It's a hot morning, perfect for that weekend beach getaway. You've already packed your stuff and everybody's raring to go. Everyone's already inside the minivan. You are about to load your bags into the car when suddenly you hear a loud thud. The next thing you know, you're lying on the sofa, with an ice pack on your head while nursing a concussion. They told you that the lift gate, out of nowhere, went down and smacked right on the back of your head. You were out before you knew it. The doctor said you need to stay at home and rest. And just like that, the weekend beach getaway gets cancelled. That's going to be a painful reminder of how your lift struts tell you that they've already given up lifting. More importantly, here's how to read the "Beware: Failing lift struts dead ahead" signs before history repeats itself.
You know what Jell-O is right? And you've played with it more than once, am I correct? Well then, when you're lift gate starts to act like Jell-O, swinging up and down in an uncoordinated manner, it's a sign that you need to change the lift struts. You see, lift struts employ the process of pneumatics. Unlike hydraulics, which utilize liquid pressure, pneumatics is the application of pressurized gas for mechanical uses. And once they start losing pressure because of age and overloading, they become weaker. It's a gradual progression that's hard to spot and easy to ignore. So before the worst happens, change your lift struts. Also, don't just use any kind of lift strut. Make sure that they are capable of carrying the weight of your car's lift gate. Because if they can't, you have to remind yourself to wear a safety helmet next time.
Simply put, the damper rod is that shiny and smooth metal surface that appears and disappears whenever you lift the lift gate. At the end of this is a seal that locks the damper out, holding the lift gate up. If that rod is not shiny and smooth anymore, there's going to be more bad news for you. You see, even the smallest disturbance by an ignorant particle will wear this rod out quickly. And once the debris works its way inside, then all hell breaks loose. (Inside the strut, at least.) Remember to keep them clean and keep them away from dust and dirt.