Question about a hood latch?



Last night I checked the oil in my truck when I opened the hood I had to jerk hard on the cable to open I am afraid I will break it one day…My question is what is the best way to lube the cable or should I replace it? truck is 1982 dodge half ton.


First try lubing the hood latch mechanism.



What type of lube would you recommend?





Thank you will give it a try.


WD40 is great stuff for penetrating and cutting through corrosion to get things working, but best lubricant for things like hinges and latches and cables is chain and cable lube in an aerosol can. It is grease dissolved in light solvent so it penetrates deeply and then the light solvent evaporates leaving grease in the hinge/latch/etc. There are many brands. Some are easier to work with than others. Wurth is pricey but fairly easy to work with.

There are clamps with rubber inside that are made to clamp onto cables like the brake cables on bicycles and clutch cables on motorcycles. The clamps have a tiny hole where you plug in the tube that fits in the button on top of the aerosol can of chain and cable lube. The clamp seals the end of the cable so that the pressure in the can forces lubricant down the full length of the cable. Generally doing this to hood release cables once when the car is about 10 years old keeps them smooth and rust free for as long as the car lasts

Also good for handbrake cables. Having the handbrake cable be full of grease helps keep water out in the winter that can freeze and cause your handbrake to stay actuated.


If the cable looks frayed or about to break, might be a good idea to replace it asap. When those hood latch cables break it can be a big time consuming chore to get the hood open again so you can replace the cable. A chore best avoided.


Reminds me of one of my worst DIY ‘oh no’ moments. A hood latch that is plastic and to be pulled through the front grill to open the hood.
I pulled and heard ‘snap’ and ‘sprinnnnggggg’ as the plastic piece came through the grill but the hood did not open. There was also the sound of a small metallic piece falling down just behind the grill. I could only guess that it was part of the mechanism that fell down as the plastic broke and got stuck somewhere because it wasn’t on the floor of the garage.

So how to open the hood and fish out the metal? Were there other loose pieces on the latch mechanism that would fly backward into the engine area and cause problems if I start and drive the car to get help?
Wound up spending lots of time online to find pictures of how the latch mechanism worked, then thinking up the use of a stiff plastic line (from a weed whacker) in a loop pushed in through the grill to catch the right part of the mechanism and then PULL! Hood opened and voila! Bacon saved!

Still don’t understand why the carmaker chose a stupid fragile plastic piece for the handle.


George it does not look frayed it is just hard to pull. The truck has been sitting for about a year & I think it was gummed up to due non use.I am using tester’s idea with wd40 I have been spraying every hour or so & it is getting better.I am lucky to have freind who worked at dodge dealership’s for 30 years who has been helping me.


Concur. Plastic parts in the door handles have been a repair problem on my 25 years old Corolla over the years. The handles on my truck are all metal, never a problem that a little wd40 couldn’t solve in over 45 years. You’d think the designers would attempt to make handles the owner operate all the time as robust as possible. Plastic parts in fenders, or even just plastic fenders are ok by me, but keep the plastic parts out of door handle and latch mechanisms.


Muscle Grease. It is a smelly red spray grease that is fantastic for hood and door latches, as well as hinges.


For the latch I’ve always used good old fashioned general purpose grease injected into orafices between the latch parts straight from the gun.
For cables, if I can access the end of the sheath I’ll us a spray-on PTFE lubricant. Or a silicone grease, available at hardware stores in the plumbing department.

For my bicycle cables I used to use a PTFE grease in a hypodermic needle, available at bike stores… but it disappeared from the marketplace years ago and I’ve never been able to find it again. It’s great stuff if you can get it.


I’ve found a few of these cables that needed to be lubed. Some I couldn’t find a replacement for.

My fix: I pulled the cable out and clamped it lightly in a vise with about three inches of cable above the vise.
Take a small plastic baggie and push it over the cable…poking through the bag.
Use electrical tape and tape the baggie to the cable sheath to seal the baggie.

Now you can fill the baggie with whatever oil or lube you want and twist tie the top to keep the oil in.
Let it sit in the vise over night or until the oil drips out the bottom end of the cable.
You then can remove the baggie and work the cable until it’s working freely.



Thank you Yosmite I was trying to figure a way to get lube on the cable I will do that as it makes sense.


There are 2 rubber cushions on the grill shell that prevent the hood from rattling. If those cushions are twisted outward too far the hood will require slamming to get it to latch and result in the hood latch being under a great deal of tension. Releasing the hood latch requires the hood being drawn down against those rubber cushions more tightly in order to release.


You’ve gotten good advice here, and I can only add that it would make sense for you to study how things are put together so that, if the cable suddenly breaks, you know how to get in far enough to open the hood. Take a few pictures, too. I spent days getting to the latch on a 1990 Nissan 350ZX.


Great advice @wentwest. I recall some strange twists and bends on cheap 24" screw drivers made while looking at a similar car to the one with a broken release cable. Without the twin to look at it would likely have often required damaging the grill.


First I want to thank everyone for the reply’s. I used tester’s & Yosemite’s advice & it is working like new. Wentwest I also added a short cable thru the wheel well in case the main cable break’s.Rod Knox where can I get those rubber cushions as one of mine is dry rottted & the other one is missing. Thank’s again every one for your help.


Glad to hear that the cable is working better now. When I have used the baggie method, I’d fill the baggie with PB Blaster.

I think you may need to go to a dealer for those cushions, but I could be wrong.



I have seen the bump stops on the HELP rack at parts stores @Renegade. Try there and if no luck check the dealer. When that part is missing there is no pressure on the hood to hold the hood off the latch which causes people to get aggravated and repeatedly yank the release out to its limit which can break the cable.