[VIDEO] New Evidence Suggests Warning Bells Sounded in C8 Corvette With “Flying Hood”

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[VIDEO] New Evidence Suggests Warning Bells Sounded in C8 Corvette's 'Flying Hoods'

Photo Credit: Jeremy Welborn


Having taken delivery of a 2020 Corvette back in March, I’ve followed the various reports of mysteriously opening hoods with great interest. First, I honestly feel terrible for anyone that this has happened to. Not only does an incident such as this cause physical damage, but it could also lead to an accident with significantly greater consequences. I don’t want anything like this to happen to anyone.

A great deal of debate has ensued across various social media platforms after two 2020 Corvette owners documented the sudden opening of their hoods via their Corvette’s Performance Data Recorders (PDR). A search of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals that eight such incidences have been reported as of August 10, 2020. These instances have fueled a variety of owner attempted preventative measures including removal of the front hood release fuse as well as chain, rope, and bungee cord hood securing devices.

Example of Anti-Flying Hood Device

Example of Anti-Flying Hood Device


As of today, I have neither pulled a fuse or devised something that would hold my hood down in the event of an unintentional latch release while driving. A few weeks ago, I made a video to demonstrate the various on-board open hood warning alerts. I also demonstrated that the hood latch could only be released once you are inside the car via the fob button (press twice), the release button in the door panel (press once), and the manual pull cord behind the brake pedal. The most important piece of information that I shared, however, is that the car must be in Park for the hood to be released. It will not release once you have shifted out of Park.


Keeping all of these things in mind, there are really only two possible explanations for the flying hoods. The first, which has been mostly rejected, is user error. In other words, someone didn’t close the hood before driving off, or someone inadvertently triggered the hood release via one of the aforementioned methods. The second possibility, which has been more widely accepted, is that the cars involved had a sudden electrical and/or mechanical hood release failure. This is why numerous 2020 Corvette owners have taken steps to ensure their hood does not fly open. But does the evidence support the need for such measures?

The first exhibit that was made available for evaluation was the PDR video uploaded to YouTube by Julian B. Note that Julian B’s video shows the PDR footage being played back on a screen and recorded with a mobile device. This will be relative to the discussion of the second video a little later. Julian B states in the video description, “I was probably doing 30-35 MPH when the hood opened. Listen carefully at the second before. Unlatching clunk? I’d been driving for a minute or so before this, and there are no warning chimes. The sound wasn’t turned up so much that chimes wouldn’t have been heard. There simply weren’t any.”

I personally have no doubt that Julian B didn’t hear warning chimes before his hood flew open. Again, there could have been two reasons for this. First, the open hood warning chimes failed to sound or the hood release suddenly activated the moment before the hood flew open. Or, second, the hood was open before Julian B drove away and the warning chimes were sounding, but the distraction of the music caused the chimes to not be heard. Only a thorough audio analysis will help us determine what actually took place.

In the following video, you can listen to the audio examples that I am about to describe in print. You will see and hear Julian B’s original, unedited video, followed by an audio-enhanced video that reveals a key piece of evidence.


The first step in determining whether or not the open hood warning chime was active was isolating the warning chime frequency. Utilizing the Spectroid app on my phone, I discovered that my 2020 Corvette’s open hood warning chime’s frequency is 785 Hz. The following screen shows the spectrogram (visual representation of the frequencies found within an audio sample) of my sample open hood warning chime clip. Note that my warning chimes are clearly evident at the 785 Hz level, consistently spaced along the timeline, just as you would expect them to be.

Jeremy's C8 Corvette Spectrogram


Now, let’s take a look at the spectrogram of Julian B’s original and unedited video clip. Even though you cannot hear the alarm chimes in the video, and even though Julian B could not hear them before his hood flew up, the alarm chimes are indeed present throughout the entire video.

Julian B's C8 Corvette Spectrogram


The evidence is clear. The initial perception that Julian B’s hood latch release suddenly and without warning activated, allowing the hood to fly up, is without question an incorrect assessment of what actually happened. As I previously stated, I hate that this happened to this Corvette owner, but the hood was already open and the alarm chime was already sounding. All the hood needed was enough opposing wind force and the result is easy to see.

