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Old 05-10-2008, 12:32 AM   #1
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Why do a PPI?

Thinking of replacing my 97 with an 00 and was thinking of getting a PPI but my biggest question is why? I know with a PPI they do the regular checks, tires, brakes, rotors, leaks....etc., etc... but is there any way that they can check if the engine will go out within the next few thousands of miles..... Plus if you get a ppi and they give it a clean bill of health are they responsible if you have a catastrophic engine failure in a few months? Its just got me thinking reading about another members car going down right after a few weeks of getting a 60k service at the dealers.... I guess its just a hit and miss type of thing with the engine... We must have to pray to the boxster gods so that the engine doesn't die...
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Old 05-10-2008, 05:23 AM   #2
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Cool why PPI ?

well this is a really good question.. Id' say PPI is only one layer of protection for the things that you miss or your own technician's oversight?. A PPI is also suggested if your mechanical/cosmetic aptitude is not as high.. A PPI is no guarantee that the dealer's technician would also take his time and REALLY evaluate the true condition of the car..It's like anything else, you pay the dealer $250 or more and hope that they give you an honest assessment, and not just check off all in their PPI checklist.. They just would'nt care !
The thing with Porsches' are they all look good inside,and the paint job especially the metallic once are topnotch.. You have to trust your instincts and visually go through the car.. original paint/doors close and open nice.. no sign or trace of abuse etc.. before you even take it for a test drive..
If you have access to a lift, check the under carriage carefully.. evidence of leaks..bottom scrapes(showing previous owner's abuse) c.v boots..etc..
I had an experience with a Land Rover dealer in V.A selling an 03' S salesman claiming MINT only 23K , and made an appointment for PPI at a dealer for me.. instinct told me to bring it to a shop i know.. soon as we lifted the car up.. Rear Bumper repainted and some primer residues left. screws/bolts on the bottom been turned.. means just been repaired.. etc.. salesperson does'nt have a clue of the car he is selling.. just wants to make a sale..
Well the good side of this story is i finally found myself an 04' S got the history myself after personnally checking it out and test drive, and after about 2k, has been completely satisfied so far ... with no PPI done by the dealer!!
With due diligence and a bit of Luck,and of course buying the latest 986 or 987 you can afford, can at the end give you a rewarding Porsche experience!

Last edited by t2-bxtrs; 05-10-2008 at 05:28 AM. Reason: correct spelling
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Old 05-10-2008, 05:57 AM   #3
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There are no guarantees in life when buying a used car. The PPI is an invaluable tool to assist but it is only a tool. You need an expert eye and hand to do a Porsche PPI correctly.

That said, it is usually FAR superior to what any nornal car buyer can do on their own. A quality PPI, a long road test, service records, a car fax, these are all necessary if you want to properly understand what you are buying.

Specific to paint, the tool you need is a paint meter. Without it, your "eye" is simply not sufficient to pick up a repainted surface. There are too many good paint guys out there. It is that simple.

Having said all that, I know that many car buyers think they are so smart they don't need a PPI. I know because I have sold Porsches to many of them. I used to offer them a credit for a PPI at the local dealer.

4 out of 5 declined.

Go figure.

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Old 05-10-2008, 06:04 AM   #4
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I Agree with t2-bxtrs comments. I've never used a PPI in all the used cars I've purchased and have purchased many in my lifetime and have bought and sold 3 Porsches in the last 3 years. I've used my own experience. I've seen many PPI's done and have seen various methods done during a PPI dealers included. The 3 Porsche's I've sold all had a PPI done to them. Two were done by a Porsche dealer and one by a private Porsche specialist. The ones done by the dealer was all "Visual Inspection" and I wouldn't have paid that money for them to do that. The one done by the private Porsche specialist was complete and I wouldn't mind spending the money to have this done in that shop. His inspection included a compression check on the engine and a complete road test. The dealer did not do this to the other two cars.

I use a combination of my own judgement, Smog test and car fax (don't flame I'll explain).

A personal inspection will provide you a lot. Use your own car as an example. You can tell if a car has been in an accident. Residue will be visible near the door hinges, hood and trunk hinges. You can also see resprays just by focusing at the paint to see discolors or mismatched paint or oversprays.

A road test will give you the feel of the car while you drive and most of us should know if it fels right or not. if it doesn't feel right to you walk away. There's a reason it didn't feel right. Make sure the radio is off and not full blast while doing a road test. You want to be able to hear everyuthing as much as possible. Do turn on the AC. Drive it at freeway speeds and rev it as long as traffic permits. When done with the road test park it in a clean area. This is where you will see if there's any leaks on the ground. Once parked check under the car for leaks. After a 10-20 mile ride leaks will show if there is any. Most people should know where the transmission, Engine and drive shalfts are located. This is where you look. Any wetness is a leak and not a good sign.

