Opening Car Hood Without Access to Interior of Car

Is it possible to open a car’s hood without using the interior release lever? If so, how?

My friend locked her physical keys in the car and the car battery died, so she needs to gain access to the battery to jump start it so she will be able to use the remote unlock key fob.


There is, but not without causing damage to the hood.

Perhaps she could call AAA or a locksmith.

depends on the car. I was able to do this many years ago but the mechanism was in site of the grill and I could get a screwdriver in and trigger it. All it is is a cable with a crappy shroud around it. You might be able to come up from underneath. If you had a similar model and could look at it with the hood open you would know in short order if it’s possible. You could also use a slim jim to open the door but I don’t know if there are any problems associated with electric locks. I recommend a locksmith rather than buggering up the car.

If you can get a trickle charger on the starter, that would provide enough juice to power the receiver for the remote to work. Would have to go under the car to find the starter, and the positive lead. The ground can go to the frame or engine.

Just have the same guy that’s going to do the jumpstart, unlock the car.

I had to do that last January, because the battery had died and I couldn’t unlock the doors. Apparently my keys don’t work in the door for some reason, and it took my six and half years to find out (well beyond the warranty period).

Good luck if it’s a front wheel drive car. You likely won’t be able to even see the starter from under the car.

Are the keys in the ignition or just in the car?
You could just wait to see it the battery builds up a charge.
If you left your light ons or have daytime running lights and can access to the headlight wiring harness you could clip a 12V battery on and get enough juice for the remote to work.
Depending on the car it may be possible to pop the hood but it is far easier to get into the car.
1.) You can pry the door/window open a crack, hold it with wood wedges and use a coat hanger to trigger the door handle or lock.
2.) You can pry the seal between window and door skin open a crack, hold it with wood wedges and examine the door lock mechanism. If you’re luck you can use a slim jim to trigger the door handle/lock. If not you need a different tool, call a tow truck.
3.) Or, in an emergency, you could just smash the driver’s side window and deal with the replacement cost or insurance deductible later.

It won’t work on cars that have solenoids that are not attached to the starter such as Ford and Chrysler products.

I have found over the years that an extra set of keys is the cheapest solution to a reoccurrece of this problem.

What make and model do we have here? Makes a big difference is what to do.

Are Rick & Gary T both on vacation?

What kind of car is it? Some vehicles are ridiculously easy to unlock.

So, she has the remote unlocky key fob, but, no actual key?

Izzit a Toyota? I haven’t found a Toyota key yet that won’t unlock my 4runner…

It really varies with the particular type of car. Some are rather easy to pop the hood on from outside, some are nigh unto impossible. But it’s not the kind of thing anyone would know offhand, unless they just happen to remember doing it on that particular model, and it’s not covered in repair manuals. I wouldn’t be able to tell how to do it, or how easy/hard it is, without looking at the car in question.

On many cars it’s possible to access a wire that connects to battery positive from underneath, as mentioned above. This would usually be a starter cable, though there are other possibilities. It would involve jacking up the front end and connecting a jumper wire (not jumper cable - they’re too big) with an alligator clip on it. Again, I wouldn’t know the feasibility of this without looking at the car (although I could probably make a good guess for some cars, if my repair manuals give enough info to determine the starter location).

If you don’t have someone available who has a good sense of how either of these might be done, you’d probably be time and money ahead to call a locksmith.

On the front wheel drive cars that I’ve had to replace starters on, it was exceptionally easy. The transverse mounting of a FWD engine (in most cases) lends itself to the starter being up front, on one “end” (from the perspective of the crankcase) of the engine or the other. All 3 of the ones I’ve replaced were on the driver’s side of the engine.

98 VW Golf - easy to reach, with the car on ramps (lowered suspension)
92 Cavalier - easy to reach with car on ground, not easy to replace without lifting car, but do-able.
88 Ford Festiva - easy to reach, and if you need to lift the car, ask a 10yo. It’s light enough.

Call the insurance company, they should have a record of the VIN, or you can get it from under the windshield on the driver’s side assuming it’s not blocked by anything. From there, call a dealer, give them the VIN and the can make you a key. I did this with an old (1990, I think?) Sunbird and the dealer only wanted 5 bucks for the key. That was a cheap key with no electronic in it, but it may work for you.

Thanks for all the replies! My friend ended up just calling a towing company and getting them to unlock and jump start the car.