Hood Open

Step by step guide on how to open an automotive hood release, this information pertains to most vehicles.

Difficulty Scale: 1 of 10

Step 1 - Locate the hood release which is usually near the drivers side kick panel, some additional locations include just under the dash on the left side as well.

Hood Release

Step 2 - Grasp the release and firmly pull outward to activate the hood latch, a release cable is used to connect the lever to the actual latch release mechanism.

Pull Release

Step 3 - After pulling the release, the hood will pop open to the first stage having a noticeable gap between the fender and the hood line.

Hood Popped Open

Step 4 - Once the hood has popped open, locate the secondary release and active it.

Activate Secondary Release

Step 5 - Gently press down on the hood slightly while activating the latch to facilitate this action.

Gently Push Hood Down

Step 6 - After the secondary release has been activated, release the pressure and gently raise the hood up.

Hood Fully Released

Step 7 - Now, the hood can be fully opened which may be held open with the assistance of a hood shock which is connected at the base of the hood near the hinge.

Open Hood

Step 8 - While other methods of hood support include a prop rod which needs to be put into place by hand.

Hood Prop Rod

Step 9 - Once necessary repairs or inspections have been completed, gently pull the hood downward and firmly close the hood into place, after closing the hood try pulling up on it to ensure proper closure.

Close Hood

Helpful Information

Opening a vehicles hood is a relatively simple task that can be done in a few minutes with no tools required. The hood release consists of two latch stages, primary and secondary. The secondary latch is designed as a safety device, if the hood is accidentally released while driving, it will not open completely and cause a vision obstruction. Make sure the hood is properly secured by using the prop rod or shock before removing your grip. A prop rod will need to be installed into a designated position to hold the hood up properly. If a hood is slightly damaged or has a sticky latch it can cause the hood not to "pop" open, in this case use a helper to pull up on, or push down on, or even small rap with a hand on the hood near the latch to assist the primary latch to release. (Note: When performing this action use caution to not dent the hood.)

After hood has been opened, occasionally the latch will fall closed not allowing the striker located on the hood to engage, (not closed). In this case pull the hood latch, a helper may need to manually releases the latch (open) with a small screwdriver if the latch fails to open on its own, once the latch has re-opened the hood can be closed. Close the hood firmly, and recheck the latches ability to keep the hood closed by pulling up on the hood.

If the hood will not open, the latch cable could be broken or misadjusted, in this case the hood latch could be opened manually through the front grill or from underneath the car, there are many different ways to perform this action and can take some imagination.

Tools Needed to Release

  • Long screw driver
  • Pliers
  • Flashlight
  • Long pry bar

Common Problems

  • Once the primary latch has been activated the hood will not "pop up" to the semi open position due to a sticky or misadjusted latch.


Written by
Co-Founder and CEO of
35 years in the automotive repair field, ASE Master Technician, Advanced Electrical and Mechanical Theory.


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Article first published