How does a car hood latch work?

I had dinner at my friend’s apartment last night. My car wouldn’t start when I went to leave. We grabbed a pair of jumper cables and pulled my friend’s car close to mine, but we couldn’t get my hood open! It was pretty late, so I called an Uber home and am going back to get my car later today. Before I go, what’s the easiest way to open a hood latch?

Hood latches are simple by design but can certainly be tricky at times, especially because every make and model is slightly different.
In general, the hood latch system starts with a release handle located on the left side of the driver’s area. This handle is connected to an insulated cable that runs towards the front of the vehicle. The other side of the cable is connected to a latch under the hood that keeps the hood flush against the car’s body.
Pulling the interior release handle will disengage the latch and open the hood a few inches. Once the latch has been disengaged, and the hood lifts a few inches, a safety latch will stop the hood from being fully raised.
You’ll need to reach under the hood and feel around for a manual release lever to release the safety latch. The placement of the release lever varies by make and model but tends to be towards the center of the vehicle. Pull the safety latch’s manual release to lift the hood up all the way.
Hopefully, understanding how the latch mechanism works will help you access the battery for a jumpstart. If you have trouble, consult the owner’s manual or use a screwdriver to disengage the safety latch.
Fortunately, you were at a friend’s house and didn’t have to use your towing and labor coverage or call for roadside service.
However, if you’re looking for roadside assistance at a great price, try Jerry. Jerry’s roadside assistance membership gives you access to industry-leading roadside assistance for as little as $4.16 a month!
Jack Walsh
Answered on Nov 18, 2021

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