- What’s the difference between shocks/struts and lift supports?
Because they look similar, it’s a common misconception that the lift supports are the same as shocks and struts found in your ride’s suspension. But despite their appearance, lift supports operate in an entirely different way than that of shocks or struts. While shocks and struts absorb energy and control movement, lift supports store energy to hold the trunk, hatch, or hood in place. In modern lift supports, the energy is stored using compressed gas inside the cylinder.
- Can I recharge the gas inside the lift support?
Modern gas-charged lift supports found in Dodge vehicles today have pressures as high as 1,500 psi, meaning that not only would it be very difficult to manually charge a lift support but it would be dangerous to do so as well. So once a lift support loses its gas, the best step to take is to replace it.
- How long does a lift support last before I need to replace it?
Lift supports eventually break down over time, but there is no magic number when this will occur. This is because several factors affect a lift support’s service life, including its size, position, orientation in the vehicle, how often it is used, the temperature, and the construction and design of the support. Even the rate of gas that naturally permeates from the cylinder is known to affect its performance and longevity. Because of this, it is recommended to check the supports on a regular basis to ensure that they are functioning normally.
- Why is it recommended to replace both lift supports from my trunk when only one is broken?
While it may seem like a waste of money to get a new pair of lift supports when only one is broken, replacing just one support is actually counterproductive. This is because lift supports are designed to work in tandem, with one having the exact same gas pressure as the other. So, when you only replace a single support, this balance in pressure is broken, and one of the supports will bear more of the weight that, in turn, could shorten its service life. Thus, when one of the supports break down, don’t hesitate to replace both; you’ll save money in the long run.
- Should I install my new lift support with the shaft down or the shaft up?
It is recommended to install a lift support with the shaft down for several reasons. First, the “shaft down” position ensures that the piston assembly inside the support travels through the oil at the end of the stroke, ensuring maximum compression. Second, installing the support with the shaft down also ensures that the shaft and sealing components are thoroughly lubricated after every stroke, reducing wear and seal corrosion. And finally, since the gas slowly permeates through the cylinder naturally, a shaft down orientation decreases the rate of which the gas escapes.
- What type of lift support should I get for my vehicle?
Lift supports are not created equal, so you should make sure that any new lift supports you invest in matches the specifications of your vehicle. Some of the factors that must be considered include the length of the support when extended or retracted, the type of end fittings it is compatible with, and the “stroke” or actual travel distance the piston can move along the cylinder. These measurements are often found in the packaging, although you can also refer to a licensed mechanic for help.
- Why do my vehicle’s lift supports weaken in the winter and work best in the summer?
Very high and low temperatures greatly affect a lift support’s performance. In the high temperatures of summer, the rubber seals in the lift support become more permeable and the gas molecules diffuse through the seal faster. While in winter, the low temperature stiffens the rubber, making it unable to seal properly. Newer models, however, now come with seals made of specially-designed rubber or synthetic materials which are more resistant to changes in high and low temperatures.
- How can I extend the life of my vehicle’s lift supports?
There are many simple methods for extending the life of the lift supports. Installing the supports with the shaft down, for instance, helps lubricate the seal and shaft to reduce leakage. Using the right size and length of lift support is also recommended, and avoid using the supports in very high or low temperature conditions. And if the lift support is propping up a particularly heavy object, try to minimize the stroke as possible to prevent loss of gas.