by Eric Ammerman
Quadratec Channel Staff Writer
Since the very first Jeep Wrangler or CJ model, the hood has been secured with a set of externally-mounted hood catches.
In the early years, this meant mechanical latches. And while these items have provided years of trouble-free service for many Jeep owners, father time is starting to catch up and you’ll find many now that are starting to rust or otherwise are not working as they should. That is understandable since the newest Jeep with this style latch is 24-years-old at this point. Luckily there are a few options for replacing your CJ or YJ hood latches.
If you want to keep the classic styling of the original equipment latches, you can choose from black or chrome steel, or for a bit of an upgrade, the Kentrol Stainless Steel Hood Latches in either black or polished.
If you would rather update that hood latch to a slightly newer version, the TJ style hood latches made specifically for the CJ and YJ will give your Jeep a late 90's look.
In 1997, Jeep changed its hood latch design from the mechanical style to one using a thick rubber strap to keep tension on the hood. This is the style Jeep has now used all the way to the 2018 JK version, and is a system that has worked well for a while. But as is the nature of rubber, the elements take their toll on elasticity and over time your hood will begin to flutter at highway speeds. This could very well be the reason you are reading this article.
Now, you can replace those worn out factory hood latches with the same rubber factory version if you want, or even replace just the rubber straps with a polyurethane version for just a couple bucks, but when I went to replace the hood latches on my 2016 Wrangler, I decided it was a good time to change up to some Kentrol Mechanical Style Hood Latches. They install easily with simple hand tools, and you can adjust them to make sure your hood stays exactly where it should. Made from a black powdercoated 304 stainless steel, they will very likely outlast your Jeep.
Also, if you are looking for a little more security for the engine compartment, you can replace your worn hood catches with some locking hood latches such as the Rampage Locking Hood Catch Set in Black. These will help protect any valuables under the hood like your battery, air intakes, snorkel components, etc.
Once you pick out the direction you want to go with these replacement parts, you'll definitely be much happier with that hood now staying in place.