How to Install Hood Pins on a Car

Written by thomas west
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How to Install Hood Pins on a Car
Install bonnet pins for a classic hot rod touch. (classic image by Joshua Peterson from

Nothing projects a race-car image on your street machine like a set of hood pins can. Hood pins were devised in the 1960s to keep the bonnets from popping open on hot rods used for drag racing and other high-speed endeavours. Hood pins are solidly mounted to the vehicle’s front structure and protrude through holes drilled at the front of the bonnet. Locking safety pins are then pushed trough small holes at the top of the bonnet pins, keeping the bonnet from coming open unexpectedly.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Hood pin kit
  • Electric drill
  • Assorted drill bits
  • 1/8-inch drill bit

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  1. 1

    Open the bonnet. Install the two metal brackets for the bonnet pins using the existing bolts and mounting holes for your vehicle’s radiator support brackets, which are located on each side of the engine bay at the front. Remove the holding bolts in the radiator support brackets by twisting them out in a counterclockwise direction with an adjustable wrench.

  2. 2

    Slide the bonnet pin brackets under the radiator support brackets, making sure the mounting holes in both brackets line up and the mounting hole for the bonnet pin is facing the front of the vehicle. Replace the original radiator support bolts finger-tight only to allow for adjustments of the bonnet pins later.

  3. 3

    Close the bonnet. Drill through the bonnet from the underside with an electric drill, using the pin mounting hole in the bonnet pin bracket as a template. Repeat this step for both sides of the front of the bonnet.

  4. 4

    Open the bonnet again. Insert a bonnet pin into the mounting hole in the bracket you installed earlier. Secure the pin with a nut threaded to the underside of the bracket and tightened with an adjustable wrench in a clockwise direction. Repeat this step to install the pin on the other bracket.

  5. 5

    Close the bonnet gently and check the alignment of the bonnet pin in the holes you have drilled into the bonnet. Move the brackets by hand as needed so that the bonnet pins are centred in the drilled holes. Open the bonnet and tighten the radiator support bracket bolts with an adjustable wrench in a clockwise direction.

  6. 6

    Close the bonnet. Slide the metal circular trim plates over the bonnet pins so that they rest on the surface of the bonnet. Drill through the mounting holes in the trim plates and into the bonnet with an 1/8-inch drill bit mounted into an electric drill. Secure the trim plates with 1/8-inch screws driven into the mounting holes with a Philips screwdriver in a clockwise direction.

  7. 7

    Slide the locking safety pins through the small holes at the top of the bonnet pins until they click into place. Pull the pins out when it becomes necessary to open your bonnet in the future.

Tips and warnings

  • All mounting hardware needed for this installation should come with your bonnet pin kit. Check to make sure you have all the parts before beginning this procedure.
  • The size of the hole drilled into each side of the front of the bonnet is determined by the size of bonnet pins you are installing. Check the directions that came with your bonnet pins for the correct size of the drill bit to bore your holes, or measure the thickness of the pins and drill a hole slightly larger than the pin.

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