Now let’s take a look at the second and more recent video, which was shared on YouTube by Pinmaniac. In the video description, the Corvette owner simply states, “2020 Corvette C8 front hood (frunk) opening while driving.” And indeed, this is exactly what happens. The driver leaves a parking lot, turns onto a street, and, at 43 mph, the front hood flies up. The car’s PDR camera not only reveals the hood incident, but also the owner’s visibly frustration as he closes the hood and takes photos before continuing his drive.

There is no audio with this particular video, making an audio analysis impossible. I have a hunch that the owner simply had his PDR set to immediately record without audio rather than this being an attempted cover-up of an obviously audible open hood warning chime. But there is a piece of important evidence that can be clearly seen in the video. First, take a look at the bottom portion of the following screenshot:

Pinmaniac's PDR with Hood Showing


The top of the hood can clearly be seen as the car leaves the parking area and drives onto the street. This is the first 2020 Corvette PDR footage that I have seen where any portion of the hood can be seen when it is fully shut. You will recall that I mentioned previously that the first video we looked at was from a mobile device filming the PDR playback. As such, we are unable to see if any part of the already open hood can be seen at the bottom of the video. In Pinmaniac’s video, we can clearly see the hood. In addition, as the car moves onto the street, less of the hood is visible as it settles slightly downward. This is not due to the movement of the PDR camera, which is in a completely fixed position, but rather the movement of the open hood. Now, take a look at this screenshot, captured after the hood incident and the closing of the hood by the owner:

Pinmaniac's PDR with No Hood Showing


As you can clearly see, the hood can no longer be seen at the bottom of the image. This matches every other 2020 Corvette PDR footage that I have seen when the hood is fully shut.

After a thorough examination of the two videos, I have yet to find conclusive evidence that these incidences are anything more than the accidental activation of the hood release mechanism before the cars were driven, or the result of simply failing to close the hood. Furthermore, the videos fail to provide clear evidence that the open hood warning system did not function properly.

The frenzied social media reactions to reports of self-opening hoods and failed warning systems may not be as warranted as first perceived. Some owners may feel better being safe rather than sorry until GM provides a response, and that’s understandable as well. If I was able to figure out that the warning system in the first video was clearly working properly, I’m sure the team investigating this at GM has already uncovered this as well. Knowing that they want to do everything possible to help prevent potential life-threatening scenarios from ever taking place, I imagine GM is tirelessly working on a more robust open hood warning and prevention system that we’ll hear an official announcement about in the coming weeks.

So, be safe out there…and enjoy the drive!

Related:
[VIDEO] PDR Captures Another 2020 Corvette’s Frunk Opens While Driving
General Motors Responds to Issue of the 2020 Corvette’s Frunk Opening While Driving
[VIDEO] The NHTSA Has Complaints of the 2020 Corvette’s Frunk Opening While Driving

 



41 COMMENTS

  1. Chuck, Spring Mountain recently shared that there have been no hood pop ups with any of their C8s.

  2. Wow Jeremy your story unfolded like a Matlock episode! Well done! Note I was going to reference Sherlock Holmes, but wanted to use a reference more familiar to your average Corvette driver 😉

  3. While I appreciate the extensive audiovisual analysis, you don’t bother to explain why a latch sound is heard before the hood flies up. When this video recording is slowed down by adjusting Youtube’s speed setting to .25x you can clearly hear the unlatching before the hood flies up. If the hood were already open YOU WOULD NOT HEAR THE UNLATCHING SOUND.

    Here’s the .25x Video which clearly shows the unlatching sound BEFORE the hood files into view: https://youtu.be/H6GAvyfTau0

    I’ve listened to the ORIGINAL video multiple times and I hear NO hint of any chime.

    Furthermore, given the serious consequences of driving with the front hood open a warning chime should override ANY audio being played by the entertainment system. A user should NOT have to bring along audio analysis software in order receive an important warning. I also suggest that the user should NOT BE ABLE TO DRIVE, or move the vehicle out of the Park position if the hood is in any state of openness.

