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Replace the Gas Lift on Your Car’s Hood

Avoid lift problems with this quick fix

gas liftFamily Handyman
Gas lifts that hold up car hoods, trunks and rear hatches can wear out and become a problem, especially in cold weather. Here's how to fix the problem quickly and cheaply.

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Replacement procedure

Photo 1: Support the hatch

Lift the hatch slightly higher than its normal open position and have a friend hold the hatch up while you remove the gas lift. Or lock it in place with a lift support clamp.

Photo 2: Disengage the lift

Jam a flat-blade screwdriver into the depression in the center of the C-clamp. Then pull the gas lift off the ball stud. Reverse the procedure to connect the new lift.

Worn gas lifts really lose their “oomph” in cold weather. Why risk injury from a falling hatch? You can fix the problem yourself in 20 minutes. You only need a small flat-blade screwdriver and a 1/4-in. drive metric socket set.

Buy a pair of gas lifts (always replace them as a pair) at an auto parts store. Have a buddy support the hatch, hood or trunk lid, or buy a lift support clamp (shown is the Lisle 44870; available through our affiliation with amazon.com). Don’t rely on a 2×4 to hold the hatch open—it’s not a safe alternative.

Remove the top portion of the gas lift first. Use a socket and a ratchet to remove the bolted-in-place variety; a screwdriver for the more common C-clamp style (Photo 2). Then perform the same procedure on the bottom connection. This happens to be one of those 100 super simple car repairs you don’t have to go to the shop for. 

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Socket/ratchet set
You’ll also need a flat-blade screwdriver and a lift support clamp.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Gas lifts