Skip to content

BMW Video – How to Open E46 Hood With Broken Cable or Latch

April 27, 2018


If you cannot open the hood on your E46 3-series, due to a broken release cable or a broken latch, you can easily open the hood without damaging any of the painted body parts or major disassembly.  The least invasive method is to simply unscrew the hood latch pin from the hood.  The pin can be accessed through a removed grill or from underneath, behind the bumper.To go from underneath, you need to remove the splash panel behind the bumper and reach all the way up to the latch.  Alternately, as shown in this video, you can directly access the latch and the hood pin through the grill opening in the hood.  To do this, you either break the grill or pull out the already broken grill ….. as on this car.

Note that this car does not have the air ducting plastic shroud that fits between the grills and the radiator support.  The shroud had sections that cover the underside of the latches.  If you reach your hand in, you can feel the plastic strips that cover directly below the latches, where the end of the hood pin is.  Use a small screw driver to pry this strip out of the way.  If you break it off, don’t worry about it.

Once you have access, the hood pin can be unscrewed with a 4mm Allen wrench.  The pin will likely be moderately tight, due to the pin lock nut.  Make sure you have the Allen wrench fully seated into the female hex in the end of the pin.  You may need to use a box-end wrench on the end of the Allen tool (as we did), or use an Allen bit in a ratchet.  We are removing the driver side hood pin as the main cable is broken.  We were able to pull on the middle of the transfer cable (between the left and right latches) to release the passenger side latch.  However, this method can be used for either latch, or both.

Once the hood is open you can replace the faulty cables, latches or both.

323i, 323ci, 323it, 325i, 325ci, 325it, 325xi, 325xit, 330i, 330ci, 330xi, M3

Hood Cables (enter year and model after clicking link):
BMW E46 3 series hood release cable BAVAuto

Hood Latches (enter year and model after clicking link):


Bavarian Autosport

Comments are closed.