  4. A warning chime this important should mute the entertainment system. And please get rid of the “maximum speed 82 MPH” warning.

  5. And finally…. Given the FCC Rule 15 design of the C8 control electronics the C8 needs to have a mechanical cable based driver and escape release. These mechanical front trunk releases are used on a variety of cars by major manufacturers such as Audi and fully compliant with all federal safety rules.

    A push button based escape release is poor at best considering that all other manufactures use a pull based escape release.

  6. Jeremy,

    Nice work on the sound analyst, you must have been a detective in another life or something. I would still like GM to add a manual safety latch to the release latch under the Frunk. Thought that a manual latch was required by NTSB on Frunks? But maybe not. Would think they already have the parts somewhere in house to add it to the latch and it shouldn’t cost much to add to the cars latch under the Frunk.

  7. It’s not as simple as just adding a secondary latch. The way the child escape regulations are written the action of the child escape button in the frunk is speed dependent. There would need to be some computer involvement to release the secondary latch when stopped.

  8. Thank you, Randy.

    El Fredo, here’s what the front latch release sounds like from inside the car: https://youtu.be/wrMomIW_TL4 I also made a graphic some time ago showing the hood sound taking place after the hood comes up, rather than before. The only thing I hear on the original video that some think is a hood latch release is the sound of the car going over the end of the bridge. The warning chime is without a doubt sounding during the entire video, but you can’t hear it due to the music. I think GM may change this so that the music is muted when the alarm chime is sounding.

    Thanks, Lee Lacy. I agree that some additional safety measures would be ideal and think GM will respond accordingly.

  9. Jeremy,

    I’ll give you an A for persistence. I’ll unfortunately have to give you an F for your lack of a valid argument. Once again, thanks to the .25x playback I present to you EVIDENCE that the frunk latch sounded while the car was in the middle of the bridge.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDIj2nq5ujw

    If it acts like a latch, sounds like a latch and fails like a latch it can ONLY be THE LATCH!

    Next Argument/Excuse?

  10. El fredo ,
    That was not a latch sound , notice the chime didnt sound. Sounded more like hinges in a bind from wind resistance to me.

  11. Just curious, why would the driver know that the sound of a chime meant the frunk was open?

  12. ElFredo, you are correct. If it sounds like a latch, it is a latch. Which means you didn’t do the homework assignment of listening to my video showing what a 2020 Corvette hood latch release actually sounds like. I’m clearly the A student here. LOL 🙂

  13. Impressive detective work…..a bit more piece of mind before I place my order!

    Thank you so much.

  14. None of these hood openings would have happened if GM would have kept the age old perfect safety position of the hood opening from the rear. Some new Boffin in GM came up with “NEW AGE” idea of let’s do something NewAge,what a DICK. The answer is KISS—-Keep it simple stupid.

  15. Dear RKCRLR, OK, the previous Vettes it was their bonnet as They had no Frunk then, surely You realised that’s what I meant, or you have never seen a rear open Vette bonnet.

  16. RKCRLR, I’m guessing you’ve never seen an Audi R8? Google it and you can easily see that it has a frunk that’s rear hinged. The Germans managed to figure out how to do it RIGHT given that I’ve never heard of a single R8 flying frunk incident. I’d also never expect to find one given that they had sense enough to use a mechanical escape release.

    Too bad that GM didn’t copy the Audi frunk design like they did the rest of the car.

  17. I think GM should make the hood open the other way around like they always did. I’m sure the can make hinges to work that way. Problem solved don’t have to worry about it anymore.

  18. Good on ya Mike.P. Just so RKCRLR can understand about ‘rear openings’ as my description was too technical for him to comprehend that if it’s hinged from the rear it can’t blow open. As I said KISS is the solution, READ that GM Please.

  19. How are you going to reach around and drop stuff in the frunk if it hinges from the front? You won’t and that’s the reason why the hinge is on the rear. If you do a rear hinge you might as well just glue the lid down.. lol

  20. A You Tuber has shown if you have something in the front trunk and it hits the emergency button inside the front trunk it will unlock the hood. think there is a mixture of reasons these hood have popped open.

