I had the same problem, it is very common in this year and model...you have to take off the grill and remove the locking latch from the hood. there is sill the hook that will hold the hood down. It just will not lock. You can then replace the whole locking mechanism because it is not fixable. You may also have to replace the handle because sometimes that breaks too, but thats an inexpensive fix.
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Push hood back down hard,then pull on
hood release hard again.If not work,trace wire
inside as far as you can and get grips or pliers
and pul from as far up the line as you can.If it
opens as it should,you can easily unattache wire
from pull handle put a knot in wire,this will shorten it
so easier to undo next time.Infact you might try that first.
If none work which I doubt,get push to start and drive
I have had a similar problem with a 2000 Jeep Cherokee classic. It turned out that the cable linking the hood latch to the hood release lever froze up and just needed replacement. My hood release lever on the inside of my Jeep felt loose when I tried pulling it. If your hood release lever feels loose it may be a frozen cable. Hope this helps.
U should first try as best u can to open the hood with the lever even if its jus a small part of lever. If not then and if u dont have a hood latch cover u may be able to get the hood up by unbolting the hood latch bolts through the grill. Other sugguestion would probably b a pry bar squeezed in there carefully and pry and or while u r trying to mess wit the lever that may or may not b there.
The hood latch cable pulls a lever over towards driver's side of car to open the hood. Pulling the lever releases the hood latch. This is the lever that is not moving over far enough to release, and the one you need to get to. You are right to think of removing the grill. Is it easy to remove? Often, someone can lay underneath and reach up with a prying tool (a screwdriver) and push that lever over. But if it's too far to reach, or if it's obstructed by parts or support pieces, just remove the grill to reach the latch. Good luck.
Its likely your catalytic converter's heat shield that has come loose due to rust. Raise your car, and thread two or three large pipe clamps (the screw type) together. Wrap this assembly around the catalytic converter and tighten down.
Hope this helps.
The whole mechanism is run by two cables. The first from the hood release latch to the left side hood catch. The second from the left hood catch to the right one. First look and see if the second cable is disconnected from the left hood catch. if it is just pull it and the right should open. If not... Have somebody with skinny arms to reach up from under the car and manually pull the lever on the right hood catch. Hope this helps...