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In order to ensure easy access to the engine and all of its components, your vehicle’s hood needs to stay open. However, it must be secured while driving, lest it opens and crashes into the windshield. The job of the hood latch is keeping the hood securely closed. It generally consists of a “hook and eye” type of assembly. The latch is operated via a cable that runs from the front of the car through the engine bay, passes through the firewall, and attaches to the back of the hood release handle/lever located below the steering wheel. When the hood is closed, the latch slides over the hood catch and a spring snaps the latch closed. To release the hood, you pull the release cable that opens the latch, allowing it to pop up past the hood catch. There is a secondary safety catch on the hood latch that needs to be pressed to open the hood fully. If the hood latch is seizing or broken, the hood will either not open or will not latch closed.
When replacing a hood latch, it’s generally best to replace the entire latch assembly (both the hook and eye). One component will be located on the hood itself, and the other will be located on the inside of the vehicle’s front end (generally behind the grille, attached to the release handle). Depending on your car’s make and model, replacing a hood latch can be complex, and it’s important that both parts are lined up correctly. Have one of our expert mechanics handle your hood latch repair or replacement.
Replacing a damaged hood latch is very important. While driving without an operable latch won’t damage your engine, it can be dangerous, particularly if the hood does not close securely. Even if the latch is inoperable but in the closed position (meaning your hood won’t open while you’re driving), you still need to access the engine for regular maintenance and repairs. Have your faulty hood latch replaced as soon as possible.