Trunk (automobile)
The trunk or boot of an automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 or car is the vehicle's main storage, luggage
Baggage is any number of bags, cases and containers which hold a traveller's articles during transit.Luggage is more or less the same concept as "baggage", but is normally used in relation to the personal luggage of a specific person or persons Baggage is any number of bags, cases and containers...

, or cargo compartment
In heraldry, a compartment is a design placed under the shield, usually rocks, a grassy mount , or some sort of other landscape upon which the supporters are depicted as standing...

. Trunk is used in North American English
North American English
North American English is the variety of the English language of North America, including that of the United States and Canada. Because of their shared histories and the similarities between the pronunciation, vocabulary and accent of American English and Canadian English, the two spoken languages...

 and Jamaican English
Jamaican English
Jamaican English or Jamaican Standard English is a dialect of English spoken in Jamaica. It melds parts of both American English and British English dialects, along with many aspects of Irish intonation...

; boot is used elsewhere in the English speaking world. Trunk is also primarily used in many non-English speaking regions, such as East Asia. In earlier usage, a boot was a built-in compartment on a horse-drawn coach
Coach (carriage)
A coach was originally a large, usually closed, four-wheeled carriage with two or more horses harnessed as a team, controlled by a coachman and/or one or more postilions. It had doors in the sides, with generally a front and a back seat inside and, for the driver, a small, usually elevated seat in...

, used originally as a seat for the coachman
A coachman is a man whose business it is to drive a coach, a horse-drawn vehicle designed for the conveyance of more than one passenger — and of mail — and covered for protection from the elements...

 and later for storage.

The cargo compartment is most often located at the rear of the vehicle. Storage areas are normally at the other end of the vehicle to which the engine is located. Some mid-engined
Mid-engine design
A mid-engine layout describes the placement of an automobile engine between the rear and front axles. Another term for this is mid-ship.-Benefits:The mid-engine layout is typically chosen for its relatively favorable weight distribution...

 cars (such as the Ferrari 360
Ferrari 360
The Ferrari 360 is a mid-engine midsize two-seater sports car produced from late 1999 until 2005. The 360 replaced the Ferrari F355 and was itself replaced by the fairly similar Ferrari F430...

) and rear-engined
RR layout
In automotive design, a RR, or Rear-engine, Rear-wheel drive layout places both the engine and drive wheels at the rear of the vehicle. In contrast to the RMR layout, the center of mass of the engine is between the rear axle and the rear bumper....

 cars (such as the Volkswagen Beetle
Volkswagen Beetle
The Volkswagen Type 1, widely known as the Volkswagen Beetle or Volkswagen Bug, is an economy car produced by the German auto maker Volkswagen from 1938 until 2003...

) have it in the front. Vehicles such as the Volkswagen Type 3, had storage compartments in the front and in the rear, above the low profile boxer engine. The mid-engined Fiat X1/9
Fiat X1/9
The Fiat X1/9 is a two-seater mid-engined sports car designed by Bertone and manufactured by Fiat from 1972-1982 and subsequently by Bertone from 1982-1989....

 also had two storage compartments, although the rear one was very small, but practically cuboid in shape.

In France, from 1900 onwards, Moynat
Moynat is one of the oldest French trunk-makers. Their first atelier was opened in Paris in 1849 by trunk-makers Octavie and François Coulembier. They joined forces with Pauline Moynat, a specialist in travel goods, to open the first store of avenue de l’Opera. Moynat was one of the very first...

 trunk maker became the indisputable market leader in automobile luggage, for which the house developed a number of patented products including the limousine trunk. In 1928 came the side or lateral sliding trunk, a mechanism that foreshadowed the development of integrated trunks in vehicles from the 1930s onwards

Open or closed

This loadspace may further be categorised as open or closed.

Open loadspaces are those found in station wagon
Station wagon
A station wagon is a body style variant of a sedan/saloon with its roof extended rearward over a shared passenger/cargo volume with access at the back via a third or fifth door , instead of a trunk lid...

s (estate cars) and SUVs. Closed loadspaces have a decklid
The decklid is the cover over the trunk/boot of motor vehicles that allows access to the main storage or luggage compartment...

 and are typically those found in saloon (sedan) or coupé
A coupé or coupe is a closed car body style , the precise definition of which varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and over time...

 bodies. The loadspace is separated from the passenger compartment by rigid elements of the vehicle body and trim. Closed trunks are generally trimmed in simple materials whereas many station wagons are trimmed with higher cost and better looking materials as the loadspace forms an extension of the passenger compartment. In order to achieve privacy and or protect the contents of the vehicle from theft or excessive heat, a loadspace cover may be fitted, This may take the form of a rigid parcel shelf, typical of many hatchback
A Hatchback is a car body style incorporating a shared passenger and cargo volume, with rearmost accessibility via a rear third or fifth door, typically a top-hinged liftgate—and features such as fold-down rear seats to enable flexibility within the shared passenger/cargo volume. As a two-box...

 vehicles; or in the case of station wagons, cars and many SUVs, a roller blind
Window blind
A window blind is a type of window coverings. There are many different kinds of window blinds, using different systems and materials. A typical window blind is made with slats of fabric, wood, plastic or metal that adjust by rotating from an open position to a closed position by allowing slats to...

 in a removable cassette.

