How to Choose the Right Tailgate for Your Needs

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So you’re out there enjoying a beautiful day, maybe headed to the lake or just running errands around town, when suddenly your tailgate won’t stay open on its own anymore. Ugh! Now you have to hold it up with one hand while you load stuff in and out of your truck bed. Talk about annoying. If this sounds familiar, your tailgate bushing has likely worn out. Not to worry, this is a common issue and a relatively easy DIY fix. In this article, you’ll learn what causes tailgate bushing problems, how to diagnose the issue, and step-by-step instructions for replacing those worn out bushings. We’ll also share some tips for finding quality replacement parts so your repair lasts. With the right parts and a little elbow grease, you can have your tailgate working smoothly again in no time.

What Is a Tailgate Bushing?

A tailgate bushing is a small but important part found on pickup tailgates. It’s a circular piece that fits between the tailgate and the tailgate pivot points on your truck bed. The bushings allow the tailgate to pivot and swing open smoothly without friction or grinding.

Over time, the original bushings can wear out from repeated use and exposure to the elements. As they deteriorate, you may notice the tailgate becoming difficult to open and close or may hear squeaking, grinding or rattling sounds.

Why Do Tailgate Bushings Need Replacement?

There are a few signs that your tailgate bushings may need to be replaced:

  • The tailgate is hard to open or won’t stay open. Worn out bushings can’t support the weight properly, causing the tailgate to drop closed.
  • You hear squealing, grinding or rattling noises when opening or closing the tailgate. This indicates the bushings are damaged or worn down, allowing metal-on-metal contact.
  • There is visible damage or wear on the bushings. Check the bushings for cracks, tears, or if they look misshapen. Any signs of visible damage mean it’s time for replacement.
  • The tailgate sags or sits unevenly. When bushings are worn out, the tailgate won’t stay level or aligned as intended.

Replacing your tailgate bushings is an easy DIY task that requires no special skills or tools. However, for the best results, it’s best to replace them in pairs – do both the left and right side bushings at the same time. New bushings will restore proper tailgate function, eliminate any unpleasant sounds, and help ensure your tailgate is secure and working as intended. Performing regular inspections of your tailgate bushings and replacing them when needed is an easy form of preventative maintenance for your pickup.

Common Tailgate Bushing Problems

Bushing Wear and Tear

Over time, the bushings in your tailgate can start to deteriorate from constant use and exposure to the elements. As the bushings wear down, you may notice increased noise when opening or closing the tailgate, or the tailgate may start to sag. Replacing worn out bushings is an easy fix to get your tailgate working properly again.

Corrosion

If you live in an area where roads are frequently salted in winter, the bushings in your tailgate can become corroded. Salt and moisture can cause the metal in the bushings to rust, which then leads to the same problems as worn out bushings – increased noise, sagging, and difficulty operating the tailgate. Replacing corroded bushings may require some light sanding to remove remaining rust before installing new bushings.

Impact Damage

If your tailgate has ever been hit or slammed too hard, it could potentially damage the bushings. Impacts can bend, crack or break the bushings, preventing the tailgate from opening and closing properly. In some cases, impact damage may also require replacing other tailgate parts in addition to just the bushings. It’s best to have a mechanic inspect your tailgate for any needed repairs after an impact.

By regularly inspecting your tailgate bushings and replacing them when needed, you can help ensure your tailgate continues to function as it should for the life of your vehicle. Bushings are inexpensive parts, so it’s worth doing some basic maintenance to avoid costly repairs down the road. If you start to notice any increased noise coming from the tailgate or difficulty operating it, have the bushings checked by a mechanic. It’s an easy fix that will get you back on the road without worry.

How to Replace Your Tailgate Bushing

Locate the Tailgate Bushing

The tailgate bushing is found where the tailgate connects to the truck body, usually on the bottom edge of the tailgate opening. It’s a circular bushing that allows the tailgate to pivot. Over time, the bushing can wear out, causing the tailgate to sag or become hard to open and close. To replace it, you’ll need to remove the tailgate.

Remove the Tailgate

Open the tailgate and locate the bolts, nuts, or screws that secure the hinges to the truck body. Remove the fasteners and lift the tailgate off, noting how the tailgate bushing is positioned. You may need to have someone help support the weight of the tailgate as you remove it. Set the tailgate on a sturdy surface.

Install the New Tailgate Bushing

Inspect the new bushing to ensure it’s the proper size and shape for your specific vehicle make and model. Apply a small amount of grease to the new bushing and slide it into the hole where the old one was removed. The bushing should fit snugly in the opening.

Reattach the Tailgate

Lift the tailgate and reattach the hinges in the same position they were originally mounted. Replace all fasteners and ensure the new bushing allows the tailgate to pivot smoothly. Test that the tailgate opens, closes, latches and seals properly. Lubricate the hinges if needed to prevent squeaking.

Replacing a worn out tailgate bushing is an easy DIY task for any truck owner. With a few basic tools and about 30 minutes of time, you can have your tailgate working good as new and prevent further damage to your truck. Performing regular maintenance like this will help keep your vehicle in solid working condition for years to come.

Conclusion

So there you have it. Tailgate bushing problems can be a real pain, but luckily they’re pretty straightforward to tackle yourself. Just make sure you get the right replacement parts, take the time to do the job carefully, and be ready for some elbow grease getting those old bushings out. But once you button it all back up again, you’ll have a tailgate that opens and closes smooth as silk. Pretty satisfying! Hopefully this gives you the confidence to knock this repair out yourself and save a bundle in the process. And remember – any troubles along the way, your friends at the auto parts outlet will have your back with advice and quality parts. Now go get your tailgate fixed!

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