Although a car hood removal or installation procedure would depend on the make of the car and or the severity of the damage, most cars are quite similar in the way they are built, so you could use the process outlined in this post to remove the hood of almost any car.
This is a pretty straightforward job; there are only two bolts on each side that you would have to remove and it’s quite easy to do. If you don’t have a friend helping you out, you can do it by yourself, but it’s highly recommended that you have someone to assist you since the hood cap can be a bit heavy and you may need some additional hands to lift it out of the body framework.
Tools you’ll need before beginning work on the hood:
The two things that you are going to need throughout the process is a socket wrench along with the appropriately sized socket. Yes, that's right. You only need these two tools.
If you are working alone, you will need something other than the hood support rod to hold the hood upright. A steel pole or 4x4 beam of woodwork just fine; essentially something sturdy. You will also need some towels or blankets to place on the cowl or windshield to rest the corners of the hood as you remove each side. This is especially necessary for larger and heavier steel hoods.
Once you have collected all you will need, let’s dive right into it!
Removing the old hood
The first thing we’re going to do is to remove the hood bolts. Slowly ease the hood up in an upright position, and then use the socket wrench to carefully remove the hood bolts that are on either side of the hood. This is where you would have a friend hold the other side of the hood while you two taking off the bolts on your respective sides. If your working alone, make sure the tool you are using to hold the hood upright is safely secured.
The hood bolts are always found closest to the windshield on the hood corners, unless your hood opens form the windshield to the bumper. You won’t have to worry about that unless you drive a super car or an 18-wheeler.
It’s very important that you do not remove the hood brackets attached to the frame or sometimes the fenders (on some trucks). If you remove the hood brackets, you will most definitely affect the panel alignment. Remember, were taking off just the damaged hood, so we can leave the brackets attached to the vehicle. The only exception to this is the brackets were damaged in the and accident and need to be replaced. If this is the case, there are often outlines of the original hood brackets. Just line up the new brackets as best as you can, we’ll get to adjusting the hood later on.
Be sure the hood cap is securely and safely held in position as you take the bolts off, so that it doesn’t fall on you. Also, you want to be careful that the corners of the hood do not slip and hit the windshield, cracking the windshield or chipping paint off the hood. Ideally, you would want to be holding the corners of the hood, or, if you are working alone; this is when your towels or blanket will come in handy. Once the hood cap is off, be sure to keep the bolts someplace safe so that you don’t misplace them after you’re done.
Hood with a hood strut:
But what if your car has a hood strut? Things are slightly different when you are working with a hood strut, but it’s quite easy. Since the struts are attached to the original hood with a clip, you would first have to slide the clip outward using a flat-head screwdriver. Simply pry the clip off by wedging the flat end of the screwdriver between the clip and the struts ball joint. Do not fully remove the clip, once they are loose on both ends of the strut, you can pull the strut out. If you do remove the clips, they are very hard to put back in place, it’s ideal to not remove them.
Installing the new hood
Preparing the new hood:
If it’s a new painted hood cap, like all other parts, remove the panel carefully from its box and examine it thoroughly for any damage that might have transpired during transit.
After this, it’s time to bolt the hood onto the car. Hopefully, you left your bolts in a very secure place and they’re not lost. While this job could be handled by one person alone, it will be a lot easier to have a friend assist you; it makes the job a lot quicker.
As we mentioned before, hold the corner on the bottom of the hood with one of your hands and rest the hood on your shoulder to give it support as you hand-tighten the hood bolts. Or place towels where you will be setting the corner of the hood down.
Once one side is bolted on, move to the other side and use the same process to tighten the bolts. And this is an important bit; check the alignment before you securely fasten the bolts. Checking the alignment is simple, the best practice is easing the hood closed. After you’re sure that alignment is perfect, you can go ahead and tighten the bolts firmly with the socket wrench. It’s best to check first while the bolts are still loose allowing for easy adjustments, instead of removing already tensed bolts.
With the new hood now closed, the first sign of perfect or misaligned hood will be the spacing between adjacent parts, the fenders and front bumper cover. Remember, you’re only checking for incorrect or uneven spacing. You could adjust the hood by shifting it depending on the offset. One of the best ways check the spacing is by running your fingers through the seam; ideally there should be correct spacing. So, if your finger gets pinched or goes into the seam in some parts and not others, you know the alignment is off.
How do you adjust the offset? The hoods bolts are almost always in a vertical position. When you loosen the hood bolts to the misaligned side, this will allow you to move the hood back and forth. Or, closer to the front bumper cover or closer to the windshield. So, If the spacing is tight on the driver’s side front bumper and fender, just loosen the bolts and shift the hood the towards the passenger side fender.
Getting a nice, equal spacing is quick and easy, that is, if there wasn’t a big accident. Major collisions will require a body shop to pull your frame in order to fit all the parts on your car. A frame pull requires a special machine as well as all brand new or undamaged parts for perfect alignment. If you you’re just working on a hood that was in a small accident, this job is literally taking off four bolts total. That’s it, easy-peasy.
Well, after following all these steps, your new hood should be looking as good as the day you bought your sweet ride!