I can’t believe I waited this long to replace the rear struts on the back door of my Toyota Sienna van! The rear tailgate would no longer lift itself or stay up, causing us headaches (literally). This repair only took 5 minutes, a screwdriver, and $25 for a pair of new struts. Loading the back of your van shouldn’t be a 2 person job, replace your lift struts!

Symptoms of Bad Rear Hatch Struts

The struts on the back tailgate of your van should take over from you once you pull the handle release and raise the door about a foot. After that, the struts should take over and lift the rear hatch from that point on, all the way up to fully open, and hold it there. If your tailgate door doesn’t go up all the way, drifts downward, or won’t go up at all, its time for new struts lifts.

Tools and supplies needed:

Step-by-Step Procedure to Replace Liftgate Struts on a Toyota Sienna

The first step is to order a new set of liftgate struts.


The way that these attach is really simple. Using a small flat-bladed screwdriver (or something similar) pry back the metal clasp. The photos below show the way that the clasp releases when the clasp is pried back.

Basically, this is what you will do on the old strut to remove it. Pry back on the clasp, and pull the strut off of the ball that it mounts on to.

This was the state of my rear hatch before changing out the struts.


Have a friend hold the door open for you while you do this (or a 5 ft stick), once you remove one of the struts, the remaining one will have even less force to hold the door open, and it easily comes crashing down!


Go to the upper connection point of the first strut.


Insert the screwdriver into the slot, and pry the metal clasp outward.


Here the clasp has been pried out.


Give the old strut a nice yank to pull it off of its ball joint.


Repeat this process for the lower connection point.

Now that you’ve removed the old strut lift, grab one of the new ones. Here is the old and new strut side-by-side.


Line up the connector of the new strut with the bottom ball joint.


Once lined up, just press the new strut onto the ball joint until you hear a click and it is seated properly. If it is not going on easily, then use the screwdriver to pry back the clasp to open it up to receive the ball.


Repeat for the upper joint as well.


Change the other lift strut in a similar manner.

That’s about it! This is a really quick repair and easy to do. I hope the pictures help, sometimes even though it is easy, it is nice to see the steps ahead of time!

This repair applies to the following vehicles with both power and manual rear liftgate:

  • 2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Base Mini Cargo Van 4 Door
  • 2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Base Mini Cargo Van 5 Door
  • 2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Base Mini Passenger Van 4 Door
  • 2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Base Mini Passenger Van 5 Door
  • 2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Base Passenger Van 5 Door
  • 2004-2010 Toyota Sienna CE Mini Cargo Van 4 Door
  • 2004-2010 Toyota Sienna CE Mini Cargo Van 5 Door

Thanks for reading.


Tools and supplies used: