The hood of your vehicle covers the engine and is kept down by a latch. The hood can be opened by a latch on the interior of the vehicle, right below the steering wheel. Once the latch is pulled, the hood pops up slightly. Once the hood pops up, you can further open the hood from a secondary switch located underneath the front of the hood. This safety feature is designed just in case the hood accidentally releases while you are driving down the road. Obviously, driving with the hood open can be a very dangerous maneuver.
Here are some things to think about if you are worried about your hood popping open while driving:
If your hood happens to pop all the way open while you are driving, obstructing your view, slow down and try to look underneath the hood. If that is not possible, put your head out the driver’s side window to see around the hood. Follow the painted lines as a guide to point you towards the side of the road. Safely pull off the side of the road with your hazard lights on and shut your hood.
The hood latch is prone to wear and tear and can break after a period of time. The secondary hood release may seize up and not release properly because it is exposed to the various weather conditions. If the secondary release seizes, the hood may not close properly, causing it to pop open. This is not a safe situation to be in while you are driving down the road.
The secondary latch works with a tension spring. By keeping the spring lubricated, it will help to lengthen the lifespan of the latch. Check your hood latch system on a regular basis and lubricate it as needed. This way, your hood latch system will be more reliable and you will not have to worry about your hood opening while you are driving.
Part of the hood latch system is the cable. If the cable starts seizing, the hood will not open or close properly. If you wait too long to get this looked at, the cable will need to be replaced.
Do not drive with the hood open as it can be dangerous. It is difficult to see with the hood in your way, so it can cause you to hit something or hit vehicles around you. If your hood is not working properly, it is best to have it inspected at by a mechanic before the hood opens unexpectedly.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Is it Safe to Drive With the Hood Open? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.