How many times do you have to open your tailgate during a day? 5-10 times, maybe even more?
Many of the truck owners are accustomed to opening their tailgate and let it fall freely. Some try it to control with hands, only to discover it’s slipping out of hands and getting slammed.
While that might not cause any notable harm if your truck is new, it definitely starts to weaken the structure. As for older trucks, such incidents significantly reduces the remaining lifetime of the vehicle.
Using the best tailgate assist can be a cheap yet effective solution to this problem.
- What Is A Tailgate Assist
- Why You Need A Tailgate Assist?
- Our Top 7 Picks Of Best Tailgate Assist
- 1. Gorilla-Lift 2-Sided Tailgate Lift Assist | Best For Heavy Utility Trailers
- 2. Dee Zee DZ43301 Truck Tailgate Assist | Best For Ram 1500 Trucks
- 3. Hopkins EASYLIFT Go Gear Tailgate Easylift | Best For Universal Use
- 4. Dee Zee DZ43203 Truck Tailgate Assist | Best For Ford F250
- 5. Dee Zee DZ43200 Tailgate Assist | Best For Ford F-150 Older Models
- 6. Ford FL3Z-99406A10-A Tailgate Shock Assembly | Best For Ford F-150 Newer Models
- 7. AEagle Truck Tailgate Assist Shock Kit Black 2015-2018 Ford F150 Pickup | Cheap Tailgate Assist
- How To Choose A Tailgate Assist For Your Truck
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Tailgate Assist
Tailgate assist, also known as tailgate shock assist, is an accessory that controls the drop rate of your tailgate. Instead of letting the gate drop freely, it slows down the dropping rate. It works with the existing tailgate cables of the vehicle to facilitate a slow, consistent, and smooth lowering. They usually come with integrated dampener that makes sure you can open the tailgate by using a single finger. Convenient, isn’t it?
Why You Need A Tailgate Assist?
Well, no one loves to hear the thump caused by a free falling tailgate. But it can happen from time to time, even though you don’t intend it. Your hands might be full of tools, equipment, and papers, and trying to open the tailgate concurrently can result in dropping the gate.
On the other hand, putting what you have in hand on the street in order to open your tailgate might not always be a good idea. The road can be muddy, or wet. Apart from that, it makes you a laughing stock.
Tailgate is by no means a lightweight object. A free falling tailgate can be dangerous and injure bystanders standing near it. It’s very possible that you might injure yourself. Even if no one is harmed, the pickup/truck is going through a jolt every time you open the gate. Maybe not now, but within a year or two, your truck will start to return the favor, which might result in hundreds of dollars for maintenance.
Using a tailgate is the simple solution that can eliminate those risks. You don’t have to worry about putting your stuff on the road, injure yourself or any other, or even hurting your vehicle. All you need is a single finger to open the gate and you’re good to go.
And the price for getting all that? So inexpensive that the amount won’t even put a dent on your wallet.
Best Tailgate Assist Comparison Table
|Powder Coat Finished Steel||2 Sided Tailgate Lifting||Check Price|
|Dee Zee DZ43301||1.00||Coated Steel||Shock absorber, Ball and socket connection.||Check Price|
|Hopkins EASYLIFT||5.4||Hardened Spring Steel||U Shaped Torsion Bar||Check Price|
|Dee Zee DZ43203|
|1.00||Coated Steel||Shock absorber, Ball and socket connection||Check Price|
|Dee Zee DZ43200||1.00||Coated Steel||Shock absorber, Ball and socket connection.||Check Price|
|Ford FL3Z-99406A10-A||1.00||Painted Steel||Latch And Dampener Rod Behind Tailligh||Check Price|
|AEagle Tailgate Assist||1.16||Painted Steel||Shock absorber, Ball and socket connection.||Check Price|
Our Top 7 Picks Of Best Tailgate Assist
With the market flooding with cheaply made, non-durable tailgate assists, it’s no easy feat to search and pick the right ones. Lots of people go for cut-rate choices to save some bucks, only to find out soon that they need a new one. Sticking to prominent brands might be a good idea to avoid regrets later.
Just evade the hassle, shall we? We have scoured tons of customer reviews just to find you the clear winners of the race. Here are our top choices for Tailgate Assist.
1. Gorilla-Lift 2-Sided Tailgate Lift Assist | Best For Heavy Utility Trailers
Who can describe the quality of a product better than the users? Gorilla Lift tailgate assist reviews show that it has been widely accepted by its consumers. Which means, it has passed the test of time. It takes off the weight of heavy tailgates, letting them move without any strenuous effort.
