Hood Latch Buyer's Guide
- The hood latch keeps the hood in place so that when you move at high speeds, your hood doesn’t open randomly thus injuring other people, or even you.
- It operates mechanically, this means that its moving parts only depend upon you, and not on any other electronic device.
- Nasty collisions, long exposure to the elements, and factory defects are the three most common reasons why a hood latch may become broken. At least one of these are avoidable, while the other two may be inevitable or unavoidable.
- You’ll know right away if your hood latch is broken if you can’t seem to pop your hood easily, or if you can’t pop it at all.
- Find the right fit by inputting your car’s model year and make onto CarParts.com’s search filters located below the search bar in order to make your search easier.
The hood of your car is a huge space that either contains all the essential components of your car to keep it moving, or a trunk space for your luggage. More often than not, circumstances dictate that your car has the prior one in it. Your engine, the radiator, the battery, and all other parts that make your car function accordingly hide beneath the protection of your hood. This is why all the spaces and the linings found on it are sealed in order to be weatherproof, as to keep them away from the harshness of the elements.
One of the most important parts of the hood, however, is not an eighth of its size. The part being talked about is the hood latch. It functions much like how your doorknob works. While not necessarily providing a lock for the “door” to your engine, it keeps the hood in place so that when you move through the air at high speeds, your hood doesn’t fly open and injure either you or your family members. Despite its size, the functionality it offers as well as the incidents that it hopes to prevent are very real and dangerous to ignore.
What is a hood latch?
To explain more clearly and with much more detail, the hood latch is the one found under the front end of your hood. It’s what you pull on in order to pop open the hood to address any interior issues that your car may have.
What it does is it creates a form of a locking system that keeps your hood in place so that it doesn’t fly off while you’re driving. Aside from this, it helps maintain the integrity of the seals by keeping the hood in contact with your car so that the seals that weatherproof the inner workings of your car do their jobs properly.
How does a hood latch work?
The mechanism behind the hood latch is simple. There are two main parts that work together in order to complete what it’s meant to do: the interior and the exterior parts. The interior part is located on the driver’s side of your vehicle, and you pull it up in order to hear a subtle “pop” indicating that your hood is ready to open.
Once outside and facing the front-end of the hood, it will be the exterior part’s time to shine. As mentioned a while ago, this is the latch that you pull up once you’ve determined that your hood is ready to open.
What can cause a broken hood latch?
Your hood latch might encounter some problems with functionality if various things affect it adversely. These events might be triggered either due to carelessness or by plain chance. Either way, listed below are the reasons why you might be having problems with your hood latch.
A nasty collision
The hood latch, being positioned at the front-end of your hood, will be subject to damage only if the collision was of a serious nature. This is due to the fact that regardless how far up front it’s located, your bumper cover will only be able to take much of the hit if the bump was light or negligible. While these types of accidents are hardly ever avoidable, do keep it in your interest to drive safely along the road.
Subjected to harsh elements
If you leave your car out in the open, without any form of shade or whatnot, the tendency is that however weather-proofed or sealed the holes in your car are, moisture finds its way through the tiniest of crevices, creating a path of destruction in its wake that will be difficult to address. The instances of your car succumbing to the elements may easily be avoided. You can opt to park your car under the protection of a roof or if opportunities do not present themselves, you could purchase a car cover in order to keep the rain and sun away.
While it may be a stretch that your car dealership sent you a car with a factory defect, the possibility of it happening cannot be ruled out just like that. In fact, it’s an accepted given that not everything that comes out of the assembly line is a guaranteed perfect piece of machinery. Just like nasty collisions, these instances are highly improbable to avoid or even foresee, so if you experience a faulty hood latch because of it being a factory defect, please have your car checked by the dealership you bought or purchased your car from.
Symptoms of a bad hood latch
The hood latch, being a component that has a fairly simple function, can be readily diagnosed as faulty. There would be no need for special tools or specific skills in checking if your hood latch is broken, in fact, the only steps you have to take are those listed above. You only need to check if your hood opens or not. If it doesn’t, then it might be time to order a replacement hood latch.
Finding the right fit
Just like all other parts of a car, the specificity of your component is necessary because car design differs from model to model as well. A hood latch, no matter how simple, is also subject to the same type of differentiation from each other. To help you make your search for the perfect hood latch for your car, our website offers a search filter that allows you to input your car’s model year and make below to make the search easier.
Restoring your Hood Latch's Functionality
Luckily, replacing your hood latch won't be a big deal. In fact, you can do it yourself in very little time and without breaking a sweat.
Difficulty level: Moderate
Items you'll need:
- Protective gloves
- Good lighting/ flashlight
- Piece of cloth
- Replacement hood latch
Step 1: Before you get started, be sure that you're observing proper safety precautions. Wear some protective gloves and even some work glasses to keep you safe at all times.
Step 2: Open up your hood and keep it propped open; last thing you want is to get hit in the head by your own hood. After this, locate your hood latch, which should be near the front of the vehicle.
Step 3: Take your wrench and use it to remove the nuts on the sides of your stock latch. Use a flashlight if you have trouble locating the nuts.
Step 4: Disconnect the spring and cable from the back of the latch. This is done by lifting it up and off the latch assembly.
Step 5: Take out the entire latch from the vehicle and place it out of your way.
Step 6: Clean your new hood latch off with a piece of cloth to ensure that it is free from obstructive dust and other particles.
Step 7: Insert the replacement hood latch in place and see to it that it's properly oriented in order to guarantee proper fit and functionality.
Step 8: Secure your newly installed hood latch by tightening its nuts.
Step 9: Test it out by opening and closing your hood, and you're all set.