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My Ford Focus bonnet won’t open - how to open the bonnet correctly

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 26 days ago

4 min read

  • Maintenance
  • Advice
iStock-Focus

WhoCanFixMyCar explains how to open the bonnet on a Ford Focus, including advice on what to do if your battery is flat or the lock isn’t working

All cars are slightly different, so knowing how to open the bonnet on one doesn't necessarily mean you'll be able to work out how to open it on a different model. In this guide, we're focusing on the Ford Focus.

When was the Ford Focus bonnet lock updated?

The first and second generations of the Ford Focus both have an unusual bonnet lock mechanism which is prone to developing problems. 

The bonnet lock was updated in 2011 with the release of the third generation Ford Focus model. Rather than using a key to unlock the bonnet, a lever (which is located inside the car on the passenger side) is used instead.


Safety precautions when opening a Ford Focus bonnet after driving

Before you open the bonnet of your Ford Focus there are a few precautions you should follow.

  • Park on level ground

  • Make sure your handbrake is on

  • The engine should be switched off

  • Wait for the engine to cool down completely, this should take around half an hour to an hour

  • Once open, secure the bonnet using the stand (usually located near the grill)

Looking under car hood image

How to open the bonnet on new Ford Focus models (since 2011)

Mk3 Ford Focus 2011-2018 

The third generation of the Ford Focus requires a different method to open the bonnet compared to its predecessors.

Ford2016 FocusRS 99

Image from Ford Media Center.

Follow these steps:

  • Make sure your engine is switched off and cool

  • Check your handbrake is on

  • Open the left side passenger door and locate the black lever 

  • Pull the lever until you hear a click

  • The bonnet will now be open enough for you to find the yellow latch inside to the left of the Ford badge

  • Pull the yellow latch with one finger and lift the bonnet, securing it using the stand near the grill

Mk 4 Ford Focus 2019-2022 

Opening the bonnet of a Ford Focus Mk4 is easier than ever. The system is very similar to the one which was introduced in the Mk3 Focus.

Ford Focus 2020 01

Image from Ford Media Center.

  • Make sure your engine is switched off and cool

  • Check your handbrake is on

  • Open the left side passenger door and locate the black lever 

  • Pull the lever twice

  • There is no latch under the bonnet, you can simply lift it straight up

  • Secure the bonnet using the stand near the grill

How to find the release lever on your Ford Focus

The release lever can be found by opening the passenger-side door at the front of the car. It is located next to the footwell, near the door frame and below the left side of the glove box.


How to open the bonnet on used Ford Focus models (1998-2010) 

The Ford Focus Mk1, which was produced between 1998 and 2005, and the Mk2, which was produced between 2005 and 2010, have the same unusual bonnet lock mechanism. 

1998-focus-(5dr)2

Image from Ford Media Center.

Here’s how to release the bonnet on a Ford Focus:

  • Make sure your engine is switched off and cool

  • Check your handbrake is on

  • Twist the Ford badge (located at the front of the car) to the left and insert the key

  • Turn the key to the left to release the lock

  • Turn the key to the right and pull the bonnet open, securing it using the stand located to the left of the engine


Why won’t my Ford Focus bonnet open (1998-2010 models)

Mk1 and Mk2 Ford Focus models are known to suffer from issues with the bonnet lock not opening. There is a cable that connects the key barrel to the locking mechanism, and this connection uses tamper proof technology. 

However, the tamper proof system is faulty because it can be triggered by the slightest jolt (for example, going over a speed bump), causing the actual owner to get locked out of their car bonnet.

It’s possible to carry out a repair at home - there are a number of YouTube videos that walk you through the steps - but the process can be difficult and time consuming. 

If you don’t have the necessary tools or you simply don’t have the confidence to carry out a repair yourself, WhoCanFixMyCar can help you find a reliable local mechanic.

Ford Focus bonnet lock repair cost

According to WhoCanFixMyCar data from 2021, the average cost of repairing the bonnet lock mechanism on a Ford Focus is £91.91. 

If you purchase a lock repair kit directly from Ford, the cost is around £70, but you will then either need to carry out the repair yourself or pay a mechanic’s hourly rate on top of the cost of the kit.


How to open your Ford Focus bonnet without a key

If your Ford Focus bonnet won’t open either because you don’t have a key or the lock is broken, follow these steps.

You will need:

  • ¼ drive ratchet

  • ¼ drive 10mm socket to remove the latch bolts

  • Pry bar or long screwdriver to pull latch out of its retaining plugs

  • Jack up your car or put it on a ramp if you have access to one

  • Remove the undershield

  • Reach up between the engine block and radiator, locating the two 10mm bolts that hold the lock on

  • Remove the bolts

  • You should now be able to pull your bonnet open a little way

  • Reach inside and separate the bonnet catch from the lock. It will need to be removed and replaced or repaired

There isn’t much space between the engine block and radiator, so if you’re struggling to reach the lock bolts, you can remove the four 10mm bolts that hold the radiator in place and either remove it or drop it down. 


If you're having trouble with your Ford Focus, WhoCanFixMyCar can help you find local car repairs that won't break the bank.


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