Auto Repair For Dummies, 2nd Edition
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How can you check the oil, coolant, and transmission fluid, refill windshield wiper fluid, and check accessory belts if you don’t know how to get the hood of your vehicle open? Opening the hood is easy and uncomplicated — if you know how to do it. Although the location of the hood release may differ from one vehicle to the next, all releases work in pretty much the same way.

If after reading the following instructions and consulting your owner’s manual you still can’t figure out how to get your hood open, head to a service shop and ask someone there to show you how to do it.

Here’s how to open the hood yourself:
  1. Find your hood release and pop open the hood.

    Either consult your owner’s manual, or try to remember the last time a service representative or technician opened the hood of your car. Did they ask you to pull a lever inside the vehicle? Or did they go directly to the front grill?

    In newer models, the hood release is often inside the vehicle, somewhere near the steering column or on the floor next to the driver’s seat. (It generally displays the word “Hood” or a picture of a car with its hood up.) In older models, the hood release is behind the grill or the bumper.

    If the hood release is inside the vehicle, press, push, or pull it until you hear the hood pop open. If the hood release is at the front, look around and through the grill and feel under the grill and behind the bumper to find a handle, lever, arm, or button. Then press, push, or pull it from front to back and side to side until it releases the hood.

    The hood will open a little, but it will probably be stopped by the safety catch — a metal lever that, when pressed one way or the other, releases the hood so that it can open all the way. This gizmo prevents the hood from opening accidentally while you’re driving.

  2. With one hand, raise the hood as far as it will go.

  3. With the other hand, feel along the area between the hood and the grill for the safety catch. Release it and raise the hood the rest of the way.

  4. Secure the hood if necessary.

    If the hood stays up all by itself, fine. If it doesn’t, look for a hood prop — a long, thin metal rod attached either to the underside of the hood or to the bottom edge of the hood opening. Either lower or lift the rod (depending on where it’s located) and fit the end of it into the slot that’s provided to hold it in place.

On some vehicles, the hood is held up by two gas-pressurized cylinders known as hood shocks. If the hood doesn’t feel secure, gas may have leaked out of these units and the hood could come down at any moment. If you’re not sure, secure the hood with a broom handle or similar object and have these units checked — or replaced, if needed — as soon as you can.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Deanna Sclar is an acclaimed auto repair expert. She has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including NBC's Today show and the NBCNightly News. Sclar lectures internationally on the ecological impact of vehicles and is active in promoting residential solar energy programs. Sclar is also the author of Buying a Car For Dummies.

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