Published in the March 2012 issue of “Die Porsche Kassette”

Scenario 1:

You’re going on a trip and you need to leave your Porsche parked at the airport (or anywhere else) for a couple of days.  When you come back you go to start it and the battery is completely dead.  No problem, you think, you’ll call AAA and get them to come by and give you a jumpstart, but when they arrive you realize that you can’t open the front trunk because ... the car’s battery is dead!

What to do?

Before you panic, there are steps that you can do now to prevent this from happening to you in the future (more about it later).

Scenario 2:

You have an early Boxster or Carrera and you just laughed out loud from reading Scenario 1, because your car’s trunk is not electrically operated so that can’t happen to you.  What you may not know is that the cable used to unlatch the trunk in your car is prone to breaking at some point and you could end up with a limp latch and a closed trunk!  If you have a Boxster your worries just doubled because you have two trunks.

Who’s laughing now?

Before you panic, there are steps that you can do now to prevent this from happening to you in the future (more about it later).

Keep in mind that your 986/996 remote key is programmed to enter into a battery-saving Standby Mode after five consecutive days of inactivity. To some, this could be confused with having a dead car battery because none of the remote’s buttons will unlock the car.

Unlock your car the old fashioned way, using the key on the door.

If you see lights inside then your issue was the remote control’s battery-saving Standby Mode. If that’s the case, press the key button on your remote to reactivate the remote. You are now good to go.

If you don’t see any lights on the inside you probably have a dead battery and need to read on.

Porsche devised several ways of solving this situation for you, depending on the model year you have.

For the cars with electrically operated trunk lids (with a switch next to the driver’s doorsill) the easiest way to solve the problem is to recharge the battery a bit.  You can use a 12 volt adapter connected to a donor battery through your cigarette lighter (12 volt) outlet.  Also, on the fuse box (driver’s footwell) there is a red emergency prong.  Pull it out about ½ inch and attach the positive (red) clamp of the jumper cable from the donor battery to its copper sides.  The negative (black) clamp of the battery’s jumper cable attaches onto the door latch striker (ground).

Note: When you attach the negative black clamp of your jumper cable coming from your booster battery to the exposed door latch striker the car’s alarm will be triggered. Turn the alarm off by locking and unlocking the car at the door lock.

Depending on the condition of the car’s battery you may have to leave the connection in place for up to 1 hour in order to get enough charge to pop the trunk lid.

When recharging this way, make sure all of the electricals are turned off including lights, radio, radar detector, GPS, etc.  This connection is only good enough to get the trunk lid open. DO NOT try to start the engine with this connection in place.

If the battery is completely dead and will not take a charge with the previous method, there’s an alternate way to open the trunk.

Boxsters (all of them), Caymans (all of them), and Carreras (from 1999 on) are equipped with an emergency release cable to open the trunk(s) in case you’re ever facing Scenario 1 or 2.

The problem is that the aforementioned emergency cable is not located in an easy position to reach it.  The factory didn’t want to make it too easy for crooks to break into your trunks.  This is not even mentioned in the Owner’s Manual.

So, where is this lifesaving cable?

On US 986 and 996 cars, the front trunk’s cable release (item 12) is next to the right front

(passenger’s side) headlight assembly.  You’ll have to take out the headlight to find it.

On US 987, 997 and Caymans the front trunk release cable (item 22) is in the left (driver’s) wheel well so the left front tire needs to be removed as well as three plastic fasteners so that the wheel well liner can be pulled back.

The rear trunk’s cable release for Boxsters is in the left rear (driver’s side) bumper, just under the left tail light.

(small red arrow in pic.)

But what does this cable look like?

It’s a shinny, steel-braided cable about 1/16 (0.06) inch in diameter with a loop on its end.

(Front left wheelwell shown without cover)

My recommendation is that you reroute this cable (986/996) to a place that you can easily reach in case you’re ever faced with Scenario 2.  Some people reroute the loop to the car’s tow hook opening in the front bumper so that they can easily fish it out in case of need by just popping out the plug.  On my car I rerouted it to the right fender’s turn signal / sidemarker with a zip tie.  That way I can just pop the sidemarker and have access to the cable in an emergency.

On the 987 Boxster, 997 Carrera and C7 Cayman you may want to add an extension to the existing cable in the left front wheel well so that you don’t need to remove the liner in case of an emergency.

Now you can travel without worries knowing that you can get back into your car even with a dead battery.

To learn more about the emergency release cables and Porsches in general, please visit my website at

Happy Porscheing,


© 2012 Technolab /