Increased variability

To increase the flexibility of the trunk loadspace, the addition of folding rear seats increases the size of the trunk and so allows the occasional transport of luggage that would have otherwise required a much larger vehicle.
Some manufacturers of smaller and even saloon/coupé-bodied cars offer this flexibility to their otherwise closed loadspaces and so blur the lines of definition by adding folding rear seats to allow the occasional transport of bigger loads.

Active safety by luggage retention

The loadspace can contribute to the active- and passive safety of the vehicle. Active safety
Active safety
In engineering, active safety systems are systems activated in response to a safety problem or abnormal event. Such systems may be activated by a human operator, automatically by a computer driven system, or even mechanically...

 may be promoted in vehicles that are partially loaded. Here the use of lashing eyes to restrain luggage can prevent or reduce damage to the vehicle and its occupants in severe manoeuvres. In driving while cornering 'in-extremis', the prevention of sudden weight transfer due to poorly loaded luggage can be enough to prevent the vehicle losing grip, and potentially avoiding thereby an accident; active safety.

Passive safety by luggage retention

If a crash should occur, lashing eyes can reduce the severity of outcome of the accident by keeping the luggage in the loadspace compartment and thereby preventing projectiles from harming correctly restrained passengers in the passenger compartment.
These lashing features may be in the form of fixed or foldable loops or in the case of certain European vehicles (for example BMW X3
The BMW X3 is a compact crossover SUV marketed by the German automaker BMW, based on the BMW 3-Series automobile platform, and now in its second generation. BMW designed the X3 in conjunction with Magna Steyr of Graz, Austria — who manufactured all X3s under contract to BMW for the first...

, BMW X5
The BMW X5 is a luxury crossover SUV introduced in 1999 as the first generation E53. It was BMW's first SUV also known as "Four-by-Four" in the UK. It features all-wheel drive which is branded as the "X" drive system and is available with either manual or automatic transmission...

, and various VW  and Audi
Audi AG is a German automobile manufacturer, from supermini to crossover SUVs in various body styles and price ranges that are marketed under the Audi brand , positioned as the premium brand within the Volkswagen Group....

 models) combine sliding loops in a rail system to allow optimal positioning of the lashing eyes. At the same time this eases the integration of accessories for loadspace management; dividers, bike carriers etc. into the interior of the vehicle, a principle that has been applied in cargo van
A van is a kind of vehicle used for transporting goods or groups of people.In British English usage, it can be either specially designed or based on a saloon or sedan car, the latter type often including derivatives with open backs...

s and air transport for many years.

Barrier nets/grids

In vehicles with open luggage compartments, some are fitted with metal grids or guards to retain loose items in case of collision, or to simply create a bulkhead between the load in the trunk - for example animals - separated from the otherwise unprotected passenger space.
Another solution for items that have not been restrained is the loadspace barrier net. These may be directly attached to the body structure or, in vehicles with loadspace cover cassettes, as a combined loadspace cover and barrier net (ger. Kombirollo), the net confining luggage to the loadspace in case of emergency braking and minor crash impacts. These nets have the advantage over metal guards that they can be rolled-up when not in use, taking up much less space than a comparable guard. A guard may however be tailored for an even tighter fit to the body interior contours than a roll-away net.

Additional functions

Beyond carrying luggage, the trunk/boot of most passenger vehicles commonly contains various other components often behind the trimmed surfaces of the interior. These components may be accessed by the customer or the service personnel through (in some cases lockable) hatches in the trim, or by removing carpet and support boards etc. Typical components:
  • Emergency supplies
  • Spare tire
    Spare tire
    A spare tire is an additional tire carried in a motor vehicle as a replacement for one that goes flat, a blowout, or other emergency...

  • jack and lug wrench
    Lug wrench
    Lug wrench is the U.S. name for a type of socket wrench used to turn lug nuts on automobile wheels. In the UK it is commonly known as a wheel brace or wheel wrench....

  • on-board tool
    A tool is a device that can be used to produce an item or achieve a task, but that is not consumed in the process. Informally the word is also used to describe a procedure or process with a specific purpose. Tools that are used in particular fields or activities may have different designations such...

     kit for do it yourself
    Do it yourself
    Do it yourself is a term used to describe building, modifying, or repairing of something without the aid of experts or professionals...

  • electronics for sound
    Sound is a mechanical wave that is an oscillation of pressure transmitted through a solid, liquid, or gas, composed of frequencies within the range of hearing and of a level sufficiently strong to be heard, or the sensation stimulated in organs of hearing by such vibrations.-Propagation of...

    , video
    Video is the technology of electronically capturing, recording, processing, storing, transmitting, and reconstructing a sequence of still images representing scenes in motion.- History :...

    , GPS
    Global Positioning System
    The Global Positioning System is a space-based global navigation satellite system that provides location and time information in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites...

