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Troubleshooting the Hands-free Liftgate - not working when I kick underneath

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Truck is a 2020 Yukon XL Denali.  This is a used but new-to-me truck.  


I confirmed in the settings that the handsfree is selected "on"


As title says, my handsfree liftgate is not working and I'm looking for guidance as to where to start troubleshooting the issue.  I crawled under the bumper this morning but could not visually identify a sensor.  Where should I start looking to chase down the issue?  


It should be noted that when I picked up the truck, it was missing the tow-hitch cover and the very bottom of the bumper, directly below the hitch where the bottom of the hitch cover normally attaches, was broken.  Previous owner had backed into something.  Wondering if this might affect the hands-free operation.  


Any guidance is appreciated - thanks!

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The hitch cover shouldn't affect anything, it's just a piece of plastic. The sensors themselves can be a bit fickle in terms of getting exactly the right angle and motion. You have to move your foot in and out very quickly, not hold it. Took me a long time to get it down.

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5 hours ago, whistleblower said:


Thanks.  Do you know where the sensors are located?  Wondering if mine have been impacted somehow.

Sounds like you have tried some of these, but maybe something missed?


The sensor is located in different positions on the various models that offer the hands-free power liftgate. (Fig. 7)


• Full-size SUVs — Tahoe, Suburban, Yukon and Escalade — and Cadillac CT6: sensor is located under the center of the rear bumper.

 XT5 and Acadia: sensor is located behind the driver’s side rear tire on the side of the rear bumper.

• Envision, Equinox, and the upcoming Terrain, Traverse, and Enclave: sensor is located under the left side of the rear bumper, between the left exhaust pipe and the center of the bumper.



Fig 7


Operating the Liftgate


To open or close the power liftgate hands-free, swing your foot in a direct in-and-out motion (your foot should be under the rear bumper for less than one second) in the proximity of the sensor. (Fig. 😎 The motion must be within five inches of the sensor. Do not swing your leg in a sweeping or side-to-side motion.


To activate the power liftgate, the Remote Keyless Entry transmitter (key fob) must be within 3 feet (1 meter) of the liftgate.



Fig. 8


The hands-free feature will not work while the liftgate is moving. Use one of the liftgate switches to stop the liftgate while in motion.


The hands-free feature also may be temporarily disabled under some conditions. If the liftgate does not respond to the kicking motion, open or close the liftgate by another method or start the vehicle. The feature will be re-enabled.


Projected Logo


Some 2018 models feature a vehicle logo that is projected onto the ground under the rear bumper sensor that indicates where the kicking motion should take place. The logo is projected when the key fob is detected within 6 feet (2 meters) of the liftgate.


Under normal conditions, the logo will be projected for one minute. If the logo is not projected, check for the following operating conditions:

 The projected logo is only available for the currently used key fob after it has been out of range for at least 20 seconds.

 If a key fob is again detected within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of the liftgate, or another hands-free operation has been detected, the one-minute timer is reset. If it is reset five times in 10 minutes, the logo will not turn back on for one hour. This provides the battery with a “cool-down period” to preserve its charge.

 If the vehicle remains parked for an extended period of time with no key fob use or Keyless Access operation, the projected vehicle logo will be disabled. The projected logo will be re-enabled when any key fob button is pressed, any vehicle door is opened and closed, or the liftgate is closed when all doors are opened.

 The projected logo will not work for a single key fob when a key fob has been left within approximately 15 feet (5 meters) of the liftgate for several minutes, has been left inside the vehicle and all vehicle doors are closed, or has approached the area outside of the liftgate several times in a short period of time.


Users can customize hands-free operation. The kick function can be turned off, only open the liftgate, or open and close the liftgate. To change the kick function:

1. Select the Hands-free Liftgate Control menu on the infotainment screen under Settings > Vehicle > Comfort and Convenience.

2. Select Off, On-Open Only, or On-Open and Close.


Selecting Off will disable hands-free control of the liftgate and keep the logo lamp off.





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  • 7 months later...
  • 1 year later...

Try changing the battery in the FOB. I had the same issue. My FOB was operational, but wasn't allowing my handsfree to open the lift gate. Spoke to my sales person and he recommended I change the battery in the FOB. Work perfectly again.  A few dollars fix that you can do yourself. 

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