Porsche Boxster/911 emergency bonnet release


I did something silly yesterday. I looked the keys in the front luggage compartment of a 2005 Porsche Boxster S – the 987 model. And, yes, the rest of the car was locked, too.

I knew that there was an emergency bonnet release hidden inside one of the front wings, its main reason being to allow access to the battery in the event it goes flat and the electric release won’t operate. The problem was, I wasn’t sure which wing, as it has moved around since the device was first used on the early Boxster and Porsche 996.

The obvious solution, then, was to Google the problem, which led to this lengthy thread on Pelican Parts. Some useful advice but confusion caused by people referring to ‘driver’s side’ and ‘passenger side’, which is dependant on what part of the world you are in. Almost as annoying and people saying ‘offside’ and ‘nearside’ – what’s wrong with a simple left and right?

The advice from this thread was to remove the relevant front wheel to gain access to the wheelarch liner which then needs to be removed. Good idea, but the locking wheel-nut key was inside car which, of course, was locked.

I was tired, so I took the easy route and called the AA. Within an hour, a shiny yellow van was on the drive, and I was delighted to see that the driver was Sam, the father of one of my son’s friends, a chap I know well, which made me feel slightly less embarrassed.

The AA use its own onboard computer system and Sam looked up Porsche Boxster but the information offered wasn’t comprehensive and there was some confusion as to whether it was referring to the front or the rear luggage compartments. I brought my MacBook out and had another search and came up with this thread on Planet 9, started by the owner of a 2006 Porsche Cayman, who’d locked his keys in the boot. Silly man!

The thread confirmed that in the case of the Porsche 997, plus 987 Boxster and Cayman, the emergency bonnet release is located in the left-hand front wing, and access is gained by removing the liner and reaching in. It included a very clear photo showing the location of the release, which I’ve taken the liberty of borrowing:


Removing the liner was tricky with the wheel in place; I did suggest jacking up the car but Sam pointed out that would set the alarm off and the neighbours wouldn’t appreciate that. He did, though, manage to unfasten the securing screws and pull back the liner enough to get his hand in.

The cable didn’t have a loop, as I’ve seen on 996s, but rather a bobble like the end of a bike brake cable. This meant using a pair of pliers to grip the cable and pull it. As soon as Sam did this, the bonnet popped open and the alarm went off. I quickly opened the lid, grabbed the keys and disabled the alarm. Job done!



I’ve just had a chat with a 996 owner who was locked out of his car. He took off his left hand wheelarch liner and couldn’t find a release. However, he found one in the right hand arch! On further investigation it seems that Porsche randomly selected one side or the other to locate the emergency release – there’s a hole on each side for the cable to run through. So, if you can’t a release under one arch, then take a look under the other side!

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Dot O'Toole

    A complete arse of a design. I became very adept at this with my 996 as the battery would flatten while I was working away. What was wrong with the cable release, if it’s not broke don’t fix it. I expected better from Porsche.

  2. jodie

    I have the answer that is quick and very easy. I too have had this problem. Best way is to get a cigarette lighter to cigarette lighter (of a doner car) and put some charge in the battery that way. It works a treat. Much easier than fiddling around with the fuse box or taking wheels off. We did all of this……..and then bought the ‘jump kit’….all done in 3 minutes.

    1. Philip

      Thanks for the reply. This method is for when you can’t get into the car – if the keys are lost, say.

      Did you know there’s a connector in the fusebox in the footwell that also allows you to connect a 12-volt supply for releasing the boot lid?

  3. Dick

    I managed the dedicated terminal route and have since been looking for the Bowden cable. I found a small spliced loop around the plastic tube within which is the solenoid operated release. I do not see how this can work –can it be an assembly error or an I being slow. I have taken a picture

  4. Mark Lockie

    Thanks for all this information. Would the fuse box charging method work if my battery is disconnected, which may have happened to me…

    Have left my 2004 Boxster S at a friends house for three months while I moved house. Disconnected the battery and fatefully closed the bonnet….can access car with key but I assumed the charging method wouldn’t work if the battery was disconnected.

    UK car. So steering wheel on the right hand side.

    Any advice much appreciated before I start poking around.

    1. Philip

      Hi Mark

      I don’t see why it shouldn’t work without the battery connected. Best thing is to give it a try; it would be much easier than accessing the emergency release under the wheelarch. Good luck!

  5. ken steadman

    On a similar theme. I recently purchased a 2003 Boxster S, been experiencing problems with alarm activation using key fobs (with new batteries) thus using manual key access. MOT is due mid-July and my plan was to have a full service and the alarm sorted at this time.
    Spent a few weeks away, battery flat on my return. Tried the positive connector in the fusebox with donor battery, immediately I earth on the door latch the alarm is activated, also both the driver door threshold switches didn’t work during the alarm sounding. The special wheel nut adaptor is in the boot!!!! thus it appears I am left with fishing around under the front wheel arches for a pull wire. Don’t understand why alarm is so loud but not enough juice to open the front lid.
    Any further ideas on a way forward

    1. Philip

      Hi Ken

      That’s an odd one. It’s not unusual for the alarm to sound when you open the doors with a flat battery – and it is very loud! If you can bear it, it may be with worth leaving the power supply connected for a few minutes to see if the alarm stops. Also, is your donor battery well charged? If not, it may not be giving enough power to operate the bonnet release.

      Worst case scenario is to get your breakdown service out to do the fishing around for the pull wire!

      Good luck!


  6. ken steadman

    Thanks Philip
    My donor battery is starting a 1.9 diesel golf so should be adequate. I’ll try letting the alarm complete a cycle, not too sure how long that takes. If no joy I’ll have a grope around for this elusive pull wire, though having fitted a new washer bottle under a wheel arch with the wheel removed a few months back, it’s not the easiest job to access the liner panel fixings with the wheel on the car.
    Thanks again for your quick response

  7. Robert Sheppard

    Thanks for this post,
    You just saved my life. After a heavy storm the windows on my 987 had gone down and the spoiler and roof cover were up. There was a blockage in one of the drain holes which had obviously caused the ecu to stress out. So, I decided to disconnect the battery and as it looked like it was going to rain I cleverly shut the bonnet.

    I thought nothing of it until I went back to see if it had dried itself out and then (you know what’s coming next), it dawned on me what I’d done. Thank god your post came up, although it was a real fiddle, I managed to remove the cowling with the wheel still on (as the locking nut is in the boot). Yanked on the cable a few time (you have to yank it hard) and hey presto!

    I won’t be doing that again!!

    1. Philip

      Thanks for your message. Glad this helped!

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