Hood Catch Buyer's Guide
- The hood catch is a small hook usually found under the leading edge of the hood. It keeps the hood of your car’s engine compartment in the closed position and prevents the body panel from moving while on the road or off-roading.
- Vehicles can have one or two hood catches depending on their make, model, and hood design. Some Jeep models feature external hood catches on both sides of the hood that hook onto slots molded into the cover.
- The hood catch and hood latch are separate and dissimilar devices that operate in different ways to achieve the same goal. The catch serves as a backup to the latch.
- The warning signs of a bad or failing hood catch include visible fluttering in the hood and unnatural noises caused by the hood’s movement.
- A hood catch can go for anywhere between around $4 to roughly $110.
- As you select a replacement hood catch, it can help to consider materials, the need to drill, and compatibility with your vehicle.
You pay little attention to the hood catch because of its small size and how it remains innocuous while helping the hood latch keep the hood closed and still. When the catch wears out or breaks down, the hinged cover it normally secures will get jostled and make noise during driving, making for a more nerve-wracking ride.
A straightforward replacement of the faulty or failed hood catch will fix the issue. To prevent a repeat, seek the best hood catch available for your vehicle, a task which this guide will endeavor to assist you with.
What is a hood catch?
Sometimes called the “hood safety catch,” it is a small hook usually found under the leading edge of the hood. The hood catch keeps the hood of your car’s engine compartment in the closed position and prevents the body panel from moving while on the road or off-roading.
A lever controls the locking mechanism of the hood catch. Depending on the catch’s design, you unlock it by pushing or pulling the lever in a certain direction.
Types of hood catch
Vehicles can have one or two hood catches depending on their make, model, and hood design. Models with solitary catches usually place their hooking mechanism at the front of the hood while designs with two catches have one on each side of the cover.
Some Jeep models feature external hood catches on both sides of the hood. These catches also get called “hood latches” despite not resembling the mechanism with which they share a name.
Distinguishing between the hood catch and the hood latch
Practically identical names and similar jobs make it understandable for most people to lump the hood catch and hood latch together. They are separate and dissimilar devices that operate in different ways to achieve the same goal.
The hood latch is the primary mechanism that keeps the hood in the closed position. It features greater complexity than a catch and responds to a hood release lever in the driver’s side.
The hood release lever will disengage the hood latch while leaving the hood catch alone. You must exit your vehicle and unlock the catch by hand to open the hood fully.
Car manufacturers deliberately separated the hood catch and the hood latch as a safety measure. If the catch fails or goes bad, the latch will keep the hood closed until a mechanic can repair or replace the broken part. The opposite also holds true as the catch will hold the hood in place if the latch suffers a problem or you accidentally use the hood release lever.
When should you replace the car hood catch?
Just because the hood catch serves as the backup for the hood latch doesn’t mean you can put it out of your mind. The hood latch may keep the hood shut despite the loss of the catch, but working on its own stresses the latch more than usual, causing it to wear out faster until it breaks as well
The warning signs of a bad or failing hood catch include:
- Visible fluttering in the hood, especially while driving at high speeds or over rough terrain
- Unnatural noises caused by the hood’s movement
How much does a hood catch cost?
A hood catch can go for anywhere between around $4 to roughly $110. The price tag varies according to the vehicle’s make and model, the catch’s brand, and the quantity sold. You can buy individual catches, sets of two, and replacement kits with multiple catches.
Selecting the most suitable hood catch for your vehicle
Hundreds of hood catch products fill the commercial market. Since Original Equipment Manufacturer (OE) parts made by the vehicle’s manufacturer only appear at dealerships and officially approved retailers, the most common replacement parts are Original Equipment (OE) parts built by unrelated companies.
As you consider your OEM and OE options, it can help to consider the following requirements:
The hood considerably dwarfs the hood catch in both size and mass. While the hood latch endures most of the vibrations and shocks from operating the vehicle over various road surfaces at different speeds, the catch also goes through quite the pounding.
Thus, hood catches must use strong materials that can handle physical stress and resist corrosion. Popular materials include stainless steel and aluminum.
To drill or not to drill
Bolt fasteners attach the hood catch to the leading edge of the hood. These threaded fasteners go through boreholes drilled into both the catch and the hood.
Drilling fresh holes anywhere in the car’s body requires special tools and skills. Given the relative flimsiness of the hood compared to the other body panels, you must exert even greater care. Making a mistake during the drilling process can damage the vehicle and ruin its looks.
Not looking forward to the risky chore of drilling into your car’s hood? Try getting either an exact replacement of the old hood catch or a different but compatible catch design that can take advantage of existing boreholes.
Compatibility with your vehicle
Hood catches come in different shapes and sizes to best suit the hood of the vehicle that carries them. Parts compatibility becomes an issue given the long production runs of many vehicle models that saw multiple generations with many year models.
Some catches fit on multiple vehicle models manufactured by the same company. The Volvo S70, C70, and V70 models use the same base, so a hood safety catch that fits one model will usually work for the others a well.
Other catches don’t make the jump between different makes or models with the same ease. Jeep hood catch units see exclusive use on their namesake vehicles since the distinct shape of Jeep hoods don’t match the covers on other vehicles.
If the local dealership or official retailer doesn’t carry OEM replacement parts for your vehicle’s failing stock hood catch, you face a daunting task of selecting an OE product.
To make things easier for you, our site has a filter bar that can find suitable replacement parts for your car’s old or broken hood catch. Plugging the year, make, and model in the bar to find a guaranteed fit for your ride.
How to Install an Aluminum Hood Catch With No Drilling Required
Are you tired of your banging and fluttering hood while driving? If yes, then you really need to replace those worn-out hood catch. Getting a strong and sturdy replacement hood catch will be a great investment. You can easily get a replacement from your favorite auto parts center. Just make sure to buy the hood catch that matches the overall design of your vehicle. We recommend you to choose a catch that is made of corrosion-resistant materials. And for a DIYer like you, choose the one that doesn't require any drilling. Here's a step-by-step on how to install an aluminium hood catch with no drilling required.
Things you'll need:
- Screwdriver (flat blade)
- Driver bit (4mm)
- Driver or socket adapter for bits
- Hardwear on the new latches
- 12mm open-end wrench
- 13mm open-end wrench
- 16mm open-end wrench
- 10mm deep socket
- Two 5mm driver bits x2
- 3/8 and ¼ ratchet
- Rubber gloves
Step 1: Prepare all the tools and materials prior to the installation process. Wear rubber gloves for protection.
Step 2: Disassemble the factory hood catches. Use a flat blade screwdriver to carefully pry the retainer pin's end cap. You can do some wiggling to help it pop off.
Step 3: Now, carefully remove the bottom portion of your hood catch by removing the nut located inside the fender. Use an appropriate wrench to remove the nut.
Step 4: After that, gently remove the rubber that is attached to the tab. You will reuse it on the new lower section.
Step 5: Carefully install the lower catch by using an open-end wrench to tighten the nut while being held with a 5mm bit. Be careful not to scratch off the black powder coat under the bolt head.
Step 6: Gently push the rubber bumper pad towards the tab.
Step 7: In order to remove the top factory catch, take away the two 10mm nuts located inside the hood. Remove the top latch.
Step 8: You can now install the new upper hood catch. You need to line up the gasket with the catch before tightening them all the way. You need to do this step carefully and cautiously. Do not forget to reuse the rubber that you have just removed earlier. The upper hood catch has a rubber gasket that goes between the hood and the catch. It goes together with 2 flat top bolts, nylon lock nuts, and flat washers.
Step 9: Check your newly installed top and bottom catches by closing your hood.
Step 10: For this step, you will be needing your two 5mm bits. You need to hold the other side of the hinged portion of the hood catch while tightening the other side. Carefully place the longer pin while lining up the other side.
Step 11: Push the short pin into the longer pin, and tighten them both.
Step 12: Move the latch into its proper place. Make sure to observe the proper spacing of the hood catch.
Step 13:You need to unthread the hood catch by one full turn on the bottom. You also need a one full turn at the top to allow the hood catch to latch firmly.
Step 14: Use your 16mm open-end wrench to tighten the jam nuts, and secure the adjustments that were made.
Step 15: Repeat the process on the other side.
The entire process will only take you less than an hour. Installing a new hood catch is not a difficult task. Learn how to do it on your own, and save more money.