We don’t think of our truck latches and locks as a super important kit until, of course, they don’t work. Then we soon see the really important job they do. I’m a GM mechanic, and today we’ll get your hood latch figured out.
A Silverado hood commonly fails to latch because the hood latch release handle is stuck in the pulled position. Lubing the underhood latch will, for most owners, solve the problem.
In this post, you’ll learn why your Chevy Silverado hood won’t latch and what you can do to fix it.
The Hood Latch Maintenance
I’ve had the unpleasant experience of a hood flying open on the highway; it was self-inflicted. I knew the latch wasn’t quite right; I put off fixing it. I was young and stupid.
Thankfully nobody was hurt, and I learned a valuable lesson on the spot. Seemingly trivial car issues need immediate attention as they can change the course of people’s lives. Too deep? I hear Ya!
The point is your hood latch is really important kit. Sure your latch employs a belt and braces set up in the form of a latch and a manual release catch, but these guys can become dry and stay in the released position meaning your hood is now held by the latch only. And a bump in the road has been known to release the main latch.
As hood latches live at the front of your truck, behind the grille, they naturally suffer whatever the road has to throw at them. Debris, rain, snow, driving wind, road grime, salt, etc.,
The latch is under constant attack. Living behind the grille is a harsh environment, not a place you’d want to spend a ton of time.
So we’re not entirely surprised by a hood issue, especially as many hood latches never see any maintenance.
As part of your Silverado maintenance, the technician is supposed to lube all doors, hood hinges, and latches, but that doesn’t always happen.
Silverado Hood Latch Diagnosis
When a hood refuses to latch, it usually means the cabin-mounted pull handle is stuck in the pulled position. Most folks go for the fast fix, which is to manually push the handle back into its default position and slam the hood shut. It’s a quick fix, but it’s not the solution. This is a problem that will get worse and is easy to solve.
If this sounds like your problem (your hood release handle sticks in the pulled position), then you can bet some lube will sort you right out. Lucky You!
But even if your pull handle isn’t sticking in the pulled position, lubing the latch is a fantastic place to start our diagnosis of the latch.
And so, as a lack of lubrication is the more usual main issue, we’ll jump straight to the fix – We’ll lube your hood latch, and we’ll reassess. We’ll cover lubing the latch below.
Lubing the Hood Latch
To lube our latch, we’ll first use good old WD40. Good for what ails you! If you know what I mean. But to do a really thorough job, we’ll need some white lithium grease, also.
The WD40 is great for penetrating the latch innards and getting things moving, but it isn’t a long-lasting form of lubrication. That’s where the white lithium grease comes in. It sticks to metal and isn’t easily removed by driving rain, wind, etc., just the characteristics we need for a long-lasting hood lube solution.
Apply the grease to the latch and the striker and open and close the hood several times to work the grades into the latch.
It should be apparent if a lack of lube is the source of our problem.
If, after lubing the latch, it still refuses to operate, then by a simple process of elimination, we have excluded a lack of lube as the main cause of our latch trouble.
We’ll need to take look at some other causes of our latch problem, but before we do so, let’s first take a fast look at hood latch components and how they work.
How hood latch works
A hood latch is a pretty simple kit. It consists of the following components:
- Latch – Slam panel mounted latch (also known as a lock) is what keeps our hood shut firmly and is the mechanism that’s released by pulling the hood release handle.
- Safety latch – The safety latch is manually released by the operator at the hood after first releasing the hood latch. The hood latch (lock) and safety latch are one unit and is fixed to the slam panel. Some vehicles may have two such latches, one on either side of the hood.
- Striker – The striker is a hood-mounted hook that’s tasked with striking the latch squarely and tripping its springloaded catch, which grabs and holds the striker firmly.
- Latch cable – Braided cable runs from the cabin to the hood latch and is tasked with pulling on the hood latch release arm.
- Hood latch handle – Cabin-mounted hood release handle.
Other possible reasons your hood latch won’t catch include the following:
- Hood out of alignment – the hood striker must align perfectly with the latch; if it’s off, it won’t seat and trip the latch.
- Latch height – the latch must obviously sit high enough on the slam panel to grab and lock the hood-mounted striker. If the latch sits too low, the striker can’t activate the latch.
- Accident damage – recent accident damage is a common cause of latch issues.
- Rubber stoppers adjustment – your hood sits on slam panel-mounted adjustable rubber stoppers. If the stoppers are set too high, the striker can’t trip the latch.
A hood latch commonly refuses to latch because the cabin-mounted pull handle is in the stuck open position. Pushing the handle to the defaulted rest position will allow the hood to close.
A lack of hood latch lubrication is the root cause of a sticking hood release handle.