Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Is it safe to drive a car with no hood?

So my daughter has a new boyfriend, a 12th grader who seems nice enough. But his car has
no hood over the engine. Apparently it got messed up in a fender-bender. He’s working on
saving the money to get it fixed, but in the meantime he’s driving around with the engine
with full-frontal exposure.

Is this safe?

Is this even legal?

Safe yes, legal depends on the state. I’m sure your thrilled, truth is so much better then fiction. Lol

Not sure on the legality, as this can vary from state to state, but as for the engine, it’s not good for it to be exposed to precipitation, which could damage electronic components, and may affect the performance of the cooling system, which could possibly cause overheating. Coming up with the money should not be too difficult if there are any salvage yards nearby. There are several within 40 miles of where I live, and generally a hood sells for about 30 bucks.

Safe, I suppose. If it bothers you, why not offer to go halfsies on another hood?

The battery, rad cap, wires etc could very easily be stolen, or sabotaged

1 Like

Good comments here. I’ve thought about contributing to the new hood, but the guy has only had boyfriend status for a week, and I’m not sure what it would mean to give him money in the context of my daughter’s relationship.

He’s got somebody lined up to replace it, and it sounds like they found one at a salvage yard. But with the other work from the collision (the front end is a little bent), the estimate is $1000.
So it’s going to take him a bit to save it up with a minimum wage job.

Maybe I’ll have him rake some leaves or something so he feels like he’s earned any cash I give him.


You might warn him, at high speeds, the airflow around the car will change dramatically with a LOT of air that normally goes under the car now coming up through the large hood opening…Rain, puddles, not good…

A grand is a bit much for a hood unless it involves paintwork also. Why not just do some footwork with local salvages, Craigslist, and so on and try to find a hood in the same color. A few bolts and 10 minutes time and it’s a done deal.

Driving around with no hood is not that rare here. It usually involves Neons, Civics, etc and is done on purpose; usually to show off a brightly colored cold air intake or various items that have been spray painted yellow. :wink:

There are lots of vehicles with exposed engines, like motorcycles, hot-rods, and dune buggies. I wouldn’t worry about it. It will hurt fuel economy, and make it easier for someone to steal parts, but I don’t think there is anything inherently unsafe about it.

There are a lot of vehicles with exposed motors. But, they are designed to be and usually not exposed directly to the elements with appropriate shields. A car motor though it is not, can be maintained well enough and weather proof with little work. Otherwise, I would buy him a tarp to throw over it at night. (after it cooled down)

I am trying to read more into his personality with this no hood thing. Either the guy is very independent-wants to pay for his own stuff, and would turn out to be a good hard working guy, or maybe he actually is driving it that way as per OK’s suggestion to show off some engine element and just giving the accident as an excuse to the GF dad. Time will tell. Keep your eyes & ears open and see where this leads too.

You should have seen the young man who was driving a Neon around here a few years back and which had no hood.

What it did have was crime scene tape striping the car and about a dozen strands woven across the top of the hoodless engine compartment. He could be seen cruising around with yellow tape flapping in the breeze… :wink:

I also have been thinking about the “cool factor” which ok4450 and galant implied. Around here, what’s cool for males of that age is to remove the doors on their older 4x4 Toyotas, I think there’s some connection with the “rock crawler” style, those are 4x4s modified for negotiating extreme rough off road terrain, as in a technical challenge. Needless to say, absence of doors creates a major safety deficit but evidently it’s not illegal in California (duhhhh).

There may be a minor safety issue in terms of crash protection on the hoodless car…is it also missing the front bumper?

I suppose driving sans doors would be no different than motoring around in a Jeep CJ or something like that but it would certainly make me nervous. It’s dangerous enough out there with doors, much less not having them at all.

A few weeks ago a very long time friend of mine passed away after having spent his life since the early 70s as a paraplegic. He was on the way back to OK from a Naval base near SF CA and fell asleep at the wheel out in AZ. Even with the doors on his Camaro locked they still came open and he was ejected from the car followed by the car rolling over him. The car had lap belts only back then and he was thrown out anyway.

No hood for a few miles on a clear day is OK. As far as going a few weeks without a hood over the motor - not a good idea. The motor won’t like being rained on. If it has a distributor cap and plug wires it might not run at all if wet. The alternator is not protected from rain and could short out.

Less likely but possible is a blown radiator or cooling hose could spray coolant on the windshield which the wipers will just turn into a smeared mess compromising vision. I’d tell daughter that she shouldn’t ride in boyfriends car until it has a hood.

He can buy a hood at a salvage yard and it is a couple of bolts to attach it. Who cares about the color, and he may have to wire it shut for a while until he can afford the rest of the repair job.

Before assuming it’s safe, perhaps a look at the attached technical document is in order. Today’s cars are typically designed with the hoos as a critical energy absorption path. Removing the hood substantially reduces the passenger protection.

@mountainbike: That’s what I thought just based on common sense. Good to have this substantiated. Thanks.

You’re very welcome.
Be safe, everyone.

Yes, this is very helpful. I’ll see if I can help the boy get a replacement hood soon.

I came here about my own car’s hood that got crunches halfway through a road trip yesterday, but I MUST KNOW! What ever made of this guy? Was he honest? Did he get the hood? Did he marry your daughter & give you grandbabies? DETAILS!

1 Like