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Q: What is a Car Trunk?

December 17, 2013 12:53 PM

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Typically, a car trunk is the primary storage area for cargo or luggage in a sedan, coupe or convertible. The word "trunk" is used primarily in North America, while the word "boot" is often used in other English-speaking countries. Prior to the introduction of automobiles, the boot was a compartment that was built into a horse-drawn carriage. It was usually used as a seating area for the coachman. Later, it was used for storage purposes.

The car trunk is typically located in the rear of the car in most models. In some vehicles in which the engine is located in the middle or the rear of the vehicle, the trunk is located at the front. In some models, there have been two trunk compartments.

Technically, the load space in a vehicle can be classified as "closed" or "open." An open -- but secure -- load space is found in SUVs, minivans and station wagons. In a truck, the open storage space is typically located in the unsecured bed of the truck and there is no true trunk available. However, some trucks may be outfitted with a covered lid to keep the bed area secure. A closed car trunk features a deck lid. This type of cargo space is separated from the passenger seating area.

In vehicles that feature an open cargo compartment, there may be guards or grids present to help retain any loose items in the event of a collision. Such barrier nets can also help to create a partition between the cargo and a passenger space that is otherwise unprotected. Barrier nets may be attached directly to the structure of the vehicle. The advantage of a barrier net in the cargo area is that when it is not in use, you can roll it up and store it away so that it takes up less space. Guards can also be customized for certain vehicles and provide a tighter fit for the cargo area.

While a car trunk is commonly used for transporting luggage, it can also be used to carry a variety of other components. Typical components might include emergency supplies, a spare tire, onboard tool kit, lug wrench and jack, fuse boxes, and electronics for video and sound systems. The cargo area can also include additional folding seating or 3rd-row seating, particularly in an SUV or minivan.

When you shop for a new or used vehicle, consider the utility of its trunk. If you need to occasionally haul larger loads or keep necessary items in the vehicle at all times, a small trunk could be inadequate.

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