One of the things that drivers don’t give a second thought about is how to close the hood of a car.
I mean isn’t it obvious? Just let the thing down and that’s that.
Well, as with lots of things around the car, here also, there are a couple of things you should pay attention to.
This article will surely come in handy for more novice drivers but there are some useful tips even for the more experienced ones.
If you’re not in the mood for reading, you have a video tutorial at the end of the article or you can watch it on our YouTube channel.
WHY IS KNOWING HOW TO CLOSE THE HOOD IMPORTANT?
You may ask yourself: why is knowing how to close the hood of a car important? Isn’t it clear enough already?
Well, first there is the safety aspect. It’s alarming how many people drive around with the hood open and do not even notice it.
This may happen due to a faulty lock mechanism but the more usual situation is that it happens due to lack of attention.
It may happen after a check-up, a DIY repair, or else.
Simply, people don’t pay attention if the hood is properly closed and no need to say how dangerous this is while driving. Luckily, there’s a safety latch within the lock mechanism to help prevent an accident.
Another reason is that not properly closing the hood may cause damage to the hood itself but more on that later.
So, a trivial matter but important nonetheless.
HOW TO CLOSE THE HOOD OF A CAR?
So lets’ go through the basic procedure:
1. CHECK THAT THE ENGINE BAY IS CLEAR
Before you close the hood, always make sure that there isn’t anything left in the engine bay.
Especially do this if you’ve done some checkups or DIY repairs and used tools or rags for cleaning.
Screwdrivers, sockets, ratchets, screws, and washers are all common leftovers under the hood.
The main places you should check are near the wiper mechanism, around the rim of the engine bay, on the battery, engine cover, or other places that may serve as a temporary shelf.
Make a habit of giving the engine bay one more brief glance before you close the hood.
Who knows, sometimes there might even be an animal left behind. If you have problems with animals in the engine bay, click here to read the article dedicated specifically to that topic.
2. HOLD THE HOOD WITH ONE HAND AND RELEASE THE HOLDING ROD WITH THE OTHER
If you have the old-fashioned system for holding up the hood like in this case, hold the hood with one hand and release the rod from the base support.
The two most common systems for these rods are either they are latched to the hood or to the car body. In this case, it’s latched to the hood and the support is on the car body.
Whatever the case, release the rod from the support while holding the hood with the other hand.
3. ATTACH THE ROD TO THE CLIP HOLDER
Press the rod into the clip holder. In most cases, the clip holder is plastic and has a distinctive color.
Make sure the rod clicks firmly into place.
Don’t skip this step and leave the rod unsecured as vibrations during driving may cause it to fall in or near the engine bay and cause damage. If the clip is broken, change it as soon as possible.
4. START SLOWLY LOWERING THE HOOD
Slowly let the hood down. Use one or two hands, whatever is more convenient for you. Make sure to keep your hands and fingers in safe spots so you don’t accidentally pinch them.
5. STOP AT ABOUT 20 CM FROM THE CAR, LET THE HOOD FALL DOWN, AND CLOSE
This may seem a bit drastic or that you’ll cause damage to the car but believe me this is the best system.
Why? Well, the other option is to gently lower the hood, let it lock into place, and additionally press it.
If you do this, especially if do it frequently and in a rough manner, over time a slight dent will appear.
If you’ve never noticed, look from time to time at other cars and you’ll see how many of them have these dents.
This is more of an aesthetic problem but one that can seriously reduce the looks and value of your car not to mention that it’s pretty hard and costly to fix.
So, once more, lower the hood to about 20 cm and let it free fall into place. If the locking mechanism is OK it will close properly.
If you have gas struts holding the hood, just push the hood down. In most cases, the struts are set so the resistance stops when the hood is near closing. When it comes near closing, just let the hood down.
Once more, to be clear: do not slam the hood like a barn door, but rather let the hood lock itself in place with its own weight.
One more useful tip at the end: while you’re around the hood, give the locking mechanism a brief check and lube up.
Most of these mechanisms don’t need much maintenance but because they are exposed to the elements so to say, there might appear some corrosion or grit on them.
This may cause it to work with delay or stop working completely.
The best way to prevent this is to use some WD 40 spray or lubricant spray and apply it to all parts of the mechanism both in the engine bay and on the hood.
For the end, always check that the hood is properly closed. Although there is a safety latch to prevent the hood from opening during driving, best, when closed, give the hood a small budge, just to be sure.
Of course, always take a look at the hood from the driving position and see if the hood is properly aligned and not bulging out.
It’s best, of course, to notice an open hood before starting to drive.
Written by: Sibin Spasojevic
Former car technician, life-long car and DIY enthusiast, author for Despairrepair.com
HOW TO CLOSE THE HOOD OF A CAR? YOUTUBE VIDEO