Tailgates often come with different dimensions and weights. Any inflexible, obstinate tailgate will be a disappointment for the users. Keeping that in mind, the Gorilla-Lift comes with an adjustable mechanism. If the tailgate is heavy, it will reduce the opening rate and stop a sudden drop. As for lighter tailgates, the assist makes sure they don’t pop off the ground.
How do they make sure of that? First of all, the cable is made of robust steel with powder finished coat, capable to withstand different weights. The package includes two setups for each side of the truck. Both sides contain spring that works as a dampener, and attaching a plastic plug makes sure the release is slow and steady. Finally, the full lifting setup is encased inside a housing. The cable length and the spring makes sure the assist works well with both heavy and light tailgates.
The housing also makes attaching the setup a piece of cake. As they provide bolts with the package, all you have to do is drill the rail and attach the housing. The bolts are long enough to be attached with tube rails or angle irons, whichever you have.
The tailgate assist cables work as a replacement for regular cables. Thus, vehicles that don’t come with factory tailgate cables, will be the most suitable to use this assist on.
What We Like
- You can lift and open the tailgate with single hand.
- Gorilla Lift tailgate assist works well with both heavy and light tailgates.
- Cables are made of strong steel, assisted by spring for steady release.
- Visible yellow colored housing that can be repainted to any color of your choice.
- The package doesn’t include plastic caps for the end of the rails.
You can always find some plastics to make sure the ends are concealed. This way road salts and debris can’t enter the rails.
The tailgate assist cables work as a replacement for regular cables. This product works in two ways, as an assist and a cable. Thus, it will be a great addition for vehicles that don’t come with factory tailgate cables.
2. Dee Zee DZ43301 Truck Tailgate Assist | Best For Ram 1500 Trucks
Dee Zee has been around the market since 1977. When a company features finished products that are used widely for the likes of Ford, Chevrolet, Nissan, Honda, Subaru, you have to admit it’s trustworthy. They have an inclination to classic styles with modern looks and that’s what they did with the Dee Zee DZ43301 Truck Tailgate Assist.
The tailgate assist ram 1500 is rather simple. It doesn’t need the whole truck rail to attach and operate. Instead, it works in conjunction with the truck/pickup cable supplied by the factory. You do not even need to attach it on both sides of the vehicle. Dee Zee recommends it to be attached on the driver side, which should be enough to operate the assist.
The most notable feature of this Dee Zee tailgate assist is how easy it is to set up. You don’t need any drilling to set it up. Since all hardware come with the package, you’ll only need simple hand tools to mount it. The tailgate assist has custom designs for different models and brands, so make sure you order the right model for your vehicle.
The mechanism is simple but effective. It uses dampened single gas shock that collaborates with the factory made cable. The gas shock releases the extended part to make sure the gate opens in a controlled drop rate. The product has been tested and vouched for heavy use by the consumers.
The company provides an installation guide with the package. The guide contains detailed information, pictures, and tips to install and maintain the assist. As if it wasn’t enough, the guide even contains a link to a comprehensive video. For a person who knows his way around trucks, the installation should not take more than 30 minutes.
What We Like
- The drop rate of the tailgate is safely controlled by a gas shock dampener.
- Custom made for different models of Ram and Rebel.
- Only one assist needed for each vehicle, mounts on the driver’s side.
- Comes with necessary hardware and detailed installation instruction.
- You might find it difficult to install the blind nut.
Dee Zee actually addressed the blind nut installation issue in their instruction manual. Just use multiple drops of thread locker on it. Then set up the 3/4 inch spacing and leave it to dry for a few hours. After that, install the blind nut as instructed.
The DZ43301 works with a wide variety of models. It fits and works with popular models like Ram 1500 (2009-2018) and Ram 2500/3500 (2010-2018). Since the price is moderately cheap, this can be your ultimate tailgate assist.
3. Hopkins EASYLIFT Go Gear Tailgate Easylift | Best For Universal Use
The Hopkins Go Gear Tailgate EasyLift lives up to its name. It ‘lifts’ 80% of your tailgate weight. This means if your truck tailgate weighs 30-40 pounds, it’ll feel like 4-7 pounds. This way, you can open or close your tailgate with one hand.
So how do Easy Lift Tailgate Assist do that? This is basically a U shaped structure made of hardened steel spring. However, the ‘U’ isn’t narrow, in fact, it covers the entire length across the tailgate. It acts as a ‘torsion bar’, the bar gets installed in the gap between the truck bed and the gate. This mechanism allows the tailgate assist to work with tonneau covers, truck toppers, even plastic and sprayed bedliners.