  21. I just took delivery of a Sebring Orange 2 LT Stingray with a hole 600 miles bouncing around the roads of Vermont. This thing of the Frunk popping open while driving has me a bit freeked out. What is the conclusion, is this Drivers error or a Mechanical GM issue? To all you guys that have done the research and put the time in on the problem, thank you and keep up the good work

  22. I had this happen on my Vette – it was my fault – I unplugged the battery charger – and evidently did not secure the hood properly – luckily I was only 5 mph so no damage. Since this occurrence all has been great – I also do not leave the key fob where it can be activated by mistake.

  23. Sorry I don’t buy the analysis. I can only believe what my eyes and ears tell me. And that is: It is NOT user error! GM has a serious problem on their hands which they need to own. Until then I’m in NO hurry for my C8.

    Everyone should judge for themselves… Here is the “Original” Youtube video slowed down to 1/4 speed. God gave most of us good eyes, ears and a brain. I’d recommend you review this 30 second video and use all of the above. Good luck and stay safe! Here’s the link:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDIj2nq5ujw

    If it acts like a latch, sounds like a latch and fails like a latch it can ONLY be THE LATCH!

  24. @ElFredo,

    Clearly logic is not going to work with you, but you can stop repeatedly posting the link to your slowed down video. FWIW – that sounds like a hinge noise to me, not a latch noise (I’m going to bet you can’t even hear the latch were it to open at those speeds). How you can be so sure it is a ‘latch sound’ when you’ve slowed down the audio by 4x is beyond me. What tells you it is not the noise of the hinges for the frunk?

    The article is very compelling analysis. Your analysis is “I think it sounds like a latch, listen, listen”. If you want to convince me, I will need:
    a) a recording of the latch being activated on the frunk (with the vehicle stopped) to see if it sounds anything like the random noise you are claiming is a latch noise.
    b) someone to intentionally leave the frunk unlatched and drive it at 30-40 miles an hour, so I can verify that the the hinge sound of the frunk lid, under 30-40 mph wind does not sound exactly like what you are calling a latch noise.

  25. Interesting work Jeremy…I have one on order and am worried that a solution hasn’t been found yet. I’m sure none of these individuals wanted the hood to come up and damage there new cars…they must have been devastated. Even if they didn’t quite close the lid hard enough a hood should never come up like it has done in these video’s…There should be some sort of secondary latch to catch a mistake. I have seen many Mechanical latches fail in vehicles because of lack of lubrication or improperly adjusted , yet in most case the secondary latch catches and Saves the day.Only once in 40 years as a tech have I seen a failure of a lid coming up and the primary latch was never lubricated and the secondary was seized open….lots of damage occurred and it opened my eyes to make sure they latches are properly lubricated.In another case it was a poor body shop repair and the latch was not adjusted correctly and possibly damaged from the previous front end collision.Either way it a scary situation and hopefully they can find a solution to this unfortunate situation on the great vehicle.

  26. You missed a third and the most obvious cause of this potentially dangerous problem…BUY A FORD!!!

  27. I’ve finally had enough of GM’s inability to own a dangerous problem and bought a new 2020 MX-5 today as a tweener until GM sorts out the C8. The MX-5 certainly doesn’t have the power of the C8 but it is a nimble and fun car to drive. When and if GM ever decides to become “Customer-Centric” and start listening and addressing issues important to the safety of its customers and enhance the integrity of its brand by bettering its quality control and increasing its attention to safety I will reconsider the purchase of the C8. Until then, I’m going to lurk in the background and enjoy my MX-5. Stay safe!

  28. K.G. Yes there’s plenty of room for my wife, her purse and lots of other stuff! Maybe you ought to check the interior specs of both the C8 and the MX-5 before you start showing your ignorance?

  29. Elfredo, you drive an MX-5 and and you are calling me ignorant? Only an ignorant person would drive an MX-5 over a C8!

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