I’ve noticed that “Dead Battery Locked Hood 996” is an ever-increasingly popular Porsche Tech Q&A search. For that reason I’ve provided detailed instructions in 12 steps on unlocking the lids and jumping the battery with easy to understand pictures to solve this modern Porsche Carrera driver’s dilemma. I believe this applies at least to all 996 911s & Boxsters manufactured 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004.
Please make sure to read through the comments as there have been updates since this was originally published.
It’s inevitable. Like all cars I know, eventually your battery is going to fail. Chances are pretty good that it’s going to fail with the doors locked and your Owner’s Manual inside the glove box. Chances are also pretty good that the Porsche designers responsible for engineering the luggage compartment lid electronic release were oblivious to this eventuality. Seriously, if the battery is dead how good is a electronic release going to be to get battery access. Luckily, they did engineer a way around the problem but it is slightly complicated (“…the lids can only be opened with the aid of a donor battery,” meaning, you must jump your 996 in order to get into the trunks so that you can jump start your 996) – and the Owner’s Manual on the subject is somewhat confusing (besides it’s locked in your glovebox).
Step 1: Unlock your car using the manual door lock, and leave the key in the door. Be aware that your 996 key is programmed to enter into a remote-control battery saving Standby Mode after five consecutive days of inactivity. To many, this will be confused with having a dead car battery because none of the remotes will unlock the car. In either case, unlock your car using the manual door lock keyhole on the door. If you see lights inside then your issue was the remote-control battery saving Standby Mode. If so, 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 in fact probably have a dead battery.
Step 2: With the key still left in the door, remove the plastic cover over the fuse box in the driver’s side foot-well.
Step 3: Pull out the positive terminal in the lower left of the fuse box (next to the manual rear spoiler rocker switch).
Step 4: Attach the positive red clamp of your jumper cable from your donor battery to the exposed positive terminal in the fuse box. Note: If you are using a donor battery, a minimum of 12 volts is required. If you are using another car’s battery, now attach the positive red clamp to the positive terminal on that battery.
Step 5: Note: the alarm will sound when you attach the negative black clamp of your jumper cable coming from your booster battery to the exposed door latch striker. Turn the alarm off by locking and unlocking the car at the door lock.
(Note: I found this handy battery jumper at Costco for about $60.)
Step 6: Unlock the rear engine compartment hood using the switch. Although the battery is located in the front luggage compartment (under an additional lid), the terminals for jump-starting the 996 are located in the engine compartment. These terminals are much easier to access than trying to jump the battery directly.
Step 7: Disconnect the negative black jumper clamp first, then the positive red clamp (first from the your 911 then from your booster battery always being careful not to let the two clamps touch – shock danger).
Step 8: Push the positive terminal back into the fuse box and replace the fuse box cover. Turn off all accessories such as stereo, wipers, headlights, etc, move the gear shift into neutral position and set the parking brake before attempting to jump start your 911.
Step 9: Locate the positive (+) and negative (-) jumper terminals inside the rear engine compartment lid.
Update 11/1/10: I discovered that most auxillary jumpers (like the pictured) do not have enough energy to turn over a 911. You best bet is to get a jump from another vehicle as described.
Step 10: Open the cap of the positive terminal and attach the positive red jumper cable clamp.
If you are using another car’s battery as a booster, now attach the positive red clamp to the positive terminal on the booster battery.
Attach the negative black cable first to the booster battery and then to the negative terminal in the Porsche engine compartment.
Step 11: Run the engine of the booster car at a higher RPM and start your Porsche. Any attempts to start your car should not last more than 15 seconds with a waiting period of one minute between attempts.
Step 12: With the engine running, disconnect both jumper cables from both cars in reverse order.
If jump-starting the car did not resolve your problem then you’ll probably need to replace the battery which is located in the Porsche’s front luggage compartment – by now you have access to your Owner’s Manual for complete instructions on replacing your 996 battery (see page 218 of 911 model year 2003′s manual).
Please see additional comments below by PCA 993 & 996 expert, Joel Reiser.
See you down the road.
