How to Open the Hood of a Car

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Open the hood of a car to check on your vehicle and fix any problems within your grasp. (Photo: @mazik via Twenty20)
At some point during your time behind the wheel, you will encounter a problem where you need to take a look under the hood. The good news is that there are a lot of simple checks even a novice driver can do just by lifting the hood. To get you started, we’ve created a step-by-step guide to teach you how to open the hood of a vehicle.

How to Open a Car Hood

Step 1: Park the car in a safe place. Before attempting to open the hood of your vehicle, make sure that you are in a safe place away from traffic.
If you are seeking to open your car’s hood because of a mechanical problem, be sure to get the car to a safe location, put the car in “park,” put the parking brake on, and turn off the engine.
Step 2: Locate the hood lever. The lever used to pop open your vehicle’s hood is usually located inside the car on the driver’s side.
The hood lever is sometimes alongside the driver’s seat and to the left, if you are sitting behind the wheel. It might be found on the floorboard of the car or just below the dashboard, and it is often marked with a picture of a hood.
Step 3: Pull the lever to pop the hood. Once you locate the lever, simply pull back until you hear the hood click or pop. You should hear a noise as the hood releases, but the hood will not spring all the way up.
Step 4: Go to the front of the car to open the hood fully. Step out of the car and go around to the front bumper. You should see that the hood is raised slightly, but not open completely.
Be sure that your car’s grill isn’t too hot before you attempt to open the hood.
Most vehicles have a latch that you must push to one side in order to open the hood all the way.
Feel for the latch by placing your fingers under the center point at the front of the hood. You should be able to push it to the side and then lift the hood up.
Most newer-model cars have support arms that hold up the hood. For older cars, you might have to prop the hood up with a prop rod found to one side of the engine bay.
Step 5: Check fluids if necessary and close the hood. There are a lot of things you can check on your own to monitor your car’s performance. Windshield washer fluid, oil levels, and brake fluid can all be checked if you know where to look.
To close your car’s hood, simply push it down. Be sure to let the hood drop from your hands a few inches from the bottom so that it closes without squashing your fingers. For older models, lift up on the hood, remove the prop rod, tuck the prop rod back into its hold, and lower the hood to close.