What Is A Liftgate And Why Is It Important?

If you have a Toyota SUV, crossover, or hatchback sedan (like the 2013 Prius V 3), your vehicle has a liftgate. If you're looking for more information about Toyota liftgates, you came to the right place. In this post, you'll get the information you need about liftgates, including:

  • What a liftgate is
  • The components of a liftgate
  • The difference between a liftgate and a tailgate
  • What to do if your liftgate fails

What Is A Liftgate?

Toyota liftgate

If you walk to the rear of a Toyota SUV, crossover, or hatchback sedan, you'll see a large door covering the rear of the vehicle. That's the liftgate. There are two types of liftgates:

  1. Power liftgates: Power liftgates are motorized liftgates that open and close electrically. You can open a power liftgate by pressing a button in the car, on the key fob, or on the liftgate itself.
  2. Manual liftgates: Manual liftgates are not motorized. Rather, they're lifted and supported by two lift cylinders (also called gas springs or liftgate struts). Manual liftgates can't be opened remotely. You need to physically engage the liftgate handle to open a manual liftgate.

The Components Of A Liftgate

A liftgate is a large part, but it has a pretty simple and straightforward design. We'll talk about the components of a Manual liftgate and a power liftgate.

The Components Of A Manual Liftgate

Let's talk about the main components of a manual liftgate:

1. Liftgate

The liftgate is the actual door covering the rear of the vehicle. The part is sometimes described as a panel, but most liftgates are supplied with:

  • Built-in handles and lock mechanisms
  • Built-in lights and wiring

A liftgate is a part of the vehicle's body, so it should last the lifetime of the vehicle. Once in a while, a liftgate gets damaged (usually from an accident) and needs replacing.

2. Lift Cylinders

LIftgate cylinders

The lift cylinder definition is straightforward. A lift cylinder slender tube with a piston rod. Compressed gas powers the rod. They are very similar to shock absorbers, but much smaller. There's one lift cylinder placed on each side of the liftgate. When you open the liftgate, the lift cylinders help lift the liftgate, and they support it in the open position. Lift cylinders look like simple parts, but they're actually quite strong. The gas springs can support a lot of weight.

If one of your lift cylinders fails, it's a good idea to replace both lift cylinders. It's to keep the hydraulic strength even on both sides. Luckily, lift cylinders are inexpensive, especially if you order OEM units from us. We're an authorized seller of genuine OEM Toyota parts, including lift cylinders.

One of our best sellers is this OEM lift cylinder for the Toyota Highlander. It's available at dealerships for about $60, but you can get it from us for just over $46.

3. Handle And Lock Components

You can't open a manual liftgate without a handle. Also, all liftgates come with a lock to keep the vehicle secure.

4. Hinges, Brackets, And Other Hardware

Your liftgate assembly also includes hinges, brackets, and other hardware. There are hinges at the top of the liftgate. You can find brackets attached to the lift cylinders, securing them in place.

The Components Of A Power Liftgate

If you're wondering which components on a power liftgate work together, we have the answer for you. A power liftgate assembly is more complicated than a manual unit. You'll find the following components in a power liftgate:

1. Liftgate

The liftgate is the actual door covering the rear of the vehicle. It's a panel with:

  • Built-in lights
  • Built-in lock mechanism
  • Built-in wiring

2. Liftgate Motor

Liftgate motor

The liftgate motor is located on one of the rear body pillars at the side of the liftgate. It has a moving arm that pushes up and pulls down the liftgate when activated. The motor works with the liftgate latch to ensure that the liftgate closes gently.

The Difference Between A Liftgate And A Tailgate

Some people use the terms "liftgate" and "tailgate" interchangeably. These parts are actually different, though. You lift a liftgate upwards, while you lower a tailgate. A tailgate is lowered for loading or unloading. Tailgates are found on pickup trucks and on a few SUV's. Liftgates are very common on SUVs, crossovers, and hatchback sedans.

What If Your Liftgate Cylinder Fails?

If your liftgate cylinder fails, you'll have a hard time opening and closing it. The best way to address this issue is to:

  1. Order a new set of liftgate cylinders
  2. Replace the cylinders. This is a very easy DIY project

If the liftgate itself, or another component is damaged, you can replace the part. If you're looking for replacement Toyota liftgates or related components, look no further than our online shop. We have OEM liftgates and components (including lift cylinders) for a variety of Toyota models. Look up your Toyota model to see if we have the parts you need for your car!

Written by Jason Lancaster