So what the setup does is, when you open the gate, you twist the spring, increasing the tension on the bar. It provides some level of resistance when you start lowering the gate, making the process smooth and steady. While closing, the stress on the bar is released, making it easy to shut the gate.
The setup doesn’t actually control the drop rate of the tailgate. Rather, it makes easy to open and close the gate, avoid wear, hinge damage and risk of injury. The total process can be done with one hand, allowing you to load armful of gears.
The installation is pretty easy. You have to drill two holes, one on the truck bed and another on the bottom of the tailgate. The torsion bar slides into both holes. A noteworthy thing is the bar has little jogs on both sides of the ‘U’, vertical and horizontal. This allows the bar to fit properly and avoid coming out while in use. EasyLift Tailgate Torsion Bar comes with a detailed instruction guide to eliminate any guesswork and make the installation easier.
What We Like
- A ‘U’ shaped torsion bar which reduces the tailgate weight up to 80%.
- The torsion bar is made of hardened steel, thus lasts longer despite heavy use.
- Comes with installation chart, can be installed in 20 minutes.
- Since it works with different truck beds, this assist is compatible with most of the trucks and pickups.
- The template might not come as the exact dimensions of the rod.
To resolve this problem, double check before drilling any holes. Furthermore, you can install the tailgate end first and then drill the truck bed end accordingly.
Usually, tailgate assists come for specific models. Since EasyLift gets attached with the truck bed and tailgate through drilling, it can be used any model that has a hollow truck bed. With it’s one size fits all universal design, it should fit almost any truck model.
4. Dee Zee DZ43203 Truck Tailgate Assist | Best For Ford F250
There’s a reason why Dee Zee DZ43203 Tailgate Assist is widely popular. For instance, you don’t need to install it over the rails. You don’t have to purchase for both sides of the tailgate. Above all, you don’t need additional drilling. In short, this is a high-quality product that comes with versatile features and is built for heavy use.
The tailgate assist comes with a built-in shock absorber. This means your vehicles won’t jolt every time you open your tailgate and let it fall. In fact, the integrated ball and socket connection makes sure the drop rate is controlled and steady. The assist is custom made for different models, so you won’t have to worry about the fitting if you choose your model properly.
The tailgate assist kit comes with necessary hardware. It doesn’t take away the glory of factory cable, rather it works under the same setup with it. Since no drilling is required, all you need is basic hand tools to set it up. Dee Zee DZ43203 can be attached to any side of the gate, although the manufacturers recommend mounting it to the driver’s side.
What We Like
- Controls the drop rate of the gate to prevent harm to the vehicle body.
- Works with the existing setup, no drilling needed.
- The product comes custom-designed for different truck models.
- The assist contains integrated shock absorber to prevent tailgate crash downs.
- Installation process needs Metric Allen Wrench which doesn’t come with the package.
Lots of people use Ford 250 model apart from the popular F 150 models. This one fits the f250 models perfectly. Since original ford spare vehicle parts come with high price tag, this one can be your ideal alternative.
5. Dee Zee DZ43200 Tailgate Assist | Best For Ford F-150 Older Models
Yet another product from Dee Zee got featured in our best tailgate assist list. The Dee Zee DZ43200 Truck Tailgate Assist is special in the way that it fits FORD F150 04-14. Since many users search a compatible tailgate assist for this specific model, this product surely comes as a convenience.
The DZ43200 comes with the design Dee Zee is specifically known for. A shock absorber that works with the existing factory cable setup. Even you won’t need additional drill holes, as it uses the same drill hole the factory cable is attached with.
The mechanism is what we call gas shock dampener. Which means, the tailgate slowly lowers when you open it and closes with the help of one hand. Basically, this accessory takes the weight off the tailgate and make the gate maneuverable with a single hand.
You don’t need more than one tailgate assist for your vehicle. The manufacturers are so confident with the product that they actually provide a long warranty period.
What We Like
- Custom tailgate assist shock to make loading and unloading stuff easier.
- Tested for durability, vigorous, and heavy use.
- Doesn’t need additional drilling, necessary hardware come with the package.
- Compatible with the FORD F150 04-14 model.
- The nutsert might not spread completely within the recommended 9 revolutions.
If you have hard time while tightening the nutsert , we suggest you insert the whole screw instead of the recommended ¾” and tighten the nut again until you feel it has fit tightly. Turn it a few times more than nine revolutions and you should be done.
The tailgate fits previous makes of the popular Ford f150 model(2004-2014). Since you need only one assist that’ll cover both sides, it’s safe to say you have a cheap yet top quality solution at hand.