Written by Perry & Co. Denver Real Estate Professionals’ COO & Director of Relocation Services Jon Larrance.
Filed under: Denver Colorado Real Estate, Leading Real Estate Companies, Luxury, Who's Who In Luxury Real Estate | 47 Comments
Tags: 911, 996, 997, Boxster, Car Batteries, Carrera, Cayman, DIY, Joel Reiser, Jon Larrance, Jump-starting, Luxury, PCA, Porsche
The following comment came by way of email from the highly-revered, Porsche Club of America‘s 993 & 996 (1995-2005 991s) expert, Joel Reiser. The PCA and Joel are invaluable resources for any Porsche owner or enthusiast – I would highly recommend joining the PCA to anyone even consider owning a Porsche (the cost is a mere $42/yr). In fact, Joel has helped me with Tech questions many times, including when I was contemplating the purchases of my two pre-owned 911s.
Very interesting. Great job reporting on the alarm ins & outs. No matter how much I write, and urge people to keep their batteries on trickle chargers to prevent this sort of thing, they go on having this problem.
Here are some random bits of content feedback in no particular order…
Great advice and assistance. I have a 2000 996 and the battery went completey flat (yep my fault as I had not driven it for a few weeks !) and hence I could not open the boot to access the battery. As a 2000 model my car had the lever/cable system so I was unable to use the ‘fuse box’ solution and having phoned my local Porsche dealer I was about to embark on a complex process to try and access the cable near the lever. However having searched the web I came across your clear guide and saw that I could jump start the car directly via the engine points as you described. Since I could access this straightforwardly (the lever for the engine compartment worked fine without power) your assistance has saved me no end of trouble as I could jump start and then take the car for a long drive to charge up the battery. I live in Whiteparish, a small village near Salisbury, Wiltshire in the United Kingdom so from the other side of the Atlantic you came to my rescue.
Thanks once again for your help.
Thanks for the comment Hugh. You made my day hearing that I could be of help from across the pond. I’ve heard that the 1999 & 2000 model years have an even more difficult cable system for getting into the trunk, so I was especially glad to hear that my article helped you.
I have a 1999 996 in storage for the winter. I was debating between trickle or just put a charger on it monthly for a day.
Should I be connecting to the battery directly or is it better/easier to connect in the engine compartment?
1. Trickle charger.
2. Leave the hood unlatched if storing the car in a secure area.
I may be wrong (help me someone if I am) but I believe the trickle charger plugs into the cigarette lighter.
I’ve had my share of dead batteries on my 2004 911.
Dumb question… if I am running a trickle charger or a maintainer for winter storage, do I connect it to the terminals in the main engine compartment or to the battery terminals in front luggage compartment (battery itself)? Thanks.
My 1999 996 has an external cable release for the trunk lid and the engine compartment lid. The engine compartment cable is hidden behind the left rear wheel in the split between the body panel and the bumper. The trunk cable is in the right front fender slit just behind the headlamp. I believe that the problem with the early 996′s was that you could not even unlock the door with a key if the battery died while the alarm was engaged. I must be lucky because my alarm system has never run the battery down even after several weeks of the car sitting idle with the alarm set.
I found the cables accidently several years ago while detailing the car.
Thanks John for the precise locations of the trunk and engine compartment cables on the earlier 996 – I’m sure many Porsche owners will find that very useful indeed.
I encourage everyone to retain this information. I left my keys in the ignition and the battery drained! So be forewarned about this odd design error. I called the “official” Porsche roadside service and the man showed up and was stumped. He had no idea what to do and was a subcontractor of a subcontractor of a subcontrator. He knew nothing about Porsches. I had to call the dealership and to have him walk me through the process since the serviceman couldn’t understand what to do. He provided the cables and I did all the work. Just was happy I didn’t have to pay him anything.
