auto how-to repair guides

How To Replace Your Hood or Trunk Gas Springs

When to Replace a Gas Spring

Almost every automotive manufacturer uses gas springs (also called piston lift struts) to hold up tailgates, hoods and trunks. You'll know you need new gas springs when you lift the tailgate up, turn around to get groceries out of the cart and then crack your forehead into the tailgate that has sunk 4 inches while you were looking away. Hoods, tailgates and trunks that start to sag will not get better they will only get worse and the colder the weather the more rapidly your gas springs will lose their effectiveness.


The good news is replacing gas springs is a snap…literally.


Things You'll Need:

  • Replacement struts
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • A friend or a vice grip pliers

Preparation

Almost all but the most exotic of vehicles will accept aftermarket gas springs and that will save you a nice piece of change over buying (and installing) from the dealer. There may be slight variations in the attaching design so don't be surprised if you find extra parts in your kit. Some aftermarket models use the same strut regardless of make and then provide a variety of hardware (the inexpensive part of the strut) so customers can match it up to the mounting hardware in their vehicle.


Struts are almost always sold individually but it's a good idea to buy them by the pair. If one is going the other is no far behind and the extra stress placed on the new strut by the failing one will shorten the service life of the new strut.


How To Remove and Replace a Gas Spring

  1. Lift the part (trunk, tailgate, hood etc.) as high as it will go and have a friend hold it there. As an alternative you can grip the rod at the top of the cylinder with a pair of vice grip pliers. Using the pliers will scar the rod but if you are replacing it anyway it makes no difference.
  2. Detach the bottom of the strut first. Almost all struts use a ball socket connection. While the top connections are pretty much uniform in all models the bottoms may require a box wrench or screwdriver to remove the "socket."
  3. At the top there will be a small sheet metal ring that secures the socket with the mounting ball. Take a screwdriver and pry the ring just enough to let the socket separate from the ball.
  4. To install the new strut reverse the process you used to detach the bottom socket and at the top simply line up the socket with the ball and give a push until you hear it snap in position.
  5. Repeat the process for the second strut. You won't need the vise grip pliers as the new strut will provide the support.

How To Make Your Gas Springs Last Longer

The inside of the gas cylinder is filled with a compressed inert gas and a dampening oil. The key to getting the longest life out of a lift strut is to keep the gas inside the cylinder. The most common way that gas leaks out is at the seal where the cylinder meets the rod. Keep the rod free of dirt, dust and foreign materials like ketchup and coke stains and you will minimize the wear on the gas seal. A quick weekly wipe down with a dry cloth will add years to your struts.



- End of Procedure -


Return to all Repair & Install Guides

shop lift supports

How To Replace Your Hood or Trunk Gas Springs

When to Replace a Gas Spring

Almost every automotive manufacturer uses gas springs (also called piston lift struts) to hold up tailgates, hoods and trunks. You'll know you need new gas springs when you lift the tailgate up, turn around to get groceries out of the cart and then crack your forehead into the tailgate that has sunk 4 inches while you were looking away. Hoods, tailgates and trunks that start to sag will not get better they will only get worse and the colder the weather the more rapidly your gas springs will lose their effectiveness.


The good news is replacing gas springs is a snap…literally.


Things You'll Need:

  • Replacement struts
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • A friend or a vice grip pliers

Preparation

Almost all but the most exotic of vehicles will accept aftermarket gas springs and that will save you a nice piece of change over buying (and installing) from the dealer. There may be slight variations in the attaching design so don't be surprised if you find extra parts in your kit. Some aftermarket models use the same strut regardless of make and then provide a variety of hardware (the inexpensive part of the strut) so customers can match it up to the mounting hardware in their vehicle.


Struts are almost always sold individually but it's a good idea to buy them by the pair. If one is going the other is no far behind and the extra stress placed on the new strut by the failing one will shorten the service life of the new strut.


How To Remove and Replace a Gas Spring

  1. Lift the part (trunk, tailgate, hood etc.) as high as it will go and have a friend hold it there. As an alternative you can grip the rod at the top of the cylinder with a pair of vice grip pliers. Using the pliers will scar the rod but if you are replacing it anyway it makes no difference.
  2. Detach the bottom of the strut first. Almost all struts use a ball socket connection. While the top connections are pretty much uniform in all models the bottoms may require a box wrench or screwdriver to remove the "socket."
  3. At the top there will be a small sheet metal ring that secures the socket with the mounting ball. Take a screwdriver and pry the ring just enough to let the socket separate from the ball.
  4. To install the new strut reverse the process you used to detach the bottom socket and at the top simply line up the socket with the ball and give a push until you hear it snap in position.
  5. Repeat the process for the second strut. You won't need the vise grip pliers as the new strut will provide the support.

How To Make Your Gas Springs Last Longer

The inside of the gas cylinder is filled with a compressed inert gas and a dampening oil. The key to getting the longest life out of a lift strut is to keep the gas inside the cylinder. The most common way that gas leaks out is at the seal where the cylinder meets the rod. Keep the rod free of dirt, dust and foreign materials like ketchup and coke stains and you will minimize the wear on the gas seal. A quick weekly wipe down with a dry cloth will add years to your struts.



- End of Procedure -


Return to all Repair & Install Guides

shop lift supports