6. Ford FL3Z-99406A10-A Tailgate Shock Assembly | Best For Ford F-150 Newer Models
The product we reviewed just before was compatible with FORD F150 04-14 models. What about the latest Ford versions? We are talking about the Ford F-150 2015-2018 versions. While there is a lack of tailgate assists for these newer models, one product is enough to quench your requirements. Yes, we’re talking about the Ford FL3Z-99406A10-A Tailgate Shock Assembly.
What can be better than a product coming from Genuine OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer)? The Ford f150 tailgate assist comes from the Ford itself, thus eliminating any worry of adjustment and fitting. Since the products are made from original factory specifications, your investment is secure and free from the hassle of returning, adjusting and repairing.
So, how this attachment works on your Ford? The basic idea is simple, you remove the tailgate first, which will require another person to help. Then remove the factory latch (the old latch) which made of plastic from behind the right taillight. After that, you fit the steel latch provided with the package on the exact holes and put the T-50 bolts back in.
Attach both sides of shock dampener rod (provided with the package), the angled side with the mount inside the taillight, and straight side with the roller arm. You’re done. Now put the tailgate back in and watch it work.
What We Like
- Compatible with the newer models of Ford 150.
- Easy to install once you understand what to do.
- Comes from the genuine manufactures, the quality is top class.
- Ford tailgate assist is made of strong steel, durable and value for the money.
- The tailgate still makes a “thump” just at the end of the travel.
Products from original manufacturers are always top notch, something you can rely on. Although the FL3Z falls in higher price category, it’ll last for a long time. You might be spending a few extra bucks now, but you’ll recover every penny with time.
7. AEagle Truck Tailgate Assist Shock Kit Black 2015-2018 Ford F150 Pickup | Cheap Tailgate Assist
This one a tailgate assist for pickup trucks, compatible with Ford versions, but comes with a much cheaper price tag. The AEagle Truck Tailgate Assist Shock Kit might not be an OEM product, but it delivers result when it matters.
The mechanism is different from the Ford FL3Z-99406A10-A. Despite being an F150 tailgate assist, it resembles the mechanism of Dee Zee products. This one is also made for different models of trucks and pickups, mounts on the driver’s side, and needs no drilling whatsoever.
The package includes one shock, one ball mount, two ball mount plate and one torque wrench. Therefore, you don’t need any additional drilling. The accessory works with the same setup of the factory cable. It controls the drop rate of the gate and prevents it from slamming down with an unnerving thud.
What We Like
- A Cheap pickup truck tailgate assist with slim design and decent quality.
- Works with different makes and models including the Ford-150, 2015-2018.
- Necessary hardware is provided by the manufacturer, easy installation.
- Black coated steel ensures that the product lasts for a long time.
- The installation might be a challenge for the ones doing it the first time.
Despite being cheap, this product comes with its share of benefits. Those who have budget restraints and need a tailgate assist for their Ford models, this one can be a nice alternative. It is compatible with F-150 (2015-2018) models. In fact, it fits Ford’s Crew, Standard and Extended Cab Pickup models.
How To Choose A Tailgate Assist For Your Truck
There are several factors that decide which tailgate assist kit you need. Purchasing a wrong type won’t only cost you time, it’ll waste your money and effort. Spending a little time setting your priorities will benefit you in the end.
Depending on your purpose of using tailgate assist, the product can be different. For example, if you don’t have tailgate cable pre installed in your vehicle, you will have to buy a tailgate assist that works both as a shock dampener and tailgate cable. Two-sided tailgate lift assists will serve you right in this situation.
If you want to control the drop rate of your tailgate, then a gas shock with ball and socket will come handy. They don’t need to be installed on both sides. When it comes to price and protecting you tailgate from rough landing, they deliver the best performance.
There are some tailgate assists that won’t control the drop rate uniformly but reduce the free-falling effect. They use torsion energy to keep the velocity contained. These tailgate assists are usually cheap and easy to install.
The working principle often defines the volume of work you have to do to install the tailgate assist. Depending on the working principle, there are several types of tailgate assists.
- Two-sided Cable: Installed on both rails of a pickup/truck.
- One-sided gas shock: Installed on the driver’s side, uses gas shock as a dampener.
- One-sided spring shock: Installed on the driver’s side, uses painted spring as a dampener.
- U shaped torsion Bar- Attached to the truck bed and tailgate.
One of the most important buying factors. You have to make sure the truck or pickup tailgate assist you’re buying is compatible with your vehicle model. Even if the model matches, matching the year is necessary. Most of the product return happens because the customer has in haste and bought the wrong model. That’s why, companies like Dee Zee, AEagle provides clear information on which models the product fit. If you don’t see your vehicle model there, you can contact their customer support to investigate further.
