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I really want to install new trunk struts, but...

I have a 2018 Model 3 and would love it if my trunk would open itself after hitting the button. I've seen most of the videos online and they all seem to say it's an easy mod. However, the Amazon reviews are filled with horror stories. The trunk is too difficult to close, the metal becomes deformed from the tension, the rear windshield gets cracked, the struts fail, the struts are too stuff in cold weather, etc.

Then again, there are lots of 5 star reviews, too.

What's the consensus here? Which ones did you buy and how did it work out for you?
 

Gasaraki

Active Member
Oct 21, 2019
2,338
1,664
Syracuse, NY
Do you want auto close and auto open? Or just auto open? If you just need auto open, it's cheap and easy to do yourself. If you need auto close or you think the trunk is "too hard to close" then you'll need to pay ~$500 USD and find someone to install it or do it yourself.

Like everything in life, nothings perfect so some people have reported issues with the auto open/close system. Some people don't have issues.
 
I purchased/installed/used the following struts for a few months before deciding to go for the fully powered option.

https://www.amazon.com/StrongArm-Universal-Socket-Supports-Struts/dp/B07GBK8Q3Z

These worked just fine for me while I had them. Yes, you will need to apply a little more force to close the trunk since all these aftermarket struts will be stronger than the OEM ones... not sure why some folks are surprised/disappointed by this.
Another observation is the trunk would bounce ever so slightly when it reached the full open position... again due to the additional strength from these aftermarket struts. Certainly not enough to cause any significant stress or additional wear on the metal brackets of the trunk. However, the slight bounce was just enough to annoy me and made me feel the operation was not very smooth. Of course, I also realized these are simply inherent (& perhaps minor) shortcomings of all these inexpensive aftermarket “automatic” struts.

Unless the alignment on your trunk was/is way off due to poor production/assembly by Tesla, then you should have zero problems with operation, cracked rear glass, wear on or deformation of the metal brackets/arms, etc... with any of these aftermarket struts (assuming you pick the correctly sized one for the application). I think the only time when there is slight risk to crack the rear glass is during the install (when you are removing the OEM struts... you can slip and accidentally hit the rear glass with the OEM strut).

Of course, no one needs a powered trunk or frunk. Ultimately, I just decided the coolness factor of a fully powered mechanism alone was worth the price of admission. So, I removed both aftermarket “automatic” struts from my trunk and frunk and installed the powered ones. After using the powered ones for almost 1-1/2 years, I can say it has been more practical than originally anticipated... especially the powered frunk since I no longer have to touch & press on the frunk to close it. Being an OCD car detail freak, not putting finger prints my vehicle is a big plus.
 
I purchased/installed/used the following struts for a few months before deciding to go for the fully powered option.

https://www.amazon.com/StrongArm-Universal-Socket-Supports-Struts/dp/B07GBK8Q3Z

These worked just fine for me while I had them. Yes, you will need to apply a little more force to close the trunk since all these aftermarket struts will be stronger than the OEM ones... not sure why some folks are surprised/disappointed by this.
Another observation is the trunk would bounce ever so slightly when it reached the full open position... again due to the additional strength from these aftermarket struts. Certainly not enough to cause any significant stress or additional wear on the metal brackets of the trunk. However, the slight bounce was just enough to annoy me and made me feel the operation was not very smooth. Of course, I also realized these are simply inherent (& perhaps minor) shortcomings of all these inexpensive aftermarket “automatic” struts.

Unless the alignment on your trunk was/is way off due to poor production/assembly by Tesla, then you should have zero problems with operation, cracked rear glass, wear on or deformation of the metal brackets/arms, etc... with any of these aftermarket struts (assuming you pick the correctly sized one for the application). I think the only time when there is slight risk to crack the rear glass is during the install (when you are removing the OEM struts... you can slip and accidentally hit the rear glass with the OEM strut).

Of course, no one needs a powered trunk or frunk. Ultimately, I just decided the coolness factor of a fully powered mechanism alone was worth the price of admission. So, I removed both aftermarket “automatic” struts from my trunk and frunk and installed the powered ones. After using the powered ones for almost 1-1/2 years, I can say it has been more practical than originally anticipated... especially the powered frunk since I no longer have to touch & press on the frunk to close it. Being an OCD car detail freak, not putting finger prints my vehicle is a big plus.
This is almost identical to my experience with the replacement struts that open the trunk. I bought and installed these. They make the trunk harder to close and it doesn’t open as wide as it used to, but for $25, they’re well-worth it to me.
 
