How To Fix A Hood Latch That Won’t Close In 2022

When your hood won’t latch or is keeping your vehicle from starting, it can be quite frustrating. Sometimes the problem is easy to fix, but in other cases, the problem requires a little more work to get fixed.

This article will discuss some common problems with hood latches and how to fix a hood latch that won’t close.

How Do I Know If My Hood Latch Is Broken?

There are several symptoms that indicate that your hood latch may be broken. The most obvious indicator of a broken hood latch is when the hood will not close. If your hood will not stay closed, it is likely that your hood latch assembly is broken.

Hood locking latch of a car.

Another common symptom of a broken hood latch is if the hood pops open while driving or immediately after closing it. If you are experiencing either of these symptoms, there is a good chance your hood latch is broken.

How Do You Fix A Hood Latch That Won’t Close?

This simple guide explains how to fix a hood latch that won’t close. This repair can be completed in a relatively short period of time, and shouldn’t require more than a screwdriver to complete.

Step 1: Remove hood latch trim

First, you have to remove the hood latch trim. The trim can be removed by pulling up on it with your hands. The trim should be held in place by plastic pegs which you can keep track of if they fall. Once the trim is removed you’ll see three screws, remove them.

Hood latch trim panel.

Step 2: Unscrew the bolts

The second step is to undo the bolts that attach the hood to your car. There are three bolts located under a rubber covering. These are easy to remove, just use a socket wrench to unscrew them. Once they are removed, you can then lift the hood off of your car.

Step 3: Check metal rod

Once you have access to the hood latch, inspect it closely. The metal rod should be moving freely and there shouldn’t be any dirt or debris blocking its motion. If you notice that the metal rod hasn’t been moving freely, then it may need to be cleaned.

You can use some compressed air or soak it in water and detergent to remove any dirt. Make sure the metal rod moves freely after you clean it up.

Step 4: Inspect hood cables

If you check and find that the metal rod is moving freely, then your problem is in your hood cable. Sometimes the cable will snap and you’ll have to replace it. The hood cables can be purchased at your local auto parts store for around $15 to $20.

A car hood release cable.

Your hood latch was working perfectly fine before it didn’t close, so you know the new latch will work just as well. Once you attach the new hood cable, check to see if the hood closes. If it still isn’t working properly, try adjusting the cable tension with a wrench. When you’ve done that, the hood latch should be working just as it did before.

💡 If you've done everything to fix a hood latch that won't close and nothing has worked, it may be time to take your car into a shop and get a professional inspection.

Can I Drive With A Broken Hood Latch?

It is possible to drive with a broken hood latch, but you should avoid doing so if at all possible. Driving with a broken hood latch can result in your hood flying up while you’re driving. This is not only dangerous, but it can also damage the hood and hood hinges. You should have your hood latch repaired as soon as possible.

What Can I Use To Tie My Hood Down?

In the event that you have no other choice but to drive with a hood that won’t close properly, you can use a bungee cord to tie it down. You’ll need to attach the end of a bungee cord to the hood of your car, make sure it’s tightly secured.

Then take the other end of the bungee cord and attach it to the front cross member of your vehicle. This will help to keep the hood from flying open while you are driving down the road.

How To Clean & Apply Hood Latch Lubrication

Locking hood latches that don’t automatically lock can be frustrating. In some cases, the hood won’t latch at all which means it can either be difficult to open or can fly up while you are driving. If the hood has been unlatched, it may be either dirty or dry and that can cause problems.

Mechanic repairing stuck car hood.

In some cases, the locking mechanism will need to be replaced if there is damage. If this is the case, you can take it to a mechanic who will do this for you. However, if the hood only needs to be lubricated, you can do this yourself.

How to Lubricate a Hood Lock Mechanism

There are three parts of the locking mechanism which are made of three components. These are the hood lock, hood latch, and cable.

You will need to check that you can open the hood of your car. Then, use a flat head screwdriver to remove the trim around the latch mechanism. This will expose the locking screws that you will need to remove. Once the screws are removed, you can open the hood and look at how everything is connected.

You will need to use penetrating oil to lubricate the hood lock. Spray some oil on each of the three components of the locking mechanism, and then allow it to sit for a few minutes. You can then use a cotter pin to lubricate the lock as well as the latch mechanism.

