How to Open the Hood of a Car

You may need to look under the hood someday to fix a problem with your car. Here's a step-by-step guide to opening the hood of a car.
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
At some point during your time behind the wheel, you will encounter a problem where you need to learn how to lift the hood of a car.
The good news is that it isn't too tricky, and there are a few simple checks even a novice driver can do just by lifting the hood.
To get you started,
car insurance
and broker app
has created a step-by-step guide to teach you how to pop the hood of a car.
Let Jerry find your price in only 45 seconds
No spam · No long forms · No fees
Find insurance savings

How to open a car hood

Step 1: Park the car in a safe place

Before attempting to open the hood of your car, 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 lift a car 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 also be found on the floorboard of the car or just below the dashboard. For simplicity's sake, 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 pops, but the it 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.
Key Takeaway: Check that the hood is slightly raised and that the grill isn't too hot, then find the latch under the center front of the hood, push it to the side, and lift the hood (or just lift if there is no latch). You might need to use a prop rod to keep it open if you have an older car.

Step 5: Check fluids if necessary and close the hood

There are a lot of things you can check on under the hood of a car 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 the hood, remove the prop rod, tuck the prop rod back into its hold, and lower the hood to close.


What do I do if my car hood will not open?

There are a few reasons why your car hood might not open. But it's usually because your latch might be a little stuck. To fix that, you may have to push down on the hood gently to see if you can loosen things up. Otherwise, though, you shouldn't play with it too much. If it continues to be a problem, you should call a mechanic.

Where can I find cheap car insurance?

If you're experiencing a mechanical issue and your costs are starting to soar, it's a good idea to shop around for car insurance. The best way to do that is through
, an intelligent AI-based tool that can find affordable car insurance policies that are customized for you.
After providing you with a comprehensive preview of the best policies across providers, Jerry will handle the phone calls, paperwork, and renewals for your top pick so that you don’t have to.
Haven’t shopped for insurance in the last six months? There might be hundreds $$$ in savings waiting for you.
Judith switched to Progressive
icon savingsSaved $725 annually
Alexander switched to Travelers
icon savingsSaved $834 annually
Annie switched to Nationwide
icon savingsSaved $668 annually
Are you overpaying for car insurance?
Compare quotes and find out in 45 seconds.
Try Jerry

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings