Every vehicle is made up of many different parts, some of which are so small and so ordinary that we barely notice them or give them any attention at all. Most of the time, however, those minute mechanical parts prove themselves very important. Damages in them would cause the most trouble. Take the hood latch as an example. It is small, hardly noticeable, and you almost never think about it until it gets stuck. But it has an important role to play, and when it gets damaged, you'll surely be in for trouble.
This hood assembly component is the catch or fastener that makes sure the hood of your vehicle is securely closed whenever it is shut. It should secure your vehicle's hood such that the hood won't rattle or bounce up and down, specially when the road is quite rough. But function is the only similarity that different hood latchs have. See, different makes or models of vehicles are not equipped with the same type of latch. There are the manual latches that can be closed or opened from the hood's front with the use of a key. (Yes, it works just like car door locks with keyholes.) Then there are the latches that use a lever and a release cable. With such latch assembly, you open your car's hood by pulling a lever or handle usually located at the lower left side of dash on the driver's side. This pulls the hood release cable, which in turn makes the latch mechanism on its other end release its hold on the hood. However, to prevent the hood from suddenly flying up towards the windshield when you pull on the release handle, a safety latch is installed. It merely holds the hood down when the first latch has been disengaged. To be able to lift the hood, you only have to release the safety latch manually.
Aside from the manual latches, there are also electrically operated hood latch assemblies that are engaged and disengaged via buttons located in the vehicle's cabin. These latch assemblies often operate with gas-charged hood support struts, which allow the car owner to open the hood to any intermediate open position. These latches also often have a secret emergency-release cable that may be used should the main button malfunction.
Now, whether your car hood latch is manual or electric, it deserves to be properly maintained. Keep both primary and secondary latches from quickly wearing or getting stuck by regularly lubricating their springs and other moving parts with white lithium grease. Brush away dirt or grime buildup if there's any. However, if it completely gives in to wearing and already keeps you from opening and closing your hood properly, then replacing it is the best option.
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