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Your Tailgate Struts (Gas Struts) worn out? » Read more about common malfunctions • Repair • Replacement manual
Heavy hatches under control with the gas spring
A gas spring is a small and inconspicuous component and only noticed when it is defective. It makes itself heard by the typical hiss at opening the tailgate. Nevertheless, the gas spring is a piece of technical ingenuity.
Gasses are compressible, fluids aren't
A tailgate gas strut is a steel cylinder containing a piston. Piston and cylinder are sealed airtight. The hollow space in the cylinder contains gas, which is always under pressure even when the strut is extended. Shutting the tailgate presses the piston into the cylinder, additionally compressing the gas. By nature, gas needs to expand. This makes the heavy tailgate stand open on its own, on occasion of which the gas is partly expanded. Closing the lid causes the procedure to start again. This is the main difference between a gas spring and a fluid spring. In order to cause a similar effect with fluids, a relatively complicated internal procedure in the cylinder is required.
Advantage of a gas spring
The main advantage of a gas spring is that it can be preloaded according to use. A larger tailgate does, therefore not necessarily, need a larger boot strut. Even the heaviest lids can be operated with an amazingly thin and small gas spring. Well-engineered production processes enable cheap production of these durable components, although they have a limited life span. Replacement of a tailgate strut on the other hand, is easy.
Wear of a tailgate strut
The weak point of a gas spring is its gasket. It keeps the compressed gas in the cylinder, preventing its escape. As the piston is permanently sliding in and out, it grinds on the gasket which sooner or later loses its function. A faulty tailgate strut is noticed right away: opening the boot is really heavy. Furthermore the lid will not remain open by itself, as it should. This makes loading and unloading difficult and even dangerous. A provisionally propped up tailgate could fall down, resulting in a bump on the head. The best thing to do is replacing the broken tailgate strut. Fortunately this can be done quickly.
Ball joint and spring are all it takes
The tailgate strut is fixed to the tailgate and the bodywork by a ball joint which is kept in place by a small brace or spring. The spring can simply be removed with a screwdriver or pointed pliers. The entire replacement of a gas spring generally lasts two minutes per side at most. This repair, however rarely occurs. In general, tailgate struts last 10 years or longer. Of course this strongly depends on the quality.
Quality for cheap products too
Cheap gas springs quickly fail due to lack of comfort, poor function and short life. As tailgate struts rarely cost more than 15 euro even in branded quality, experiments with unknown, cheap manufacturers are not rewarding. Better spend a few bob more in order to be certain for years on this point is always the best policy.