Although you can use spray lubricant, it is better to use a penetrating oil such as WD-40. This will work well and you won’t have to worry about overspray getting on the paint of your car.

The locking mechanism should now be working properly once you have finished lubricating it. The hood should remain closed when it is in a locked position. If your car hood latch sticks or doesn’t work properly, this can be a very simple and inexpensive fix.

Other Causes Of A Hood That Won’t Close

Here are some other possibilities as to why your car’s hood won’t close properly:

  • Cable Fraying: Over time, the cables that release and hold the hood of your car in place can fray or break. You will need to replace this part if it is the problem.
  • Cable Tension: The cable that releases and holds your hood in place will have a tension adjustment screw on it somewhere. If you turn the screw clockwise, it will tighten and allow your hood to close. If you turn the screw counterclockwise, it will loosen. This simple adjustment should solve the problem quickly if that is the issue.
  • Rubber Stops: Your hood may stop closing because the rubber stops that hold it open are worn. If this is the case, you can replace them with new ones.
Car hood rubber stoppers.
  • Lock Mechanism Failure: If you have tried everything else to fix your hood latch and nothing has worked, the lock mechanism itself may be the problem. If this is the case, it needs to be replaced or repaired by a professional.
  • Pull Handle Assembly: If the cable is intact and there is no problem with your hood latch, but your hood won’t close, then you may have a pull handle assembly problem. This is not a common issue but can be fixed easily. You may be able to solve the problem yourself with some detailed instructions or it could be something you need an expert to repair for you.
  • Bent Hood: If your hood is bent in some way. it may not close properly. You can try to bend it back yourself or you can take it to a professional.
  • Rust on the Catch: If your hood is sticking because of rust, you may need to remove some of the rust with a wire brush or replace it entirely. If you are not comfortable with this, take it to a professional who can remove the rust.
  • Damaged Hood Catch: Sometimes, the latch itself may be damaged. The only way to know for sure is to remove it and inspect it. If it is damaged, you can replace it yourself or take it to a professional for repair.
  • Hood Catch Not Properly Aligned: Make sure that the latch and lock mechanism are aligned properly. Even if they were working properly before, if they have been moved, they may not be aligned now.
  • Damage from an Accident: If your car has been in an accident, this may have caused damage to the hood lock or latch mechanism.
Damaged car hood and anterior left lights.

How Do You Reset A Hood Latch?

The hood latch keeps the lid closed while the car is driving. The hood can also be closed, which will seal the hood latch. An auto mechanic can demonstrate how to reset a hood latch when that is needed.

The hood is going to have to seal in place for the car to drive. Don’t let the hood open again while the car is in motion too. That could be dangerous and pose a risk to the driver. Learn more about the hood latch in real-time.

The driver’s manual ought to have plenty of info to read. Read through the booklet to gain more insight about the hood latch. Resetting the hood latch is a simple endeavor for any new car owner.

A car owner should know these tips and tricks in advance. They can make incredible progress when they learn the basics. Tips for resetting can be given.

How Long Does A Hood Latch Replacement Take?

Ask a mechanic how long does a hood latch replacement takes. The auto shop is pleased to make arrangements possible for the clients. The hood latch could malfunction or stop working for various reasons.

It is important to find factory-made parts for the specific vehicle. The model vehicle has its own needs and the auto shop can do its work. That project will take a designated amount of time in the shop itself.

A customer asking for repair details in an auto mechanic shop.

The first step should be calling the help desk for more info. The auto shop has likely done that kind of work in the past. They have the tools and expertise to manage the project in full.

They can give a time-based estimate for the auto work as well. The prices and wait times will be given to those in the know. Pay on time and get the work started on the faulty part.


If your car hood won’t latch, it may be a simple problem to fix. We hope this article has given you some ideas on where to begin your troubleshooting, and what to look for when trying to solve the problem of your hood that won’t latch.

If you have any further questions, please leave a comment below. We are happy to help you!

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About Brock Rangel

Hi, I am Brock, and I am the lead editor/photographer for TheCarColony. I have been a mechanic for over 14 years now, and I am here to spread my car knowledge across the web!

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