The bonnet is a crucial part of the car, for beneath it is housed some of the most important components a car needs in order to run. In most cars the bonnet is the hinged cover that protects and allows access to the engine compartment. In some cars, such as the VW Beetle, however, the engine is positioned in the rear of the vehicle, so the bonnet would, in this case, give access to the space designated for luggage.
Often made of steel, bonnets are also made of aluminum, fiberglass, dry carbon and carbon fiber. The bonnet is fixed to the frame at the front of the car and, with the action of hinges, opens outwards. The bonnet is made up of an outer panel which is designed to be smooth and streamlined, contoured to match the shape of the car and an inner panel which is strong and offers protection to the engine beneath.
The bonnet works with a latch mechanism, and is held down by a latch which stops it from opening unexpectedly while driving along and also acts as a lock. The bonnet can be opened by releasing this latch, hidden just under the bonnet lip, or by pulling a small handle, or pushing a button, inside the car, usually located beneath the steering wheel, which is attached to the bonnet pull cable. The bonnet pops open and can be held up and in place with the aid of a hinged rod, commonly referred to as a stay rod, or by a gas strut. There are some bonnets, particularly aftermarket ones, which are held down and kept shut with pins.
Subject to damage from scratches, scrapes and dents, and damage caused by stones and other unwanted objects flying up from the road, as well as being exposed to all weather conditions, the outer panel of the bonnet can, over time, look a little worse for wear. Issues can arise from the buildup of dirt on the latch mechanism, leading to a bonnet that sticks and is hard to open. In some cases, the bonnet may not open at all due to a faulty or worn out mechanism, perhaps due to a worn bonnet pull cable which attaches to the latch. You may need to replace the bonnet because it has suffered damage in a crash. Some car owners merely want to give their car a new look and buying a bonnet will ensure the part fits the make and model of your car.