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Toyoto Pickup Hood Latch

The hood has always been difficult to open The hood is bend at the hinges so that it closes back a 1/2 inch – but it has always opened. Now, it won’t; the cable seems attached but the hood doesnt pop up at all. How can I get it to open – the battery needs charging. To see the mechanism better, I have tried to take off the grill, but it is not easy with the hood closed. Suggestions?

Have you had someone push down on the hood as you pull on the release lever?