How to Change A Toyota Prius Hatch Lift Support

Dec 7th 2018

You’re in a rush from the grocery store and want to get back home early before your kids are out of school. You pop your Toyota Prius hatch, grab the handle and lift, only to feel the full weight of the hatch. Well, your Toyota Prius hatch lift support just failed, and this comes with a risk factor of injury if you’re not careful enough. In fact, a malfunctioning or damaged hatch lift support can be a great inconvenience, especially when you want to load stuff into your boot.

Most car owners rarely inspect their lift supports for performance issues, and only realize operational problems after it’s too late. Even for the most detail-oriented car owner, hatch lift supports can easily slip off the radar. Luckily, hatchback lift supports can easily be replaced in the safety of your own home. With some good research online, you can easily get great deals on the right lift supports for your Toyota Prius.

Before we get into the details of how to change your Toyota Prius hatch lift supports, let's have a look at how they work, how you can improve their service life, what you should do when they fail, how to search for the right replacements, and how to install them correctly.

How Lift Supports Work

Most cars, including the Toyota Prius, use pneumatic gas struts to hold open hatches, hoods, trunks, and lift gates. These lift supports are usually filled with inert gas at several 100s psi to provide the needed force to easily lift and securely hold the structures they’re meant to support. The lift support systems also have oil inside to provide damping - otherwise, your hatch would snap open like a jack-in-the-box. The whole operation of the lift support is made possible by a multiple-lip seal that rides on a long-chromed damper rod.

The smallest particle of dirt or even surface imperfection on the damper rod often leads to wear of the highly polished surface, which then affects the seal’s operational life. Eventually, with time, the inert gas and oil inside the lift support system make their way out of the Toyota Prius hatch lift support strut, and you have a hatch lift support that’s not working - it will need to be lifted manually, and won’t stay up on its own.

Improving the Service Life of Your Lift Supports

To ensure your hatch lift support functions properly, it’s important to embrace some regular maintenance steps. These strut rods need to be kept clean and free of any nicks. Clean the polished rod surface regularly with a soft, dry cloth to leave a smooth and dirt-free surface. Don’t use chemicals--they may break down the seal.

Make sure your hands are clean and free of anything sticky or dirty to avoid contaminating the strut rod. You should also avoid anything that might scratch the rod. By taking these critical maintenance steps, you can significantly increase the service life of your hatchback lift supports.

What to Do When Your Hatch Lift Support Fails

When your Toyota Prius hatch lift supports fail, it’s time for new replacements. Most vehicles will accept aftermarket struts, which you can find online at reasonable prices. Finding the right replacement, though, is quite important as some may not provide an exact fit. The good news is, most online stores selling lift supports make it easy for you to search the exact strut you need by car make, model, year of manufacture, size, fit, part number, and other specifications.

Most of them are sold individually, but if your car has two hatch lift support struts, experts recommend that you replace both of them for the best performance. It’s important to buy your lift supports only from well-established suppliers who partner with leading brands. If you can’t find the exact lift support for your Toyota Prius, you can contact the support team in the online stores you visit to help you find what you need.

Got the Right Replacement? Time to Install Your Hatch Lift Support

Now that you have the right replacement, it’s time to install it in your car. Installation may seem quite complex for a first-timer but is actually straightforward, and anyone without any technical skills can do it. You only need a few tools:

  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Socket and ratchet set

The step-by-step Toyota Prius hatch lift support installation process:

  • First, open the box you just received and check out your new struts. Confirm that they have the same end-to-end dimensions as your current ones. The attachments may be slightly different, but watch out for additional adapters packaged in the box to fit different vehicles.
  • Open your hatch the maximum allowed height from the current supports. Don't prop it up! It can fall and create a safety hazard. The clamp is the safest option for this.
  • Now go ahead and disengage the hatchback lift supports. Use a flathead screwdriver to release the flat bale clip that holds the lift support into the post. You may encounter different styles of attachments with bolted fasters, brackets or clevises. You will need the proper socket wrench to handle that.
  • Once you’ve removed both supports, you’ll see a fastener that connects the lift strut to the body of your Toyota Prius. Use the right ratchet and socket pairing to pull the ball of the lift support strut off the joint, so you can completely remove the strut from the car. Clean both the top and bottom strut areas for both sides.
  • With the old lift support removed, you can now install the new strut by simply attaching it to the car - just don’t tighten it down yet. You’ll want to use your fingers to create sufficient pressure on the strut ball joints so you can snap it onto the top ball joint of your Toyota Prius. Tighten down the screws so that the lift supports fit snugly into the car and you’re good to go. (Make sure not to overtighten).
  • If your car has two lift supports, repeat the same procedure on the other side. When you release the hatch, do it slowly to check that the Toyota Prius hatch lift supports are properly installed and supporting the weight of the hatch as expected.

Order Toyota Prius Lift Supports Online

If you’re searching for top-brand hatch lift supports for your Toyota Prius, look no further than Lift Supports Depot. As a leading supplier of lift supports and parts for a wide range of car makes and models, we can help you find the lift supports you need.  Contact us today!

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