How to Open the Kick-sensing Back Door Every Time?

How many times have you had to put your groceries away when arriving home only for the back door not to be open? Well, now with this Kick-sensing Back Door feature it’s a thing of the past. Simply kick off your shoes and go!

This feature may also be referred to as ‘kick-sensor’ or ‘handsfree liftgate’. The touchless rear bumper foot sensor is a cleverly designed feature that allows you to open and close your car without ever touching it!

The built-in touchless Kick-sensing Back Door sensor is strategically placed near the lower center of our rear bumper. In order for it to function properly, you must have your key with you!

kick sensor backdoor- open close button on door

How To Make It Work Every Time?

You might have heard of the phrase, “Shop smart. Shop harder.” Well, to open your back door with ease every time, use this technique:

  1. Make sure the Smart Key is with you.
  2. Place yourself a few feet behind the vehicle’s center.
  3. Kick straight ahead and back. Do not hold your foot underneath.
  4. After about a second, the back door will begin to swing open.

When the back door is stopped or restarted, the buzzer will sound and LED lights on the vehicle will flash twice. To stop or re-open or close the liftgate, just do any of the following:

  1. Either kick again
  2. Press the Smart Key fob door button
  3. Press the button on the door
2021 4Runner TRD Off Road towing hitch

When you use your foot to close the back door, this smart feature will not unlock all doors. But be aware that it won’t automatically lock when they’re closed either–you’ll have to do that manually yourself!

kick sensor back door- in dash settings

Also, if a tow hitch is installed, you should turn off the sensors of your car. This function may not work as intended and will make it difficult for us to help if there’s ever an emergency situation!

kick sensor back door- on/off setting

How To Turn On or Off The Kick Sensors

If you want to turn on or off the kick sensors, there’s a simple way on Toyota vehicles: In your vehicle’s dashboard settings, go to Settings > PBD > Touchless Sensor and turn it on or off. For other brands, the steps should be similar and will be in the vehicle’s dashboard settings as well.

If there’s an obstruction to the opening or closing of the back door, it will either stop or reverse direction. Optionally, you can manually pull down the back door to activate auto-closing.

Why is the kick sensor back door not working?

It’s possible that the Kick-sensing Back Door isn’t working because you don’t have your Smart Key on you. In order for detection to occur, the Smart Key must be in your pocket or in your hands.

The foot-activated liftgate will stop or reverse the direction of any obstruction to opening up your back door. You can also manually pull it down if you want, but then the auto-close function kicks in and does its job for ya!

Otherwise, look for any signs that the sensor in the rear bumper’s center bottom has been disabled by water, heavy rain, muck, grass, trees, snow or dirt. It will also be affected if a tow hitch is added or if you park near parking meters or on roads with an electric snow-melting system.

kick sensor icon for 2021 sienna hybrid side doors

Kick-sensing Side Doors on the Sienna Hybrid

Hands-free power-sliding side doors, as well as rear liftgate, have been added to the new Sienna Hybrid, making it even easier to enter the vehicle when your hands are full. The kick sensors on the side doors work in the same manner.

The kick sensor is located in the power-sliding side doors at the bottom of the door entry area, which has an icon marking it as such. Here’s how to make sure the kick sensor is functional when you want to use it to open or shut the door:

  1. Turn off the engine and remove the Smart Key from your pocket or purse.
  2. Take note of the spot where the sensor is marked with an icon.
  3. Quickly move your foot back and forth under where the sensor icon is.
  4. The door should open or close in approximately a second.

When kicking, make sure you’re striking straight ahead and not at an angle. You don’t want to keep your foot pressed against the sensor; it won’t function. It should be a swift forward and backward motion.


If you’re looking for a way to make your life easier, the foot-activated liftgate is worth learning how to use.

The foot-activated liftgate can be very useful if shopping at grocery stores that have large parking lots because it allows you to carry groceries from your store into the car without having to worry about looking for your keys. Do you find this feature easy or useful? Let us know below.

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