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Engine & Transmission Tips • Issue 21

Changing The Struts

Under Your Hood

Yes there is more than one kind of strut in your car!

spiker engineering hood struts 3Here’s another great Fraser Engine Co. DIY (Do It Yourself) tip about changing the gas-filled struts that help to open and hold your hood, rear-hatch, rear-window, and trunk from slamming down on you.

The struts we’re talking about are gas-filled (usually Nitrogen), pistons, similar to shock absorbers, but these type of struts provide lift assistance, and are tuned to keep the attached item suspended until closed manually.

Unfortunately, dirt and excessive heat can cause the Nitrogen to leak from a gas-strut eventually causing failure.

If your hood, or hatch don’t stay open during cold weather, it’s time to replace the struts. Nitrogen gets thinner in cold weather, and if it’s leaking from your struts, the reduction will cause this weakened behavior in cold weather but may possibly still operate normally during the following warm season. Be aware though, you should certainly replace them at the first sign of failure because the following cold season, they could fail completely.

Here are some tips to buying “better-than-the-original” struts.

Lift-support struts are available at any auto-store. They come in two flavors, hood and tailgate. Be aware that tailgate struts are usually more expensive because of their length and the increased materials needed to make them.

If you’re not handy, just have the exact make and model of your vehicle and the part-store associate should be able to find the right item.

spiker engineering high lift hood strutsIf you ARE handy, remove one strut and bring it to the store with you. Often there are different “grades” of struts capable of lifting different loads. A good practice is to get a strut that has a little stronger lift capacity (up to 30%) while being the same length. (Take a look at the Striker Engineering Hood Strut example photo to the LEFT.) The only cavate comes into play if you have a motor-controlled tailgate. We recommend having a professional do any work on this type of vehicle mechanism.

Making a quality choice at an auto-parts store will be limited, but ordering your “beefier” strut online is a breeze.

You don’t “need” to replace both, but it’s a good practice. If you know, without a doubt, that only one strut is failing, you can do a single replacement.

For detailed instructions on how to perform a replacement, we would refer you to’s how-to article.

Special thanks to Striker Engineering for the photos used in this article.


Fraser Engine Rebuilders specializes in remanufactured engines. Any diagnostic computers in your car will operate exactly the same with our products. Visit our home page to find the right engine, if yours is ready to retire. They’re less expensive than you might think and come in different options and warranties!

Thinking about building a replica with an american-made engine? Fraser has the right engine ready for you!