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What is a Power Liftgate on a Jeep? (FAQs)

What is a Power Liftgate on a Jeep? (FAQs)

Opening the rear of your Jeep Cherokee with your hands full is a difficult task. The liftgate must raise above the roof of your vehicle to allow you to safely place your items in without hitting your head. Power liftgates solve this problem. So, what exactly is a power liftgate on a Jeep? 

Power liftgates allow you to open and close the rear liftgate (a.k.a. hatchback style door) of your Jeep with just the push of a button. When one of the three buttons is pushed once it will open the power liftgate. When it is quickly pushed twice it will close the power liftgate without any physical assistance needed. The power liftgate can be manually closed also if needed. 

Below we will look at how the liftgate on a Jeep operates and what to do if it isn’t working properly. 

How a Jeep’s Power Liftgate Operates

The power liftgate allows you to open the rear liftgate on your Jeep Cherokee without the physical assistance needed in the past. There are three different locations you can use to control the liftgate. 

The most used location is the button marked LIFTGATE on your keyless remote transmitter. Pressing the button once will open the liftgate and allow you access to the rear of your vehicle. After the liftgate is opened, press the button twice to completely close the liftgate without any assistance needed from you. When the button is pushed, the turn signals will flash to signal the liftgate is closing or opening. 

You can also control the opening of the liftgate with a button on the dash of the vehicle. The LIFTGATE button, located to the left of the steering wheel next to the instrument panel, will operate the same as the button on your keyless remote. Pushing the button will open the liftgate, when the liftgate is open pressing the button will close it without assistance. 

The third button is in the inside rear of the vehicle on the left rear trim panel. This button, however, can only be used to close the liftgate. It will not open the liftgate if it is closed. You will need to open the liftgate with one of the other buttons.

Liftgate Operation Notes

If there is no power to open the liftgate, an emergency liftgate latch release is available to open the liftgate when it is closed. It is located behind a snap-on cover on the liftgate trim panel. 

Also, if the liftgate is left open for some time, it will need to be closed manually to restore the power to function the liftgate. 

The liftgate will not operate when your vehicle is in gear or motion. The vehicle will need to be in park or neutral for the power liftgate to operate.

The power liftgate will not operate in extreme temperatures. Any temperature over 150F or under -22F will cause the power liftgate to become inoperable. Any ice or snow that is built up on the back of your Jeep should be removed before operating your power liftgate. 

If the power liftgate becomes obstructed while opening or closing, it will automatically reverse in the opposite direction. 

The power lift tailgate has pinch sensors connected to each side of the power tailgate. Any pressure on these strips will cause the power liftgate to return to the fully open position. 

The power liftgate needs to be fully open and free from obstructions to use the LIFTGATE button on the left rear trim panel. If the power tailgate is not in the fully open position, it will need to be returned to the fully open position to shut the power liftgate with the button in the rear of the Jeep. 

If the power liftgate button is pressed as it is closing, the liftgate will return to the fully open position. If the power liftgate button is pressed while opening the liftgate will stop and need to be closed manually. 

If the power liftgate is closing while the vehicle is put in gear, it will continue to close.

Liftgate Warnings

During the liftgate power operation of your Jeep, personal injury or damage to objects can occur. Ensure the liftgate is clear from any obstruction and the liftgate is fully closed before attempting to operate the vehicle. 

Driving with the liftgate open could allow dangerous exhaust gasses to enter the vehicle. The liftgate should remain closed when the vehicle is in motion. If you do need to drive with the liftgate in the open position, it is recommended that all the windows of the vehicle remain closed and the climate control blower fan is set to the highest speed. 

Jeep Liftgate Problems and Solutions

Occasionally the power liftgate of your Jeep may stop operating. We will look at a few common causes and the solutions to these issues to keep your power liftgate operating properly.

Moisture Build-Up 

An excess of moisture is a common occurrence in the failure of the Jeep power liftgates. This problem should be an issue of the past. Jeep did issue a recall and has repaired vehicles that have had moisture issues with their liftgates. 

Dirty Rear Liftgate Latch 

A dirty liftgate rear latch can cause your power liftgate to become stuck in the closed or open position. If your liftgate is becoming stuck, ensure its latch is clean and well-lubed before attempting to operate it again. 

Buttons or Switches are Defective

If you are having an issue with one of the switches or remote buttons and not the others, there may be an issue with that button. If the issue is with the remote, you should change the remote batteries. They may be losing power and not allowing you to operate the power liftgate.

Lock buttons Switched Off

If your key fob isn’t opening the liftgate you should check to ensure the switch on the front center console is not switched off. If it is off it will prevent your power liftgate from operating. 

Faulty Fuse

If there is no power to your power liftgate, it may have a blown fuse. The fuse box is located underneath the dash on the passenger side. The fuse for the power liftgate will be a 15 amp fuse marked DSPLY. Pull the fuse and ensure that it’s not blown. If it is, you will need to replace it before you will be able to operate the power liftgate. 

There is also an additional 30 amp fuse located in the under-the-hood fuse box. This fuse is marked liftgate. Ensure this fuse is also operational for your power liftgate to function. 

Stuck Lock

If you are having problems with the power liftgate closing and latching, the lock for the liftgate may be stuck. To release the lock, you will need to take a screwdriver and push the lock clasp down slightly. This should cause it to move and reset. Check and make sure it can close and latch properly after you have reset it. 

Liftgate Sensor Issues

If you have moisture or liftgate sensor issues you will need spray lubricant such as WD-40 and a duster can to clean the sensor. The duster will be able to remove any water near or on the sensor and the WD-40 or other lubricant will protect from any water or moisture reaching the sensors and stopping your jeep’s power liftgate in the future. 

Manual Operation

You can manually close the power liftgate of your Jeep at any time if it will not close on its own. Manually closing the power liftgate will not damage it, but it should not be used as a long-term solution to any problem. Any issues with the operation of the power liftgate should be solved and the liftgate should be kept fully operational.

Resetting a Jeep Liftgate

Use the following procedures to reset the liftgate of your Jeep. 

  1. Remove your key from the ignition and wait at least 15 seconds.
  2. Press and hold the liftgate button on the driver-side dash as you put your key in the ignition.
  3. Release the button when you can hear the unlocking of the tailgate release. 
  4. Exit the vehicle and push the liftgate down to close it. Press both latches to secure it.

The power liftgate for your Jeep should be reset. Use your keyfob or the button on the dash to open and close the power liftgate to ensure it is operating properly.  


My Closing Thoughts

The power liftgate of your Jeep will open and close with the push of a button without any physical assistance needed from you. The first button is on the keyless remote for your jeep, the second is on the dash of your Jeep to the left of the steering wheel, and the third in the rear trim will just close the power liftgate when it is closed. 

There are a few minor issues that may cause issues when operating the power liftgate of the Jeep but most are simple to fix. If you experience any issues with your Jeep power liftgate you can close it in manual mode until it can be repaired.


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