Honda Insight
Current MPG (August 2014): 51.9

I purchased a set of new hatch struts from I plopped in 2002 Honda Insight and out came the model that I needed - a steal at $26 each. Honda struts are triple that, easily. These require no extra parts and bolt into place in a matter of minutes (or in my case, an hour, since I did it the hard way). The hatch now stays open on its own and is no longer a death threat.

In case the search is down on his site, here is the model which fits the 2002 Honda Insight. I cannot guarantee that it will fit a different year.

Tools needed:

  • 11mm wrench
  • 12mm wrench
  • 14mm wrench
  • Grease
  • Small screwdriver (possibly)

Time required: ~30 minutes

The procedure is quite simple. Support the hatch while the struts are being removed with a plank or preferably a partner, install the new struts one at a time. The biggest hiccup is alignment. I realized what I was doing incorrectly about half an hour into the project. Once my brain turned on, it was only five or ten minutes to do each side.

First, support the hatch securely!! If the hatch comes crashing down, not only might it be damaged, but it might sever you into halves. The hatch can easily kill you.

The first bolt you have to remove is the 14mm bottom bolt. It shouldn't be too tight.

The second is a 12mm brass bolt which acts as the ball in the top joint. Again, it shouldn't be too difficult to remove. The following picture contains dog hair. Lots of it.

The hardest part of the procedure is installing the new strut. It's not so much difficult, but awkward. The mistake I made was to attach the top bolt first. After half an hour of attempting to align the bottom 14mm bolt, I gave up and tried a new approach. I installed the 14mm bolt first and left the top detached. I had the new 11mm brass ball installed into the strut first but that turned out to be drastic as well. (Use a small screwdriver to spread the locking tab on the socket to remove the ball from the joint.) The alignment of the strut is just too difficult while holding up the hatch. Threading the bolts into place is just really tedious.

The correct way to do this in under ten minutes is to first attach the 14mm bolt as noted above. Then attach the 11mm bolt to the hatch at the top and grease it up. The hatch will have to be pushed beyond normal opening limits to fit the fully extended strut. The ball will fit into the socket joint with incredible ease. And, to my surprise, the hatch was able to be held in place with just the one side installed! I don't recommend this because the hatch begins to twist and probably puts stress on the glass where there shouldn't be any. [This is a common problem on the Porsche 944 that often requires a full glass reseal.] Again, support the hatch at all times.

The newly installed bottom bolt looks like this. There's a little play but nothing intolerable.

The new top bolt looks this way.

And voila! A working hatch.

The hatch is quite heavy. It doesn't require much to pull it shut. However, the new struts are very powerful and push the hatch up to its fully extended position. If not eased into place, they could actually probably cause some hinge issues. Don't let the hatch open on its own until the new struts are broken in.

This is an easy procedure, one anyone could do with a little time and a few metric wrenches.

Comments by Readers