Mini Cooper Hood Won’t Open

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This car is super cute but also a never-ending headache. Every time I think I’ve found a solution, something else on the Mini breaks.

The latest adventure, has been a stuck hood latch.

.

I just wanted to fill up my washer fluid, but when I went to pull the Mini’s hood latch nothing happened.

And down the rabbit hole of Mini Cooper problems we go

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Mini Cooper Hood Latch Stuck Again

It’s no longer a surprise when something goes wrong with my Mini Cooper.

And I’ve encountered this stuck hood latch so many times, to save all of us some research time.

I’ve compiled the best options you can try from the least invasive to the most.

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1. Push Down On Your Mini Cooper’s Hood

I honestly didn’t think this would work but it is actually the easiest solution.

If you pull your release lever and hear the hood pop, but there’s no space for you to get your hand into open the hood.

Open your Mini Hood by pressing up on the plastic lever slightly right to the centre of the hood

Pushing down on the hood seems to help.

You basically aim to push where the metal hooks are (mine are in line with the strips on the Mini’s hood).

I think this basically helps you reset the latch, giving you an opportunity to pull your release lever again.

Be careful though, because I did snap a bit of my plastic trim doing this.

Mini Cooper Stuck Hood Latch Update:

My metal hooks were rusted (so I’m guessing this is what’s causing it to stick).

So after getting the hood to open I just applied some brake grease and it seems to help.

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Try Release Lever Again

I think this pushing down on the hood re-engages the latch springs in the hood.

Like you’re basically forcing the hood back down into the springs so that when you release the hood lever it hopefully pops open higher. (I’m literally guessing on the explanation, but it works! And my hypothesis keeps me sane until someone can actually help explain it to me).

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1a. Possible Problem: Mini Cooper Hood Stuck Cause of Rust

My hood seems to be getting stuck cause my Mini Cooper’s latch hook things are extremely rusted (it’s an old used car). I thought of spraying it with WD-40 but just learned about PB Blaster to remove the rust and it worked for the most part (Hood was opening from 2021 July – 2022 May). But just recently with my hood getting stuck again I just learned that some people have had success by applying some brake grease on the springs and latch. So if I manage to fix the lever replacement I’m probably going to give that a shot before trying to replace the latches.

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1b. If The Grease Doesn’t Work. Replace the Rusted Latches

If you manage to get your hood open and you just don’t want to have this headache anymore the best thing to do is probably just to replace the latches. I’ve been trying to avoid spending money on this car so that’s why I didn’t do it. But honestly, I think it’s worth it cause it’s not really that expensive.

Another reason I haven’t replaced them is cause I don’t really know how so I may have to do research on that on a later date lol.

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2. Secure The Release Lever’s Cable inside Notch

So this is the second easiest solution but only occurs if the release lever is loose. This just happened to me and was relieved to find out that this was a relatively easy fix. No tools are really required but you just need to open up the things around the lever. I found that this VTEC Nerd’s YouTube video had the best explanation.

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Remove Weather Strip and Pop Off Siding

I was very worried that this stuff was going to break but it seems pretty sturdy. First, remove the weatherstrip by just pulling it straight up on it. Then you’ll see the plastic siding and you can fit your fingers in there to pull it out horizontally. The plastic fasteners seem a little fragile so just be careful but it comes out with a little bit of force.

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Secure Release Cable in Latch

When you get the siding out of the way, look behind the lever and follow the cable’s path and you’ll eventually see a little notch. Take the plastic part of the cable and it just snaps in there. And test it out and it should work!

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2a. Cable Keeps Popping Out of Notch

But nothing with this car is ever that easy. It worked for a bit but the cable kept popping out, so I’m thinking of trying to zip tie it together. I’m hoping that I could loop it through the notch’s corner and I’ll let you know if that works.


3. Poke The Latches with a Screwdriver

Need a longer screwdrive

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3a. Replace the Latches

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How I Found Out My Mini Cooper Hood Won’t Open

All I wanted to do was add washer fluid to my car. I tried to pull the latch on the driver side but something was off. The latch would kind of pull but there was no satisfying click or anything. I kept running back and forth from the food to the driver side latch and kept repeating the process over and over again. Still nothing…

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Took a five-minute breather and went back at it.

I kept pulling the latch on the driver side and literally nothing was happening. I pulled to a point where it literally feels like the plastic latch was about to break so I took that as a sign to stop. Since I’ve learned the European cars are super easy to work on or extremely difficult. Mostly difficult. But if things aren’t working added force is usually not a good thing.

So time to do some research, and it just ends up that it’s a common problem… FML!!! This is what I found:

Issue 1 A: Driver Side Latch Stuck

So I think this is how the issue begins and after this, you probably want to find an immediate solution. I think what happens is that the latch is supposed to release the metal hooks but if it’s rusted it gets caught and never really gets released. The solution I found on the internet was to like push really heavy on the hood where those metal brackets are and after doing it like 50 times it will let you pull the latch eventually.

Issue 1 B: Latch Stuck Elevated

After this issue I revisited the car again and the driver latch was able to pull but this time

July 31st 2021 Update. I think I fixed it

I think I managed to fix the hood. Not perfectly, but it seems my hood managed to open by shoving the hood down really forcefully, and then when you pulled the latch it somehow worked. Taking a look at the latches it seems like the passenger side isn’t re-engaging so I don’t know what the long-term effects of that are. However, I know I’ll have to do the engine oil change pretty soon. However, I don’t know if I should do it again on the BMW so that they’re on the same schedule. Something I’m just thinking about.

Also, I’m worried about having to do an oil change in the wintertime without a garage so the timing seems to be pretty important for this one.


Notes on Mini Cooper Broken Hood Pull

  • Push down on hood while someone pulls the lever 9
  • Remove driver wheel, release catch, and zip tie it to basically tighten the wire 9

Resources

  1. [Forum] Broken Hood Pull: https://www.northamericanmotoring.com/forums/stock-problems-issues/130660-broken-hood-pull.html
  2. [Forum] Hood Release Not Working: https://www.northamericanmotoring.com/forums/2nd-gen-faqs/267088-hood-release-not-working-open-hood-help-2.html
  3. [WikiHow] How to Open Hood of Mini Cooper https://www.wikihow.com/Open-the-Hood-on-a-Mini-Cooper
  4. [YouTube] 2009 Mini Cooper Release Problem https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxbKZmZA450
  5. [YouTube] How to fix a hood that won’t open (ChrisFix) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMrjwUfdiiE
  6. [YouTube] How to open stuck jammed hood from broken cable BMW e53 X5 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0M3m3_CXsY
  7. [YouTube] How to fix the bonnet or hood release for Mini Cooper https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMyF3lya-48
  8. [YouTube] How to open a stuck hood latch on a Mini Cooper (2010) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_4JLCY5dS4
  9. [Little Paragraph] Mini Car Parts https://www.minicarparts.net/Techtips/MC-MCS_HoodDoesntOpen.cfm
  10. [YouTube] VTEC Nerd – R56 Mini Cooper S Bonnet/Hood Cable Broken? WATCH THIS FIRST! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKfyJ6AyYjM
  11. [YouTube] How to fix the bonnet or hood release for Mini Cooper https://youtu.be/qMyF3lya-48

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