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I took a look at my trunk switch yesterday. It doesn't look good at all. Pretty badly deteriorated, though still intact. I do know that this one has never been touched by any solvents. The only liquids that have been used to clean this one is water, with a little soap just twice a year.
It doesn't look like or feel like silicone rubber. It looks and feels like natural rubber.
It seems a batch of trunk switch covers might have been made out of an inferior material.
You guys CAN'T be having this problem, because Petey says that I'm the only one, either because I have excessive oils on my hands, or have slathered suntan oil on my cover!
No oils, or spray cleaners, or other contaminants have touched this pad, except for soap and water about once a month. However, it has softened to the touch, and feels "gooey". According to everyone I have seen that talked to Toyota, the pad is not available separate, and the entire switch assembly must be replaced.
Posting here as I ran into the same problem and this came up as the first hit on google.
The rubber cover for the switch on my 07 Camry began dissolving last summer. As others have mentioned this was not caused by any solvents or grease I applied. I believe it is heat related (also I'm fairly certain that this is some kind of synthetic rubber as normal rubber will not melt at these temperatures). I first tried reattaching the rubber as it began to peel off with glue. This worked well, except as soon as the temp got over 100 it began dissolving again.
You cannot just replace the rubber bit, so you need to swap out the whole assembly. There's two ways you can do this. The "correct" way is to remove the trunk headliner and detach the body panel the switch is bolted to. I started to do this, but it was a huge pain (I could not get one of the large clips to detach so I could not remove the panel). The easy way it to remove the two screws holding in the switch assembly, pull it out, and clip the two wires and just splice in the new switch. I joined the wires using solder and covered the splice with electrical tape, but there should be room to use wire nuts if you are not comfortable with that. One note is that the screws on mine were badly corroded, so I went ahead and replaced them too (as the heads were beginning to strip).
The parts you need are:
8484020010 - switch assembly
9015940085 - screws (you'll need 2 of these)
I ordered mine from toyotapartsoverstock and it came out to ~$60 with shipping. You can also get these from your dealership, but expect a 2X markup.
I just got through doing this, myself. The trick I used for getting the plastic "rivets" out of the trunk liner is to take a ty-wrap, feed it through the slot in the head, and pull outward. They come out easily. The closest thing i had to trouble getting the large plastic part out was that I had to use a pair of needle nose pliers to compress the tabs on the middle plastic clip to get it out.
My son and I had it done in about half an hour. one you see how it goes together, it's not a difficult job.
However, my disappointment is reserved for the part itself. The quality of the plastics used in the whole assembly leaves more than a little to be desired. This is a 2009, less than 3 years old. The weatherproof membrane ( flexible cover) disintegrated, there were holes in it, literally resembling a slice of Swiss cheese. It had degraded so badly that there was a section of the 'rubber' hanging down. The plastic parts that the screws thread into were so brittle that they had to be broken out, because they wouldn't flex enough to release the switch from its' holder.
Someone REALLY dropped the ball on this part. Exposure to Ultraviolet light is known to degrade plastics, and an external trim part that is this exposed should be much more resistant to the effects. The clip parts that I had to break to release the old switch were supposedly protected from this, being completely enclosed, but they were extremely brittle.
This is not the quality I normally expect from Toyota, and I will try to make my displeasure known to them. I will try to use whatever contacts that I can come up with to do so. There are a few first, second, and third -hand possibilities that I can try, and I will. While this may not be a directly safety related item, it is still a rather unnecessary thing to happen.