Question: I have a 1984 Chevy Suburban and the hood release cable is broken. How do I open the hood now?

Answer: Been there, done that. You're going to take one of two routes, depending on where the cable broke. If it's broken at the release lever under the left side of the dash--the more common situation--disconnect the cable from the lever assembly. You may have to cut back some of the conduit to gain access to the cable. Then just grab the cable with a pair of vice grips or equivalent, and pull. Once the hood is open, you can install a new cable from the release lever, through the engine compartment's firewall and to the latch assembly up front. The tougher job involves the cable breaking at the latch assembly beneath the hood. In that case, you can typically gain access to the latch by removing the front grille and any other trim that's in the way. From that point, you may be able to release the latch with a long narrow screwdriver or pry bar. There have been instances where it requires unbolting the latch and or surrounding brackets, slowly with a wrench, in order to get the hood open. Start digging--you'll get it.

How To Reach Alex
If you have a technical question regarding your pickup, SUV, or van, feel free to contact Alex, a master technician with the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Send a letter to him in care of Truck Trend Garage, 831 S. Douglas Street, El Segundo, CA 90245, or e-mail us at Please include the VIN with your question. Due to the volume of questions received every month, we cannot guarantee that everyone's question will be personally answered or will appear in the magazine.

Can't wait for help with a problem you're having with your Truck or SUV? Ask the expert we trust here at Truck Trend Garage--visit Alex Steele at