What To Do If Your Car’s Hood Won’t Open?


Countless folks around the world often suffer from having a jammed vehicle hood.

A blocked hood prevents you from inspecting your car’s engine area, which makes timely maintenance or repairs difficult. In other words, there is no means to replace the washer fluid or check the oil level, let alone diagnose an engine problem.

In addition to the remedies for stuck vehicle hoods, this piece will provide you with some background information on how your hood system works, the reasons for malfunctioning car hoods, and how to fix them.

Understanding Your Hoods Mechanisms:

The hood of your car is normally made of steel or aluminum, and its major function is to shield the engine and internal components of your car. You are unlikely to access your car’s engine if the hinges do not fully operate, which could become a challenging situation in the middle of the road.

A hood release system is found on most cars. The hood release handle is located inside the car, generally close to the driver’s side seat or in the door frame; if you can’t find it, see your car’s handbook for further detailed information related to your vehicle’s hood.

On some cars, like the BMW, the release is in the form of a handle.

The hood release on old cars would be positioned behind the bumper or grille. Look through the grilles and beneath the hood for a button, handle, lever, or arm that will allow you to open the hood.

This will partially open your hood, but it will normally still be secured by a security mechanism like a metal leaver or latch, which forces you to move to one end to completely open and access the engine.

Usually, car’s include a long, narrow metal rod positioned along either side of the car, which raises and slots into a pre-cut hole to properly hold your hood up, allowing you to use both hands.

Causes Of a Stuck Car Hood

The most common cause of a stuck car hood is cold weather, broken tug cable, broken lever, or simply just rusting of the latch.

Cold Weather

Cold temperatures are among the most prevalent causes of car hoods getting jammed. During the winter, most folks park their car’s out in the open. As a result, the bonnet freezes and thus becomes stiff.

The car’s bonnet is equipped with a latching system. Under normal conditions, the latches are able to move freely. However, when it snows, the latches become frozen and get jammed in the low temperatures. Furthermore, there is also a chance that the latch cable connected to the hood release is frozen, preventing the hood from moving at all

Broken Cable

The hood release lever is attached to the lock through a wire, and with time, the wire utilized to tug the lock for opening the hood may become loose, resulting in the hood not opening. In this case, the best course of action is to have the wire changed.

The hood release tug wire is easily identifiable by the latch it is connected to.

Broken Lever

If you are unable to pop the hood and the lever feels funny, then there is a chance that the lever may be damaged, making it impossible to pull the lever from the inside. As a last measure, you can try to tug on the wire itself, to see if the hood will open.

Rusted Latch

It could also be that the latch simply rusted out due to age, as rust could prevent any motion. It also is possible that the lock or the bonnet itself is deformed, preventing it from opening.

Related: Dealing With Wheel Corrosion

What To Do If My Car’s Hood Won’t Open?

Try the following methods if the car hood won’t open in your vehicle:

  • Heating up the vehicle’s hood
  • Pull the latch cable’s clip
  • Release the latches

Heating Up The Vehicle’s Hood:

Assume you reside in a region where regular snowfall raises the risk of car hoods becoming lodged. As the temperature drops, the metallic hood stiffens and thus becomes harder to lift.

Furthermore, because of the continual snowfall, the hood components may also become frozen. Therefore, to solve this problem, you must first warm up the vehicle.

Simply ignite your car and let it run. As this causes heat to be released underneath the hood. The frost, which had caused the hood mechanism to jam, should melt because of the heat, and the hood should then begin to move again.

Pull The Latch Cable’s Clip:

You could also attempt the following procedure before replacing the damaged latch cable from the vehicle’s hood. If the hood will still not open, then have the latch cable replaced.

If you open the bonnet of the car, you will notice that latch cables are connected to the hood release mechanism located beneath the steering wheel. These cables link the system’s internal release lever to the system’s external latches. In certain vehicles, the cables are accessible through the hood radiator lid.

To utilize this approach:

  • Take a screwdriver and pull the cable’s clip with it.
  • Drawing on the clip should release the lock.
  • Disconnect the release cable from the latch assembly after the car’s hood is opened.
  • Then return to the car’s cabin and detach the release handle.
  • Upon detaching the release handle, reinstall the cable and position it in the exact same manner as it was previously attached.
  • Once the cable is in place, reconnect it to the hood latch, and the hood should be able to move again.

Release the Latches

A stuck latch might cause the car hood to not move. In this scenario, you will require assistance to resolve the issue. 

To lift the hood with a clogged latch, start diagnosing by pushing the hood release lever located within the car’s interior.

  • The hood should then come up, and then you should attempt to remove the latches using your hands while someone else pulls the hood open and tries to lift it simultaneously.
  • If lifting the hood does not help, then attempt to push it downwards. Pushing your hood downwards should release the latches, allowing you to open the hood manually.

One of the aforementioned procedures should open the car hood. When the vehicle’s hood is open:

  • Lubricate the latch mechanism along with any other movable components with motor oil.
  • Upon adding the lubricant to the mechanism, rotate the hood upward and downward numerous times to make sure that the lubricant is fully distributed around the latches.
  • After adding oil to the latches, you could also use lithium grease to enhance lubrication.
  • If the latch is twisted, use a hammer to straighten it up.

Even after executing the forming procedures on the car hood, you should still consider taking the car to a mechanic and having the bonnet properly inspected for various defects.


We’ve identified the most prevalent causes of your hood becoming jammed. Should none of the techniques provided above serve to fix your hood, you will need to then seek the assistance of an experienced mechanic.

Several serious, highly complicated reasons, particularly after an accident, might contribute to the hood not opening. A modification in the structure of the vehicle might also lead to the hood becoming jammed. However, for most situations, the techniques given above will suffice.

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