Honest to God! “Porsche enginners are not idiots”!! Think about this. (1) The M96 engine–RMS, intermediate shaft seal, case leaks, etc…It is impossible to know, but I’ve seen it reported that as many as 5000 M96 (even read a comment in “Excellence” that up to 20% of all made) engines have had to be replaced because of these problems. Nash-Rambler engines replaced because of engineering defects=0. Corvette=0. Pontiac Aztec=0. AMC Gremlin=0. Fiat Bambino–okay, I don’t know. (2) Oil leaks in all mannner of Porsches over the years. It is virtually impossible to stop an SC from leaking. I know–I’ve poured more money into that than taxpayers keep pouring into our education system. (3) 964 head gasket issues–whose to blame for this, Pres. Bush!!!! (4) Water cooling system on the 944s–same system used by Henry Ford on the Model T (circa 1914). Any time you open the system, you have to bleed air with a banjo bolt near the thermostat housing or it will run hot. Yeah, you’re right, they’re not idiots. (5) Never had a car that had the dash crack like that of a 944. Go to any junk yard and see if you can find a car with that amount of cracking. Oops, sorry. “Why the hell are you worried about a few cracks on the dash?” “you should have your eyes on the road while your driving that fast!” (6) A/C–nuff said. But really, my Dad’s ’59 Buick had A/C that worked until it died of old age around 400,000 miles. At what mileage did you say I need to rebuild (replace) my 964 engine? (7) Overheating. There is a whole industry built around keeping Porsche engines cool, that Porsche engineers couldn’t seem to figure out. (8) etc…. (9) Read the book I plan to write titled–”Porsche engineers are idiots!”
Great comment FSL.
In this same vein, “Why the hell are you worried about a few cracks on the dash?” “you should have your eyes on the road while your driving that fast!” I recently wrote my Confessions Of A Porsche 996 Driver rant – hope you’ll read it by clicking here.
We use our Boxster daily, it performs very well even on snow. We get to enjoy our car and do not have the battery dying from inactivity.
However useful it may prove to have this procedure, I would not call any “12 step” process reasonable. Since Porsches are not purchased for money saving reasons and cars both above and below these price points have inexpensive remote releases, the cost-cutting argument seems not to follow reason. Instead of blaming an unnamed all too powerful accountant (?!) we can take responsibility for not setting the expectation for the company whose products we buy. Just a thought.
At last…many thanks as I have been there the hard way and will likely go down that road again. r/Mark 99 996 C2
Please don’t disconnect the battery while trickle charging as it must be in the circuit to charge.
I had a dead battery in my girlfriend’s 2003 996 and went thru the fuse box positive terminal process from the owners manual to help jump the car. I have one suggestion to your steps though. When you have the fuse box powered, I would open BOTH the front and rear hatches just in case you need access to the battery compartment later as I did when I had to replace mine. If front compartment access is not needed, then simply close it after it is determined battery replacement is not required. Keep all options open!
Please don’t confuse a trickle charger with a battery maintainer; two different things. A trickle charger will cook your battery if left unattended, where a maintainer has a chip that senses current draw and will turn on/off only to keep the battery at a healthy level. Also, don’t detach your battery if the car will be left for a period of time; put it on the maintainer instead. No battery power will clear all the codes in the ECU (engine control unit).
A VERY simple fix for this problem. I had a manual (cable) release installed (cable hidden of course). This allows me to open the luggage compartment manually if the battery goes dead. Yes, I have a lot of experience with dead batteries! Aloha.
I was told by the dealer service manager that you can expect more life from your battery during longer periods of inactivity if you lock the car using the remote. This is especially important if you are leaving the car in the garage while on a vacation or a business trip. Most of us do not lock our cars in the garage, but give this a try.
I appreciate how to open the trunk when the battery goes dead, but how do you get into the trunk when the trunk latch goes bad? I was checking into a hotel for a wedding and had all of our clothes in the trunk. The Porsche service department was closed and the salesman did not have a clue as to how to open. We had to buy all new clothes for the wedding.
Not said in the basic post: When after 24 hours (or hopefully less) of unsuccessfully trying to get voltage to the battery of an ’01 through the factory connection at the fuse box, simply use a cigarette lighter adapter plug to connect to your charger. Worked like a charm and got me into the luggage compartment in under 60 seconds.