Products from original equipment manufacturers have some benefits of their own. You won’t have to worry about the quality and compatibility issue. You won’t have to drill or alter any structure of your truck. Above all, they’re usually happy to replace the product if you face any issues.
However, the thing that refrains most of the customers from buying OEM is the price. They usually come with a higher price tag. We wouldn’t say the products don’t deserve the price, but it is a deciding factor for buyers with a restrained budget.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Tailgate Assist Do I Need?
That depends on your budget, truck model and the mechanism you feel comfortable with. For example, if you want budget options, then Dee Zee, AEagle are the suitable options. EasyLift and Ford will come with medium to higher price tags.
As for truck models, Dee Zee, EasyLift and AEagle work with most of the models available on the market. Products coming from original equipment manufacturers (OEM) like Ford will be for specific models of the company. However, coming from the original manufacturer, they tend to be of better quality.
Mechanism and the ease of installation are interconnected. The mechanism used by Dee Zee and AEagle doesn’t need any drilling. AEagle comes with a U shaped torsion bar which needs drilling on the tailgate and truck bed. Ford tailgate assist replace old latch, thus needing no drilling. But, you have to disassemble the tailgate and the taillight, which is the heck of a work!
How Does Tailgate Assist Work?
It depends on the mechanism the accessory operates in. Some tailgate assists hold the gate through a spring shock dampener, allowing it to open and close slowly.
Some assists come with a long cable housing attached alongside the rails. They replace the factory cables and effectively control the drop rate.
Some tailgate assists are set up between the truck bed and the tailgate, working as a damper in between.
Manufactures like Ford provides tailgate assists that only go with their truck models. The dimensions come exactly matching the specifications of the car. These types of assists are installed behind the tail light.
How To Install Top Tailgate Assist?
Depending on the types and appliance, there are several ways to install tailgate assist. Almost every tailgate assist comes with an instruction manual. If you have a hard time understanding them, you can look up on YouTube. However, we are going to discuss different installation processes briefly so that you get a rough idea.
1. Two-Sided Tailgate Lifting (Example- Gorilla Lift):
The package comes with two 3.5’ rails and long bolts to attach them. You have to attach them with the top rails of your vehicle. First, drill through your top rails and the housing of the tailgate assists. Then you have to use the bolts to securely attach them.
A tip, attach the cables on the tailgate first to see where the permanent attachments should be. This way, you’ll be able to make sure your tailgate lays flat to the ground.
2. Ball & Socket Connection (Example- Dee Zee, AEagle):
The package comes with a nutsert and nutsert tool. The nutsert is expanded when tighten, and that’s what we’ll use as the working principle.
First, install the nutsert to the tailgate pivot point using 10 mm wrench and M5 Allen wrench. Tighten the nutsert with nine 360-degree clockwise turns. Keep the nutsert and remove the nutsert tool when finished. Apply ½ drops of thread lock on the thread of the ball mount. Attach the ball mount to the nutsert.
Remove the tailgate cable and cable bolt using the wrench provided with the package. Attach the ball mount plate and put the bolt and cable back in. Attach the larger part of the gas shock to the ball mount plate and narrow part of the shock to the nutsert. You’re pretty much done with the process.
A tip, sometimes the nutsert might not tighten properly with the recommended 9 turns. You have to use the full length of the bolt instead of ¾” and keep turning it clockwise until it tightens securely.
3. Torsion Bar (Example- EasyLift):
You’ll need a drill to install this bar. Basically, you have to drill two holes. One on the truck bed, and another at the bottom end of the tailgate. The first one is known as ‘A’ side and the latter is known as ‘B’ side. The ‘A’ side remains vertical after the setup while the ‘B’ side stays horizontal.
Although the manufacturers recommend attaching the vertical ‘A’ side first, many users prefer the other way around. If you get your tailgate end rightly drilled, that makes the measurement easier to drill the truck bed end.
Wrapping It Up
It happens even to the best of us. We try opening the tailgate with an armful of stuff on our hands and bam! The gate slips out of hand and drops. Not only that unsettles the mind of a vehicle lover, but it may also lead to potential harm.
A free falling tailgate can injure your body. Apart from that, your vehicle structure starts to weaken with every shock the tailgate cables experience.
Wouldn’t it be great to avoid those circumstances, being able to open your tailgate with one hand and unload cargo with ease? The best tailgate assist will help you achieve those feats. Being top quality, it’ll also last longer to make the purchase worth every penny.