How To Open A Hood When The Cable Is Broken? Easy Methods

To open your car’s hood when the cable is broken, follow these steps:

  • Prepare an improvised tool from a gutter spike, metal rod, or a dog chain anchor.
  • Insert the tool through the front grille into the latch release hole on the left side.
  • Apply pressure with the tool to engage and release the latch mechanism.
  • Lift the hood from the front to open it fully.

That’s the short version. To know details about how to open a car’s hood if the cable is broken and other relevant factors, explore the whole article. 

Key Takeaways

  • When the cable is broken, you can open your car’s hood using a latch release tool by following some easy steps.
  • In case of a broken release latch, you can open the hood using a hook or welding rod. Then gently lift the hood while pulling the latch underneath.
  • To prevent cable malfunctions, conduct regular checks, apply lubrication, and use proper operating practices.

Open Your Car’s Hood When The Cable Is Broken

When your car’s release cable is broken, it can become difficult to open the car’s hood. Your first set of actions is to assess the situation.

Signs That The Cable Is Broken:

Recognizing a broken cable is important for figuring out the best way to open the hood. Here are some signs that your hood release cable has malfunctioned:

  • The hood release lever feels loose and doesn’t appear to activate the mechanism.
  • After pulling the hood release lever, the hood doesn’t pop open.
  • When pulling the hood release lever, you hear a snapping noise or hear the cable breaking.
  • When examining the mechanism beneath the dashboard, you can see that the hood release cable is visibly disconnected or frayed.

Step-By-Step Process to Open The Hood

how to open a bonnet when the cable is broken
Source: iStock

Step 1: Prepare A Makeshift Tool

First of all, you need to arrange a latch release tool that you will use to open the hood. You can make it from a gutter spike, metal rod, or dog chain anchor. 

In this case, we will use a dog chain anchor to make the tool. We can cut off the whirligig that was on the end of it and then bend it into a shape. It will allow it to be used for opening a hood latch.

The length of the tool should depend on the individual’s preferences and needs. In general, it should be long enough to reach the latch mechanism easily.

Step 2: Position the Vehicle

Park the vehicle on a flat surface and engage the parking brake. Then, open the vehicle’s front grille. This might require removing any covers or panels obstructing access to the grille area.

Step 3: Locate the Hood Latch Mechanism

Look for the hood latch mechanism behind the grille. It’s usually located in the center or slightly off-center, close to the front of the vehicle.

Step 4: Identify the Latch Release Point

Locate the hole or opening on the left side of the latch assembly that corresponds to the broken cable’s release point.

Step 5: Insert the Tool

Insert the end of the tool into the grille and guide it toward the latch assembly’s release hole. Aim to engage the latch mechanism with the tool.

Step 6: Engage the Latch Mechanism

Gently maneuver the tool until you feel it makes contact with the latch mechanism inside the release hole.

Step 7: Apply Pressure and Release the Hood

Once the tool is properly positioned, exert a moderate amount of pressure on the latch mechanism using the tool. This pressure simulates the action that the hood release cable would normally perform.

Step 8: Open the Hood

As you apply pressure, the latch mechanism should release, allowing the hood to pop up slightly.

Go to the front of the vehicle and manually lift the hood using the edge closest to the windshield. The hood should open fully now that the latch has been disengaged.

Alternative Methods to Open The Hood

Similar to fixing radio controls, opening your car hood can be done using multiple methods. However, these suggestions should be applied as a final step. Because, they might potentially harm the hood or latch system.

Method 1: Utilizing a Flathead Screwdriver

One emergency method involves using a flathead screwdriver to unlatch the mechanism. 

Insert the screwdriver through the grille or the gap between the hood and front fender. Then, use the screwdriver to pull the latch towards you, thereby releasing the hood.

Method 2: Implementing Pliers

Another emergency technique is using a pair of pliers to tug on the cable. 

First, locate the cable responsible for the hood release mechanism. Then, grasp the cable with pliers and gently pull it towards you. This should free the hood.

Method 3: Utilizing a Coat Hanger

In the absence of a screwdriver or pliers, a coat hanger can be utilized to open the hood. 

First, straighten out the hanger and bend one end into a small hook. Then, insert the hooked end through the grille or gap between the hood and front fender. Finally, hook onto the latch mechanism and pull towards you to release the hood.

Remember, emergency methods should solely be used when there are no other options available. It’s essential to exercise caution when trying these methods. 

What to Do If The Release Hatch Isn’t Working?

Just like heat coming from the side floor, a broken release latch can be a cause of annoyance for your car. When this happens, you will need to manually open the car hood. To do so, follow these three steps:

Step 1: Prepare Tools and Access Hood Latch

Prepare a bent hook or welding rod for the task. Then, locate the cable connecting to the interior hood latch within the car.

Step 2: Release The Hood Latch Mechanism

Use the bent hook or welding rod to remove the spring and release the hood latch mechanism. Simultaneously, put the hood mechanism back in place.

Step 3: Open the Hood

Gently lift the hood while sliding your hand underneath to access and pull the latch as usual. This sequence of efforts should result in the hood raising, allowing you to open it effectively.

By following these steps, you can manually open the car hood even if the release latch isn’t functioning properly.

How to Prevent Faulty Release Cable

Taking preventive measures is vital to avoid the annoyance of a malfunctioning cable. To ensure a proper hood release system, here are some preventive steps you can take:

Regular checks: Routinely examine the hood release system to confirm that all parts are in good shape and functioning correctly. Watch for signs of deterioration, like frayed cables or loose latches, and address them promptly.

how to release hood when cable is broken
Source: iStock

Apply lubrication: Using lubricant on your car will make its parts survive longer. So, you can lubricate the hood release mechanism to maintain its smooth operation. Choose a silicone-based lubricant to prevent dirt buildup.

Product NameFeatures
Tribology/Tech-Lube Silicone Paste Multi-purpose lubricant
Protection from surface oxidation
Reconditions plastic and rubber
Permatex Silicone Extreme Lubricant100% silicone
More longevity than ordinary caliper greases
Supports ethylene-propylene rubber

Keep it clean: Keep the hood release mechanism clean on a regular basis to prevent the accumulation of dirt and debris that could affect its performance.

Shield from the elements: Whenever possible, park your vehicle indoors or in a covered area to shield the hood release system from extreme weather conditions.

Proper usage: Operate the hood release system as instructed, avoiding excessive force or pulling from unusual angles to prevent damage to the cable or mechanism.

By following these preventive steps, you can lower the chances of having a broken hood release cable. Similarly, you can avoid problems such as noise issues during acceleration by taking action beforehand.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What Is A Hood Lock?

This hood lock is a single-piece design that secures the hood latch. It prevents thieves from taking valuable parts from under the hood, like batteries, superchargers, etc.

Is It Okay to Drive With A Broken Hood Latch?

Having a broken latch can lead to a safety risk because the hood may not be securely closed. In this state, there’s a chance that the hood might open suddenly and obstruct your view of the road. 

Does Car Cool Faster With Hood Open?

Yes, opening the hood can speed up engine cooling. It’s a good practice and can be especially useful in hot climates.


Now you know how to open a hood when the cable is broken. You can use an improvised release tool, screwdriver, pliers, or coat hangers to open the hood. However, it’s recommended to promptly repair or replace the cable for a permanent solution.

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