Do you want auto close and auto open? Or just auto open? If you just need auto open, it's cheap and easy to do yourself. If you need auto close or you think the trunk is "too hard to close" then you'll need to pay ~$500 USD and find someone to install it or do it yourself.

Just auto open.

I purchased/installed/used the following struts for a few months before deciding to go for the fully powered option.

https://www.amazon.com/StrongArm-Universal-Socket-Supports-Struts/dp/B07GBK8Q3Z

Did you also add the springs when you tried that option?
 

focher

Active Member
Oct 15, 2013
1,413
2,857
Bay Area
I have a 2018 and installed the struts and springs for "auto open". No issues other than the plastic on one of the new struts broke and I had to replace it. Only real tip I would give is to put a thick cloth around the struts as you remove the old and install the new. That will mitigate the risk you smack the glass and cause a chip or crack.
 
I have a 2018 and installed the struts and springs for "auto open". No issues other than the plastic on one of the new struts broke and I had to replace it. Only real tip I would give is to put a thick cloth around the struts as you remove the old and install the new. That will mitigate the risk you smack the glass and cause a chip or crack.

Which ones did you get?
 
I tried the ones from abstract ocean but ended up returning the trunk struts. My observations as someone living in Northeast US (PA to be more specific)

The trunk would pop open violently at first then slow down and creep up. The aftermarket struts were shorter (which is the case with all of them) which caused the trunk to not open to OEM levels, the trunk would now align with my forehead.

When using it in early winter, Dec/Jan the strut opening was painfully slow. if I parked my car outside in ~30F for 30 min or so and the struts were cold soaked, after the initial pop, the trunk would stall and not open. If it did go beyond the initial pop, it would raise another 2-3 inches and stop. Pushing the trunk open fully was also extra effort in these situations, and again very slow to open.

Closing the trunk also required considerably more effort, especially the very last bit where you have to overcome the force to compress the springs. With arms full of groceries, it was not possible. And I could no longer use the grab handle inside the trunk. Which caused me to force it shut from the license plate area. To make it worst, I have a CF spoiler lip and I found people were naturally putting pressure on that to close my trunk (think grocery pickup, my wife, etc).

So off it went, I'm back to the OEM struts and so much happier with the 100% manual but reasonable effort to open/close process.

In my mind, these struts are best suited for warm climates and even then, just half baked products not worth your time or money.
 

hcdavis3

HCD3
Supporting Member
Mar 3, 2019
2,413
1,620
02571
I have a 2018 Model 3 and would love it if my trunk would open itself after hitting the button. I've seen most of the videos online and they all seem to say it's an easy mod. However, the Amazon reviews are filled with horror stories. The trunk is too difficult to close, the metal becomes deformed from the tension, the rear windshield gets cracked, the struts fail, the struts are too stuff in cold weather, etc.

Then again, there are lots of 5 star reviews, too.

What's the consensus here? Which ones did you buy and how did it work out for you?
Installed mine last week. They work perfectly. Yes I need a little more effort to close. Evannex. It’s been bitter cold here with no issue with my struts.
 
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That's the one most recommended and it's the one with the most worrying reviews.

Ultimately, I think it’s going to be a leap of faith on which one will perform acceptably to you. The same one that is 5 star rated by many or some, may end up being just a 3 star or junk to you. So, I would suggest choosing one from Amazon which has free shipping and free returns.
Being able to return for a quick, full refund should take all the worry out of it for you...
 
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Ultimately, I think it’s going to be a leap of faith on which one will perform acceptably to you. The same one that is 5 star rated by many or some, may end up being just a 3 star or junk to you. So, I would suggest choosing one from Amazon which has free shipping and free returns.
Being able to return for a quick, full refund should take all the worry out of it for you...

Cool. I can get a refund for the $30 struts but have to fix the damage to the vehicle myself.
 
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in the end, it's a modification and you have to figure out your risk tolerance is since something *could* happen. I tried them out and did not like how much more force was required to close them. In my head, over time, that could cause issues with bending among other things. I also read that when it gets really cold, other issues can occur. I took them out and got powered liftgates installed on the frunk and trunk instead because might as well go all the way at this point ;)
 

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