Gas struts-why do they fail
Gas struts or gas lift supports have the main function of holding the tailgate raised up.
The gas strut is essentially a cylinder filled up with compressed gas. When the tailgate is opened, the gas expands, moves the cylinder piston which lifts and holds the tailgate in place.
Over time, the compression inside the cylinder weakens (due to material fatigue) and the gas struts are not able to hold the weight of tailgate anymore.
Change the gas struts as soon as possible-if you wait you can get injured!
It’s best not to wait for the gas struts total failure. The tailgate is heavy and not having proper support can lead to the tailgate falling on your head or body and causing serious injuries.
Also, if the struts were weak during summer, they will surely “die” on you in the winter. Thanks to low temperatures, the gas strut cylinder looses even more compression.
One more reason not to wait is that the replacement itself is relatively easy (like a changing a head lamp light bulb or changing a car fuse)
How to replace the gas struts
(You can watch the video tutorial on our You Tube channel or you have the video tutorial below)
By the proper replacement gas struts-in terms of length and compression ratio
Be sure that you buy the replacement parts that match exactly. Any longer or any shorter won’t do and you’ll have problems. Also, if possible, see that the compression ratio is the same as the original. If not, the tailgate will abnormally shoot up which is hazardous or will be hard to close.
Prepare a small flat-head screw driver
You don’t need any special tools; just a small flat head screw driver.
Secure the tailgate
Since the old gas struts are not able to hold the tailgate up, you’ll have to use some kind of support. A pole, stick or perhaps a ladder will do. Anything that will securely hold the tailgate up. Be sure to position it firmly, so the tailgate doesn’t fall on you while you’re making the replacement
Lift the metal clips on the holders of the gas struts
You’ll see at each end of the gas strut a plastic holder and on them, metal clips. Insert the screwdriver between the plastic holder and the metal clip. Raise the clip. At the same time start removing the gas strut. It sits on a ball joint and needs a bit of a push to come off.
Put some grease or oil on the ball joints that are on the car body
Once you’ve removed the gas struts, you’ll see ball joints. One on the tailgate and one on the car body (one pair on each side). Put some grease or oil on them so they slide better. This reduces unnecessary friction and makes the flexion easier. It makes the mounting of new struts easier also.
Mount the new gas struts-“pop” them in place
This time you won’t need a screwdriver. Just take the gas strut, put the plastic holder on the ball joint and firmly press. If everything is OK, it will just “pop” in. Repeat the same with the ball joint on the tailgate. Make sure that the metal clips fit in properly.
Check that everything is OK
Once you’ve checked that it’s a good fit and everything is in order, remove the pole or whatever held the tailgate during replacement. If everything is OK, the tailgate should work properly.