What is Car Hood?- What do they do & How to open

What is Hood of the Car?

A car hood also referred to as a bonnet in some other countries is the hinged cover that rests over the engine of a front-engine vehicle. Its purpose is to provide access to the engine for repair and maintenance. Car hoods are typically constructed from steel and sometimes from aluminum.

In UK terminology, a hood refers to a fabric covering over the passenger compartment of the car (known as the “roof” or “top” in the US). For many motor vehicles built in the 1930s and 1940s, the resemblance to an actual hood is clear when it is opened and viewed from the front; in modern vehicles, it still serves the same purpose, but no longer resembles head covering.

On front-engined cars, the hood may be hinged at either the front or the rear edge, or in earlier models (e.g. the Ford Model T) it may be split into two sections, one on each side, each hinged along the centerline. A further variant combines the bonnet and wheel arches into one section and allows the entire front bodywork to tilt forwards around a pivot near the front of the vehicle.

Hoods are usually made from the same material as the rest of the body. This can be steel, aluminum, fiberglass, or carbon fiber. However, some aftermarket companies produce fiberglass or carbon fiber steel hood replacements to make the vehicle lighter.

The hood release system is common on most vehicles and typically consists of an inner hood latch/lock handle, a hood release cable, and a hood lock assembly. The hood lock handle is usually located under the steering wheel, next to the driver’s seat, or in the door frame.

For racing cars or vehicles with aftermarket hoods (that do not use the factory latch system) the hood can be held down by hood pins. Some aftermarket hoods that have a latch system still have hood pins to keep the hood buttoned down if the latch fails.

A hood may contain a hood ornament, hood scoop, power bulge, and/or wiper jets.

What is a Hood ornament?

A hood ornament (or bonnet ornament in Commonwealth English), also called radiator cap, motor mascot, or car mascot is a specially crafted model which symbolizes a car company like a badge, located on the front center portion of the hood. It has been used as an adornment nearly since the inception of automobiles.

Are car hood ornaments illegal? It’s not illegal to install a hood ornament in the United States. Not anywhere. Not unless you fail to install it properly and it comes off and damages a car, which doesn’t make the hood ornament illegal itself, that’s no different than any vehicle component. Another caveat is it can’t obscure your view.

Perhaps the biggest factor in the downfall of hood ornaments was safety. Europe led the charge with new pedestrian safety regulations. The idea was to keep that fancy bit of metal from seriously injuring a person during a collision. It might be the least of your worries if you’re hit by a car, but it was a start.

What is the most famous hood ornament? The Spirit of Ecstasy is possibly the most recognizable hood ornament there ever was, with its roots going back to the early 1900s.

But you know how to open the car hood, if not let’s dive into it.

How to open a car Hood?

Either refer to your owner’s manual or try to remember the last time a service representative or technician opened the hood of your car. Have you been asked to pull a lever inside the vehicle? Or did they go straight to the front grill?

On newer models, the hood release is often located inside the vehicle, somewhere near the steering column, or on the floor next to the driver’s seat. (Typically, you’ll see the word “hood” or a picture of a car with the hood open.) On older models, the hood release is behind the grill or bumper.

With the hood released inside the vehicle, press, push, or pull until the hood pops open. With the hood release in the front, look around and through the grille and feel under the grille and behind the bumper to find a handle, lever, arm, or button. Then push, press, or pull from front to back and side to side until it releases the hood.

The hood opens a little but is likely to be stopped by the safety lock of a metal lever that, when pushed in one direction or the other, releases the hood so it can be fully opened.

Lift the hood to the stop with one hand. On the other hand, feel the area between the hood and grill after securing. Let go of it and raise the hood all the way. Secure the hood if necessary.

If the hood stays on by itself, fine. If it doesn’t, look for hood support, a long, thin metal rod that is attached to either the bottom of the hood or the bottom edge of the hood opening. Lower or raise the bar (depending on where it is) and insert the end into the slot provided to hold it in place.

But what if it’s stuck so, how do you open the hood of a car from the outside?

How to Open a stuck hood?

At times, the hood won’t pop open even when you’ve released the inside latch. Use the following steps to loosen the hood and open it.

Step 1: Apply extra pressure on the hood. With your open palms, push the hood down. You may need to tap it, but do not use excessive force such as with your fists, or you risk denting your hood.

Step 2: Get help. If you have a friend to help, leave the other person in the vehicle, release, and hold the inside lever in the unlock position while lifting the hood.

This method often works if the latch is rusted or has dirt or grime on it.

Step 3: Let the engine warm up. Cold weather often prevents the hood from opening because frozen condensation will hold it in place. Turn on the engine to let the frozen parts thaw. Once your car is warm, try opening the hood again.

After opening the hood, clean the latch. It’s also a good idea to contact a mechanic to check the latch and either lubricate or replace it if necessary.

Warning: Avoid using a lubricant alone, as the wrong type can contaminate the oxygen sensor, which will affect the performance of your engine.

Opening a hood with a failed latch

Sometimes, the latch may fail to work because it has been stretched or damaged.

Step 1: try to apply pressure on the hood. If you push down on the hood while someone else releases the inside lever, the latch may click into place even if it does not work properly. If this step fixes the problem, the hood will lift slightly so you can open it normally.

Step 2: try pulling on the cable. If applying pressure doesn’t work or you have no one available to help, find the cable attached to the inside lever and pull on it. Be gentle and don’t pull too hard.

If the hood opens in the process, it likely means the cable needs to be replaced.

Step 3: try to pull the cable through the fender well. You may have to pull the latch cable through the fender well on the driver’s side. Remove the fender clips and reach into the fender well to grab and pull the cable.

This method works when the cable is attached to the outer latch. If you feel no tension on the cable at all, it indicates that the cable is not attached to the front latch.

Step 4: try a hood release tool. If all else fails, you can use a small hook tool to reach under the hood and grab the cable or latch to unlock it.

Warning: Make sure the engine has cooled down so you don’t burn your hands while reaching into it.

If you are having trouble locating the latch or lever for your vehicle’s hood, or if it is difficult or impossible to open, get the help of a professional to open it for you.