect the battery, all so that if, while opening the tailgate, we stop it for any reason?
 

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2020 Outback Onyx XT
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I’m glad it’s fixed, but all of this begs the question... do I need to keep a 10 mm wrench with me at all times, and show my wife how to disconnect and re-connect the battery, all so that if, while opening the tailgate, we stop it for any reason?
Well, when driving a Japanese car, it's always a good idea to carry a 10mm socket or wrench. You could probably take half the car apart with just a 10mm wrench.

But more seriously, I always keep a set of screwdrivers, torque wrench and the correct socket size for my wheels and a couple of socket sizes in my car at all times.
 

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I’m glad it’s fixed, but all of this begs the question... do I need to keep a 10 mm wrench with me at all times, and show my wife how to disconnect and re-connect the battery, all so that if, while opening the tailgate, we stop it for any reason?
Or a high quality battery disconnect switch to the negative terminal of the battery.
 

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I’m glad it’s fixed, but all of this begs the question... do I need to keep a 10 mm wrench with me at all times, and show my wife how to disconnect and re-connect the battery, all so that if, while opening the tailgate, we stop it for any reason?
I always have a multitool and a screwdriver with a few bits for it. Always useful to have along.


Side note: “Raises the question” or “asks the question”. Begs the question is a type of informal fallacy.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
On the inside of the tailgate, there is a cover that comes off that exposes the latch mechanism. Maybe flipping that mechanism would do it? See video (go to 6:50):


edit: just saw that you fixed it.
That's a great video -thanks!
 

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See walker's response above. They provided the pages from the manual that should have been followed first to report the results. From reading the manual, this procedure used the words to describe the problem posted here.and a non 10mm solution was given.

Instead of having your wife a 10mm socket I recommend storing a copy of the manual on her phone. Understanding the method to perform a simple search for this hudge manual will make things easy.

This manual has been well written and should be used to solve problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I’m glad it’s fixed, but all of this begs the question... do I need to keep a 10 mm wrench with me at all times, and show my wife how to disconnect and re-connect the battery, all so that if, while opening the tailgate, we stop it for any reason?
It seems that it's okay to stop the tailgate at certain points, but somehow I found just the wrong point! I wish I had instant replay to see exactly what I did.
 

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Subaru should include a battery disconnect switch and add that as the last resort in a troubleshooting section of the manual. Should be labled "Reset".
 

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It seems that it's okay to stop the tailgate at certain points, but somehow I found just the wrong point! I wish I had instant replay to see exactly what I did.
From reading the manual I think the problem can be recreated by stopping the automatic opening when the tailgate is automatically opening within 2 inches of being closed and a curp will be heard. This should recreate what happened. Did you hear a curp? If this is what happened it can be fixed without tools by following the initialization process.

From the manual
p 150 When closing the rear gate after opening it, make sure to use the power rear gate. If you close the rear gate manually with extra force, the power rear gate may be damaged.
p 156 If the power rear gate detects some abnormality while operating, an electronic chirp will sound and the power rear gate operation will be automatically stopped in either opening or closing position. In this case, the system needs to be initialized in the following order to restart the function properly. p 157 1. Keep pressing the rear gate opener button until it is unlocked. 2. Lift up the rear gate. 3. Pulldownthereargateuntilitstartsto close automatically. The system will be initialized once the gate is fully closed. 4. Operatethepowerreargateandcheck that the function operates properly.
 

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2020 Touring XT, Cinnamon Brown Pearl
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So now I learned not to install my rear licience plate without first turning off the power on the dash.
LOL -- I did the exact same thing. Looks like the forehead is the most reliable body part for activating the hands-free sensor...
 
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