What are gas struts?
The automotive industry was an early adopter of gas struts and they are commonly fitted to bonnets, boot lids and tailgates.
- They contain highly pressurised nitrogen gas and oil.
- Internal pressures are typically in the range of 1700 to 15200 kPa, (250 to 2200 psi) and are calculated to provide the level of assistance required for the application.
In normal use they are very durable however they do have a life span.
- Loss of efficiency can typically start to occur after about five years of use, though some last considerably longer.
- Most failures relate to gradual loss of gas pressure which prevents them supporting their design load.
- Tailgates etc. can also gradually creep down or drop without warning.
Struts can often be re-gassed and there are specialist operators providing this service. Check the Yellow Pages for one in your area. Alternatively, replacement struts are readily available, either as genuine or aftermarket parts.
Gas struts are generally very safe if handled appropriately. However, like any high pressure storage device there are certain risks. Deaths and significant injuries have resulted from inappropriate handling.
- Gas struts should be protected against over-extension, side loading and excessive heat.
- Over-extension can cause internal damage, with the risk that parts may be ejected at high speed when the strut is removed from its mountings.
- A gas strut damaged in this way may not be readily detectable and it could appear to operate normally until it is removed.
- Do not weld or apply heat to struts - they may explode.
- Do not dispose of gas struts in fires - they may explode.
- Maintain a safe distance from a burning vehicle – its struts may explode.
- Do not crush or puncture pressurised struts. Seek the manufacturers’ advice about appropriate methods of depressurising before disposal.