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HomeTips & GuidesHow To Open Car Hood With Broken Cable: Opening and Repairing Steps

How To Open Car Hood With Broken Cable: Opening and Repairing Steps

In this article, we’ll explain how to open car hood with broken cable.

Some basic maintenance tasks, such as refilling fluids, require you to open your vehicle’s hood. But if you pull the release lever and the car has a broken release wire, the hood will not pop. 

Then how to open cars hood with broken cables? The process might seem daunting if you’ve never done it before, but it is a simple task.

How the Car Hood Release Mechanism Works

This system comprises three components: release handle, cable, and latch mechanism. Once you pull the release handle, it draws the cable, which unlocks the latch to release the hood. Springs mounted on the latch or hood push it up, making it pop.

A spring mounted on the hood for popping it when the latch unlocks

The release handle is usually on the driver’s side near the door (under the dash) but can be on the passenger’s side in some cars.

This handle connects to an insulated cable that runs towards the latch on the front of the vehicle under the hood (behind the grille). The latch keeps the hood flush with the body when locked.

Pulling the cable disengages this latch, lifting the hood a few inches from its original position. There’s also a safety latch that prevents you from raising the hood. So, you can’t pull the hood up without manually disengaging this safety latch.

Therefore, you can’t disengage the primary latch if your vehicle has a broken cable. Or can you?

A rusty safety latch and pop-up spring under the hood

A rusty safety latch and pop-up spring under the hood

How To Open Your Car’s Hood if the Release Cable Is Broken

Before getting into this process, try playing around with the system to see if it is stuck. The cable might be okay.

Pull the release handle several times and have someone slap/press the hood down. These actions should pop the hood if the cable or latch is sticky.

Also, check if you have a broken handle. If you feel no tension while pulling it, check if you have a disconnected hood cable behind the lever. Pull this cable using a pair of pliers to see if the hood pops.

A hood release handle under the dashboard

A hood release handle under the dashboard

If the issue persists, follow these steps to disengage the latch. You’ll need a long, flathead screwdriver.

Step 1: How To Open Car Hood With Broken Cable: Locate the Latch

Hood latches are usually under the front center of the hood, right behind the front grille. See if you can spot a tiny depression behind the grille because that is the location of the latching mechanism’s spring lever.

A car hood latch locking mechanism

A car hood latch locking mechanism

Step 2: Slide the Latch Open

Reach in with the screwdriver to catch the latch and slide it open. If the slots in the grille are too small, use the wire from a coat hanger to push/pull the latch. This piece of metal should be at least ten inches long.

Check the direction of the hood cable exiting the latch to determine the direction to pull or push the latch.

In some cars, you can spot the latch cable that links it to the release handle. You’ll probably need a flashlight to spot this cable through the grille.

If there’s enough space in the grille, use a pair of pliers to grab this cable and gently tug it to pull the latch.

A close-up image of the hood latch assembly (note the release cable)

A close-up image of the hood latch assembly (note the release cable)

It might be possible to remove the grille in some car models. You can check your car owner’s manual to see if this is possible. It will be much easier to pop the hood if you can because you’ll have enough space to get your hand to the latch.

How To Repair a Car’s Hood Release Mechanism

With a broken one, the only way to fix the issue is to replace it. The same case applies to a broken release handle. You have to replace this component and then connect it to the cable.

But if the latch is faulty, you can repair it using the following steps, especially if jammed.

The loop where the latching mechanism holds onto to lock the hood

The loop where the latching mechanism holds onto to lock the hood

Step 1: Clean the Latch

Hood latches can accumulate dirt over time, making them sticky. Use a brush and parts cleaner to restore this component to its non-sticky state.

Let it dry after cleaning, then spray rust penetrant to remove rust. Next, apply a water-resistant coat to protect the internal parts from moisture, which causes rust and stickiness.

Step 2: Lubricate the Latch

Rust penetrants can lubricate the latch, but you can spray some lithium lubricant to oil the surface better and make the moving parts run smoothly.

Use a bendable straw to get the lubricant deep into the latch, and it should be at least eight inches long.

A person lubricating a car hood latch using a bendable straw

A person lubricating a car hood latch using a bendable straw

Avoid silicone sprays because they can impair engine performance and contaminate oxygen sensors.

While lubricating the latch, check if there are any misalignments and adjust accordingly.

A damaged, rusty hood latch stuck in one position

Wrap Up

Opening a car’s hood if the cable is broken should be the least of your worries because the process is easy. But a sticky latch can be problematic because a screwdriver or hanger can fail to unlock it.

Luckily, replacing either part is not costly. Contact us if you need these replacement wiring harnesses, and we’ll give you discounted deals.

I am Lillian Yang, having been a sales manager for over 10 years.

I have received many positive reviews from customers. They have praised our excellent service, on-time delivery, and high-quality cable assemblies.

For your projects, please provide cable assembly files/images/smples, etc., so that I can send you a quotation within 24 hours.

Contact me now and let’s get started on building your wire harnesses!

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