    , etc.
  • Battery
    Battery (electricity)
    An electrical battery is one or more electrochemical cells that convert stored chemical energy into electrical energy. Since the invention of the first battery in 1800 by Alessandro Volta and especially since the technically improved Daniell cell in 1836, batteries have become a common power...

     and hybrid
    Hybrid electric vehicle
    A hybrid electric vehicle is a type of hybrid vehicle and electric vehicle which combines a conventional internal combustion engine propulsion system with an electric propulsion system. The presence of the electric powertrain is intended to achieve either better fuel economy than a conventional...

     energy store (see plug-in hybrids).
  • Fuse boxes
  • CNG
    Compressed natural gas
    Compressed natural gas is a fossil fuel substitute for gasoline , diesel, or propane/LPG. Although its combustion does produce greenhouse gases, it is a more environmentally clean alternative to those fuels, and it is much safer than other fuels in the event of a spill...

    /LPG tanks (for bivalent engines
    Bivalent (engine)
    A bivalent engine is one that can use two fuel types. Examples are petroleum/CNG or petroleum/LPG which are widely offered in the European passenger vehicle aftermarket...

  • Additional folding, or 'third-row', seating (increasingly in open loadspaces)


Children - and sometimes adults who climb in to work on the vehicle - trapped in trunks can die of suffocation or heat stroke. Once in the trunk, they may not be able to get out, even if they entered through the interior, because many rear seats only release to the trunk from inside the passenger area. Beginning with the 2008 models, a glow-in-the-dark inside trunk release is required on all vehicles with conventional trunks sold in the United States. Hatchbacks, wagons, vans and SUVs are exempt from this requirement because it is assumed a trapped person can kick out any cargo cover to gain access to the main interior and passenger doors.

Shelves and boards

Some vehicles offer configurable cargo conveniences such as a shelf or board. They often serve various purposes. The multiposition rear shelf on the Chrysler PT Cruiser
Chrysler PT Cruiser
The Chrysler PT Cruiser is a retro styled compact automobile launched by Chrysler as a 5-door hatchback in early 2000 and as a 2-door convertible in early 2005 ....

 can be used as a table for a picnic
In contemporary usage, a picnic can be defined simply as a pleasure excursion at which a meal is eaten outdoors , ideally taking place in a beautiful landscape such as a park, beside a lake or with an interesting view and possibly at a public event such as before an open air theatre performance,...

, a second cargo layer, or a security screen. The Citroën C3
Citroën C3
The Citroën C3 is a supermini car equipped with a range of inline-four engines that has been produced by the French automaker Citroën since 2002. It was designed by Donato Coco and Jean-Pierre Ploué, previously known for designing the first generation Renault Twingo; the former has been the head of...

 has a foldable segmented false floorboard that compartmentalises the cargo area, makes loading easier, and evens out the load floor when the back of the rear seat is folded down.

Central locking

The locking of the trunk may be achieved together with the passenger compartment.

Remote opening

Some cars include a function to remotely open the trunk. This may be achieved through a variety of means
  • release of the latch whereby the doorseals push the decklid away from the lock, the trunk is then open, and the lid may not have revealed the opening.
  • release of the latch whereby a spring pushes the decklid away from the lock and open, the trunk is then open, and the lid reveals the opening.
  • release of the latch and actuation of a drive, whether hydraulic (BMW 7 Series
    BMW 7 Series
    The BMW 7 Series is a line of full-size luxury vehicles produced by the German automaker BMW. Introduced in 1977, it is BMW's flagship car and is only available as a sedan or extended-length limousine...

    ) or electric (BMW X6
    BMW X6
    The BMW X6 is a mid-size luxury crossover released for sale in the second quarter of 2008 by German automaker BMW. The X6 was marketed as a Sports Activity Coupé by BMW...

    ), which pushes the decklid away from the lock; the trunk is then open, and the lid reveals the opening. This may then be electrically closed again.

See also

  • Car boot sale
    Car boot sale
    Car boot/trunk sales or boot/trunk fairs are a mainly British form of market in which private individuals come together to sell household and garden goods.The term refers to the selling of items from a car's boot or trunk...

  • Continental tire
    Continental tire
    A Continental tire is an upright, external, mounted spare tire behind an automobile's trunk compartment. The term also describes a non-functional bulge that is stamped into the trunk lid or a cosmetic accessory to the rear of the car giving the impression of a spare tire mount.-Development:The...

  • Hood (vehicle)
    Hood (vehicle)
    The hood or bonnet is the hinged cover over the engine of motor vehicles that allows access to the engine compartment for maintenance and repair. In British terminology, hood refers to a fabric cover over the passenger compartment of the car...

  • Refrigeration
    Refrigeration is a process in which work is done to move heat from one location to another. This work is traditionally done by mechanical work, but can also be done by magnetism, laser or other means...

    In heraldry, a compartment is a design placed under the shield, usually rocks, a grassy mount , or some sort of other landscape upon which the supporters are depicted as standing...

  • Trunking (auto)
    Trunking (auto)
    Trunking is the act of riding in a car in the trunk rather than in designated passenger positions. This potentially dangerous and illegal activity is mainly performed by teenagers who are attempting to avoid laws which prohibit new car drivers from driving with passengers or if there are more...

  • Trunk (motorcycle)
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