Cars Simplified: Everything Automotive Explained

The Trunk (US)/Boot (Europe)

The trunk (in the United States) or boot (in Europe) is a space within the vehicle which can be used to store items. The trunk lid is part of the body and is often where an optional wing or spoiler is mounted to the vehicle.

Many trunk lids are equipped with lift supports, so when they are opened, they remain open, allowing people to load or unload without having to hold the lid up, or prop it up with a metal rod which could get in the way or lost. Some contain the center brake light that would otherwise be mounted behind the rear window. Some modern high end vehicles will even have a trunk that can be opened and closed with the press of a button.

Most trunks in modern vehicles have an emergency handle on the inside, which would allow anyone trapped inside to open the lid. This latch is built to override the lock, and often has glow-in-the-dark plastic or paint on it so that it has a better chance of being seen if someone becomes trapped inside.

Is a Rear Hatch a Trunk?

In the example of a hatchback, SUV, or van, is the rear access considered a trunk? A trunk part of a contained space with no noteworthy access for human occupants. In a hatchback, SUV, or van, the rear access can be used to get to a seat. A trunk tends to be its own compartment, and while it can sometimes be accessed from the cabin of the car, it's not meant to be used as a way in and out of the vehicle.

Trunk Name Origin

Original car trunks were actually just travel boxes that were also called trunks. These original car trunks were removable and typically not even specific to the vehicle. Someone could say "get the cargo out of the trunk" and that would be telling someone where the cargo is stored away regardless of the box being attached to the car or not. As the trunk became integrated into the vehicle design, the name stuck around.

How to Replace a Trunk Light Switch

In this video by Cars Simplified, shows how to replace a trunk light switch for vehicles with or without an alarm. This video was published October 14th, 2017.