A broken hood latch isn’t especially difficult to repair, but unless you’re checking fluid levels, chances are that you’ll only realize it’s broken if there’s an engine problem. Being unable to gain access to the engine bay can leave you stranded, and create unnecessary expenses of calling on-road help or towing service.
Learning how to open the hood of a Chevy truck from the outside will take you a few minutes, and allow you to get to the engine. Let’s go through different methods and find the one that works for you.
Broken Release Latch
The lock mechanism needs to be strong to keep the hood from opening at high speeds, but it’s only designed to resist upwards motion. When you pull on the hood release cable, the only resistance you face is a small spring. If the cable located inside the cabin works, but the grill cable doesn’t or it’s missing, you can use the following method to open the hood. The only tool required is a flathead screwdriver.
- Try to find an angle from which you can see through the grill towards the locking mechanism. If your grill has deep bars that make it difficult to see through, you follow the steps blindly.
- Insert a flathead screwdriver through a grill slot towards the lock. If you’re concerned about scratching up chrome, wrap the screwdriver with insulation tape.
- Locate the spring. It may not be visible in its entirety, but that’s okay.
- Trace the spring to latch hook, and push it towards the left or right to determine which way it releases.
- Apply enough force to rotate the hook. The hood latch will disconnect, and allow you to open the car.
Broken Release Lever
Located underneath the steering wheel, on the left interior wall or next to the driver’s seat, the hood release lever pulls on the cable connected to the hood latch. It’s a purely mechanical system made to last indefinitely, but sometimes it can break off, making it difficult to open the hood.
The release latch is only designed as a safety, in case you accidentally open the hood. On the other hand, the release lever is a safety mechanism designed to prevent theft or tampering with the engine bay. Because of that, opening the hood with a broken release lever can be challenging.
To open the hood when the release lever is broken:
- Use a pair of pliers to grab hold of the remainder of the latch.
- Pull slowly but with enough force to make progress. Release once the hood pops.
Replacing the lever can be a very difficult job because you’ll have to remove the dashboard underside and even interior upholstery. It’s recommended to leave this job to a professional, who can put everything back into its original place.
When the cable is broken, the release lever will have no tension to it or get stuck completely. In that case:
- Take a magnetic flashlight and a pair of pliers, and get underneath the front of the truck.
- Locate the hood latch mechanism. It should be at the very top, between the mask and the radiator.
- Use the pliers to pull on the exposed part of the cable, and open the hood.
I would strongly recommend trying one of the methods to open the hood from the outside, as succeeding can save you a lot of money. However, if at any point you feel overwhelmed, it’s better to leave it to a professional instead of exacerbating the problem. I hope this article has helped open the hood of your Chevy truck and take a look at our other guides for more useful tips!