The national cost for a hood release cable replacement with CarAdvise in 2024 is between $32 and $320 with an average of $89.

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What is a hood release cable and how does it work?

On most vehicles, access to the engine compartment is as simple as pulling a lever inside the passenger compartment to release the latch that holds the hood closed. When you pull that lever, you are actually pulling on a cable connected to the latch release near the front of and below the hood.

The hood release cable snakes its way from the lever location underneath the driver’s side of the dashboard (or in the kick panel to the left of the dash), through the firewall that separates the cabin from the engine compartment, along the left upper frame rail (part of the front body structure) and to the hood latch.

The cable is actually a heavy wire that runs through a fixed sheath or liner, the way a bicycle brake cable runs through its liner. Pulling on the hood release lever at one end of the cable moves the wire inside its sheath and actuates the latch at the other end.


How is a a Hood Release Cable Replacement done?

In order to replace a hood release cable on most vehicles, a technician will need to do the following

  • Remove the trim surrounding the hood release lever in the lower dashboard or kick panel
  • Disconnect the end of the release cable from the lever assembly
  • Disconnect the other end of the cable from the hood latch (this may require removal of the latch assembly first)
  • Carefully extract the cable through the firewall (Here, a technician will note the direction that the cable must be extracted. It is common to connect the new cable to the old one at this time so as to use the old cable as a guide for inserting the new one)
  • Connect the new cable to both the latch and the lever
  • Reinstall the hood latch
  • Reinstall the interior trim panel(s) that were removed
  • Test the hood latch before closing the hood

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National average cost of a a Hood Release Cable Replacement
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How do I know if my vehicle needs a new hood release cable?

A number of symptoms are associated with a bad hood release cable, some of which can be attributed to other related problems. For instance, if you pull on the release lever and it does not want to move, or it moves with difficulty, the release cable could be kinked or corroded. The hood latch could also be faulty and create the same sensations. Alternately, if the lever provides no resistance, and the hood does not release, the cable could be broken. But so could the handle or the latch.

If the hood release handle does not retract after you pull it, the problem could again be a kinked or corroded cable, or it could be a seized latch that refuses to retract. In either case, it is unlikely that the hood would latch shut after opening.

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Other questions customers ask

Is it safe to drive with a broken hood latch?
It is not safe to drive a vehicle with a broken hood latch, or one that is worn or corroded. If the latch is not working as it should, the hood could open unexpectedly while the vehicle is in motion, especially at high speeds where wind can get under the leading edge of the hood and force it open violently. When this happens, the view of the driver will be entirely blocked, and the windshield can possibly break. If the latch is stuck shut, any problem inside the engine compartment will be inaccessible.
How do you release a hood with a broken cable?
It is a difficult process to open a hood if the release cable is broken or otherwise ineffective. In some cases, it might be possible to use a long thin rod with a hook on the end to reach through the grille and actuate the hood latch. It might even be possible to grab the cable and pull. It will break its anchoring point in the process, but the hood may be able to open. In other cases, a grill might need to be extracted or even broken for access. And in extreme cases, the hood itself might need to have a hole cut in it in order to open it up, requiring that the entire hood be replaced along with the latch and cable.
Do hood latches wear out?
Yes. A hood latch can wear out. It takes a long time for the metal in the latch to wear away enough for the latch to be rendered ineffective, but it can happen over time. More commonly, a hood latch will seize up because of a lack of preventative maintenance. You can avoid this by keeping the latch lubricated on a regular basis.

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