I am the second owner of a 1999 C2 Cab that had 62,000 miles on the OD when purchased, placed into service on August 1998. I replaced the original battery on May 27, 2005. This new battery did not have a date tag on it so it was hard to remember the date installed. This battery did not show any tell-tail signs of going dead, so in December of 2008 the car’s battery died on a Saturday night in front of our Post Office. AAA came out and jumped the battery itself. I did not think or remember to use the engine compartment connections for a jump. (I now have a note on the battery to remind me!) As it turned out we could not get the engine to run anymore than 15 seconds without the engine dying and tried jumping three times. From these attempts to incorrectly jump the battery itself, my DME developed very bad electrical problems (gremlins) to the point that it failed and needed replacing. The DME cost is ~$1,620.00 which was warrenty replaced by FVD who had upgraded the original DME in January 2007. I spent an additional $700.00 to walk through and check all of the electrical system and purchase a new Porsche battery.
All and all a very expensive adventure of time and money. I have learned from this lesson and would like to pass this information along.
I’ve had the same problem with my 996 Turbo. I just plugged the trickle charger into the cigarette lighter and then popped the rear engine access to connect the loaner battery.
Do you know if this is the same procedure for a 997 (2008 model)?
I’ve heard that it is from a friend of mine that had to do it on his 997 just last week, but I cannot verify that for sure.
Can anyone out there provide some insight to this procedure for a 997?
Is there anything different to do if the battery is actually disconnected and then the hood shut ?
My understanding is that there is also a cable release somewhere in the right front wheel well (can anyone verify or refute that?). However, my understanding is based on 996 info and I believe you mentioned before owning a 997.
Have you checked with your local dealer yet? My service manager was previously a technician and he is extremely knowledgable – Justin Underwood at Stevinson Imports, Denver, 303.794.3550.
I’ve had some battery issues with my 2003 911, more specifically with the radio. The old battery (replaced last yr) would die if car was stored for more than 10 days or so without driving, especially in the WInter. It would be easy to jumpstart, and I did this about half a dozen times. However, sometimes when I do this, the radio stops working- only to start functioning normally in a day or so.
Fast forward to this week: battery was dead, I jumped it, brought it to local station who put a charge on it. Radio again failed. Yesterday I took a drive to the local Porsche dealer, who initially thought I had burned out the radio ($1000). He said this could happen because of a voltage spike while jumping the car. He took the car inside and removed the radio; he told me he was able to remove the charge stored in the capacitors and that I was lucky that worked.
My question: How do you jumpstart a Porsche without risk of burning out the radio, or any of the other electronics in the car? Do you pull a fuse? Does it matter if you use the electrodes in the engine compartment instead of jumping direct to the battery?
This really is a question for Joel Reiser at PCA.
Let us know what you find out.
Eventually had to get the car (997) towed to Porsche dealer who managed to open using the posted procedure. They needed to replace the battery as it had gone completely flat through shipping transportation over a couple of months. Not sure what they did differently to what I was trying; they possibly waited longer with the booster battery connected and also used the key remote rather than the release inside the car. All I know is that it ended up being expensive, towing and new battery. Anyway its working fine now, but I have bought a trickle charger to avoid in future. Thanks for the help.
Thanks for the update Roger – sorry to hear about your expense.
The posted procedure (up through step-8) is exactly the same for the Cayman models.
In my case, I was able to get it started using a start-pac when my donor car’s battery wouldn’t turn it over. It took a couple of times jumping it as the first time around gave a rough run and a “system error”. Second time the computer behaved as it should. Unfortunately, the battery failed to charge even though it had a spirited hour long run on the ring road around the city. A quick trip to Auto Zone for a new battery and installation as per the manual (very simple, I’m a geek and I could do it no problem) did the trick.
Thanks Bill – I really appreciate the update on the Cayman!
