2015 Porsche Macan: Hidden Battery Jump Start
May 20, 2015
It was pushing 11:30 on Saturday night as I filled up our 2015 Porsche Macan near the end of a long road trip you'll read about later. A black, last-generation Toyota Camry sat quietly across the island as its driver walked back from the mini-mart after paying the clerk.
Soon after I heard a series of clicks, followed immediately by a muttered curse and a female voice imploring, "Sir, can you help me?"
I was more than a little road weary and just wanted to get home. But there was no one else around and, unlike me, she had jumper cables at the ready. "Sure," I said, figuring this shouldn't take long.
I had no idea where the Macan's battery was located and it wasn't visible when I lifted the hood. But it quickly became obvious that an owner's manual consultation wouldn't be necessary when I espied prominent "+" and "-" marks molded into the plastic engine compartment trim.
The former was centered atop a small hatch that concealed a stout metal terminal. The latter was adjacent to an exposed copper post with another "-" stamped onto its end. It was all very obvious.
From there it was easy: red clamp on the Camry's positive terminal followed by matching red clamp on the Porsche's positive post and a black clamp on the Porsche's negative post. Now I could make the final black connection, which she'd been holding away from any metal while I was busy with the first three clamps.
This last hookup surprised her. She expected me to make the final connection to her dead battery's negative post, but I went for one of the Camry's unpainted upper strut-mount bolts. I explained about the final connection's propensity to generate a spark and the admittedly vague possibility of battery gasses subsequently igniting if the spark had leapt from the negative battery terminal.
I started the Porsche and let it idle. She twisted her key about 30 seconds later. The Camry came to life after a few slow cranks. As we disconnected the cables she said, "I learned something today," referring to the last connection to the Camry's body instead of the battery.
She was carrying cables because she knew something was up but hadn't yet decided how to handle it without paying too much. The terminals and cables didn't look too bad. She asked if she should add water, but her battery only had vents. It soon became clear her five-year old car was still on its original battery. Considering the age and the trouble she was having, I suggested it was time to buy a new one. Having your car go dead near midnight in a semi-questionable part of town and asking a complete stranger for help is not a great situation.
As for the Macan's actual battery location, it's hidden under the floor beneath the spare tire in a protected compartment. Those remote underhood posts are provided for good reason. And they're easy to locate and use.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing