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My Renault Clio RL Panache (1997) has been outside in the cold for a while, and needs a jump start to get the battery charged again.

Alas, I tried to get the bonnet open a few weeks ago when it was very icy locally, and the bonnet consequently would not open. However, the catch did "fire", such that even though the ice has long gone, the release lever still won't open the bonnet.

What can I do?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I take it from the description that the release lever now feels loose, i.e. there is no tension on the cable? We can therefore assume that the mechanism has partly released, but due to the ice did not spring up onto the catch.

Have you tried getting a couple of fingers under the edge of the bonnet and giving it a sharp tug upwards? You could also try getting it to re-latch - place both hands directly over the latch and push down hard, you may hear a click as it re-engages, which should hopefully allow you to release it normally.

Is it one of the front-hinged bonnets, or a newer rear-hinged one? I forget when they changed over...

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That's right. And yes I did. It's front-hinged (that is, the "opening" end is close to the windscreen) –  Lightness Races in Orbit Feb 23 '12 at 17:10
    
Alright; dropping myself on it a bit firmer than I had previously did the trick. :) –  Lightness Races in Orbit Feb 24 '12 at 9:53
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