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Hood Latch Broken with Hood Shut

Hello, the hood latch on my '02 Outback is busted – it looks like the cable broke at the latch itself. How do I get the hood open so I can replace the latch?

I ran into the same problem once but on a different car…I used a piece of steel bar (probably 1/8" thick X 1/2" wide…a couple feet long) and stuck it through the grill and pushed it sideways against the lever mechanism to get the hood to open. You may need to bend or curve the bar if it needs to snake in (instead of going in straight).

Be careful not to nick the A/C condensor or the radiator core, and be sure you have a new replacement cable on hand to put in, so you won’t be in the same dilemma after you close the hood again.

You might be able to trip the latch with a long screwdriver inserted into the grille or up under the car if there is no air deflector/undercover on the car. You might also be able to use a socket/extensions through the grille if the latch bolts are exposed.

I was able to get the latch bolts loose with a socket, but I still can’t open the hood. There is a spring/coil of thick metal on the back of the latch that faces towards the rear of the car, and as the hood opens the last coil catches against the frame and prevents the hood from opening. I guess I’ll have to try and trip the lock with a screwdriver, but I haven’t had any luck with that yet.

You’re on the right track. If I were you I would try to find another car just like mine and look carefully at how the latch works, as well as how the whole thing is mounted. That way you can figure out how to attack the problem. Maybe you can start taking the grille out somehow. A body shop that does crash repairs has to deal with this sort of problem, stop in and ask them.