I tried the fuse box – door jam method after I killed my battery in my 2004 911 by leaving my itouch plugged into the cigarette lighter for a few days. I used a good battery in my Jeep but it just didn’t work. I left it hooked up all night and same results, nothing. I even called the local Porsche dealer and they said it was correctly hooked up with key in door etc. I even checked the current flow touching the sensor to the jam and the metal part of the fuse box unit and had current when the jumper cable was hooked up. So I bought a cigarette lighter to cigarette lighter charger from Amazon for $16. Plugged it into the Jeep and the Porsche and bingo, lights go on in the 911 and hood and truck lids open. I am not sure why the fuse box method didn’t work but I’m keeping the charger in my trunk from now on.
Thanks for sharing your experience Perry. Sounds like maybe your fusebox terminal is somehow dead/disconnected huh? One piece of advice I would give you is not to keep the new charger in your trunk, as you won’t be able to get to it if the battery is dead in the future.
Ha…Great point Jon!…Thanks
I thank you for your published information on this site. I have a 2001 Porsche Boxster, the battery was dead and I had no idea as to how I was going to open the front hood without damaging my car. I did some research and came across your information and I’m so happy I took the time to read. Thank you so much, please add me to any info you may have in the future.
I hooked up the battery wrong – positive to negative, negative to positive on porsche 911. What should i do?
All the lights are on and the car will not start. It shows battery failure.
Sorry about your problem. You should contact your local Porsche dealer service manager ASAP. If you live in the Denver, Colorado area I recommend Stevinson Imports at 303.794.3550.
I’ve noticed some searches recently of “porsche rear spoiler manually open 996” and “where is spoiler switch 996” (among others). So I thought I’d take a quick minute to answer that question.
If you look above at the 3rd photo from the top (clearer in photo 9), the manual spoiler raise switch is beneath my thumb at the lower left corner of the fuse box panel in the driver’s foot well.
Help this helps!
Hi! Thanks for the instructions, though I had a homer moment!
When opening the fuse box, a Blue 15 fuse fell out and i have no friggin idea from where. I recreated the act of inserting the finger to get to a point where im 90% sure that i know where it came from but dont want to take the chance.
Any advice or is it time to call someone in?
On the backside of the Porsche 911 fusebox door is a map of all the fuse locations/functions. This should give you an idea, if the amperage of the fallen one matches the amperage of the open spot. It should also correspond to whatever function you have that isn’t working properly right now.
My guess is that you only have one open spot and that’s where it belongs, but just to be safe check the map.
Nearing 10,000 reads, this blog post is Porsche Club of America’s Fifth Most Popular Story: http://multibriefs.com/briefs/pca/index.php
Thanks PCA members!
I appreciate how to open the trunk when the battery goes dead, but how do you get into the trunk when the trunk latch goes bad? I had/have all my clothes in the trunk. Please advise …
I have a 1999 911 – and there is only a mechanical opening….
This answer comes from Justin Underwood – Porsche Service Advisor / Technician – Stevinson Imports – Littleton, CO
Is the latch itself bad or just the lever to open the latch? Either way, if you pry up slightly on the passenger side headlight and look between the headlight housing and the bumper cover there will be a metal cable coming from the center of the car where the front trunk latch sits. Reach in with a wire coat hanger to grab this cable and pull the wire hanger out. What you will have is a metal cable with a loop on the end of it hanging out of the front bumper. Pull the cable perpendicular to the car and the front latch should release.
The most difficult part is finding the cable between the passenger headlight and bumper cover. If you can find the cable and reach it you are already 98% of the way there.
I have a very early 1999 911 and had previously opened the front trunk via hooking up jumper cables to the door lock post and to the C3 fuse as the mechanics at the Porsche dealer showed me this trick several years ago.
However, this time when I have tried, it is not releasing the front trunk lever so, I am still locked out of the front trunk. Am I not getting enough energy to release the lever or, is there an alarm cycle that the car must go through to permit the release??
I think this was covered earlier but probably hard to find by now…
With the earlier Porsche 996s you must lock and unlock the car using the key in the drivers door after you have connected the power source to the fuse panel (as the remote goes into standby mode). As long as everything is connected properly the lever for the front trunk will unlock once the key is turned to unlock the doors.
Let me know if that doesn’t work and we’ll have to do it the hard way.