One of the most popular features on this website is about accessing Porsche Boxster and 996 emergency bonnet releases, which you can find here. The emergency release allows you to access the luggage compartment where the battery is housed, which is useful if the battery has gone flat and the electrically operated releases aren’t functioning.
If you have an early Porsche 996 or Boxster, you may be feeling smug reading this, because these cars have mechanical, rather than electrical, releases for the boot and engine compartment. There are two levers on the driver’s door sill which, when pulled, pop open the lids. So, if the car has no power, you can easily get to the battery to charge it.
Well, unless that is, the car was locked prior to the battery going down. You see, without power, you can unlock the driver’s door by turning the key in the lock, the old-fashioned way, which gives you access to the two levers in the sill. However, Porsche in its wisdom added a locking feature to the levers which, you guessed it, is electrically operated. Normally, when the car is unlocked with the remote, a solenoid inside the door sill operates to unlock the levers. When there is no power going to the solenoid, however, it doesn’t unlock. It seems bizarre that Porsche felt the need to add this extra level of security because, when the driver’s door is shut and locked, it physically blocks off the levers so that they can’t be pulled.
Whatever the reason, it’s a pain when the battery goes flat and, unlike on later cars, there is no electrical terminal in the driver’s footwell fusebox for connecting a 12-volt supply to.
Thankfully, though, there is a simple solution. The plastic door sill trim which houses the levers can be prised up from the rear (see photo above). First of all, remove the three plastic covers on the inside edge and, using a 5mm Allen key, loosen (you don’t need to remove) the three screws. Then, simply pull up the grey panel and it unclips. This then gives you access to the mechanism. There is a steel rod with a 90-degree bend at the rear of the assembly (see below); use a screwdriver to move that backwards and, hey-presto, both levers are free to be pulled up. Make sure that this rod hooks back over the eye in the end of the solenoid when you drop the cover back down.
As ever, prevention is better than cure. Modern Porsches (and, indeed, other cars) have an increasing amount of electronic systems that will inevitably drain the battery if the car isn’t being used regularly. So it’s important to keep a conditioner connected. We use CTEK intelligent chargers which can either be connected to the battery directly or plugged into the car’s cigarette lighter.