Smog test most of us hate as an owner registering a car. As a buyer I use it to my advantage. Smog test results will show you what you missed during your inspection and road test. Pay attention to the results. If results are barely passing walk away you will have issues next time you do a smog test for registration. To me this is better than a PPI. Excellent smog results assures you that you have a excellent running engine and all eng components.

Car fax: Everyone has their own opinion. I use it verify mileage and service history and how many owners. Keep in mind there's a lot of self maintainers out there like I am. If a car was serviced by a major shop it will show how often it was serviced. More importantly is what was done last and when is the next service that needs attention. If service records don't show up ask for receipts if the seller was a self maintainer. To be honest I trust myself servicing my own car as long as the job is not too major. A major accident will show here if Insurance was involved. Carfax can be had for as little as $2.00. Yes I've done it many times. It's called craigslist.... The longest I waited for results was 1 hour and done it 5 times last year.

There are other areas I didn't cover but that's another chapter. :-)

Just my thought.
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Old 05-10-2008, 06:14 AM   #5
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PPI is only as good as the fellow doing it, like everything in life it's a gamble. You pay your money and take your chances.
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Old 05-10-2008, 06:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cas951
I Agree with t2-bxtrs comments. I've never used a PPI in all the used cars I've purchased and have purchased many in my lifetime and have bought and sold 3 Porsches in the last 3 years. I've used my own experience. I've seen many PPI's done and have seen various methods done during a PPI dealers included. The 3 Porsche's I've sold all had a PPI done to them. Two were done by a Porsche dealer and one by a private Porsche specialist. The ones done by the dealer was all "Visual Inspection" and I wouldn't have paid that money for them to do that. The one done by the private Porsche specialist was complete and I wouldn't mind spending the money to have this done in that shop. His inspection included a compression check on the engine and a complete road test. The dealer did not do this to the other two cars.

I use a combination of my own judgement, Smog test and car fax (don't flame I'll explain).

A personal inspection will provide you a lot. Use your own car as an example. You can tell if a car has been in an accident. Residue will be visible near the door hinges, hood and trunk hinges. You can also see resprays just by focusing at the paint to see discolors or mismatched paint or oversprays.

A road test will give you the feel of the car while you drive and most of us should know if it fels right or not. if it doesn't feel right to you walk away. There's a reason it didn't feel right. Make sure the radio is off and not full blast while doing a road test. You want to be able to hear everyuthing as much as possible. Do turn on the AC. Drive it at freeway speeds and rev it as long as traffic permits. When done with the road test park it in a clean area. This is where you will see if there's any leaks on the ground. Once parked check under the car for leaks. After a 10-20 mile ride leaks will show if there is any. Most people should know where the transmission, Engine and drive shalfts are located. This is where you look. Any wetness is a leak and not a good sign.

Smog test most of us hate as an owner registering a car. As a buyer I use it to my advantage. Smog test results will show you what you missed during your inspection and road test. Pay attention to the results. If results are barely passing walk away you will have issues next time you do a smog test for registration. To me this is better than a PPI. Excellent smog results assures you that you have a excellent running engine and all eng components.

Car fax: Everyone has their own opinion. I use it verify mileage and service history and how many owners. Keep in mind there's a lot of self maintainers out there like I am. If a car was serviced by a major shop it will show how often it was serviced. More importantly is what was done last and when is the next service that needs attention. If service records don't show up ask for receipts if the seller was a self maintainer. To be honest I trust myself servicing my own car as long as the job is not too major. A major accident will show here if Insurance was involved. Carfax can be had for as little as $2.00. Yes I've done it many times. It's called craigslist.... The longest I waited for results was 1 hour and done it 5 times last year.

There are other areas I didn't cover but that's another chapter. :-)

Just my thought.
Without the car on a lift, you will not be able to see if the car has been hit. You cannot see well repaired damage to a Porsche, not can you see repaired frame damage.

Without a paint meter, you cannot see paint repair of many good paint guys.

Without getting under a car, you cannot see oil leaks that are slow, such as the beginning of the RMS leak.

Etc. Etc.

Again, if you don't want to spend a couple hundred bucks on a large purchase, not an issue.

It is your money. You have been luck so far, and that is a good thing.

Re: Car Fax, I always run one. It is pretty good for mileage checking and title issues, although is clearly not perfect. On repairs and the like, it is useless.

Still, it is cheap information.

Specific to smog test, that costs $59 bucks here in CA and is requred to be done by the dealer before turning the car over to you. I don't know how this is done in other states.

I cannot agree that a smog test can be used to assess a car better than a PPI. The variables are too great. Who is doing the smog test, who is doing the PPI. What state are we talking about. Etc.

These are very different animals. What will the smog test tell you about the car's unibody frame?
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Old 05-10-2008, 07:44 AM   #7
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Getting another opinion is a good idea. When I bought mine, the dealer had "their" PPI but I got another one from "my" dealer. I viewed this as cheap third party verifications. I've noted it before that I also had a comp test and a DME download. The comp will tell you an up or down cylinder and overall health of the chambers and components related to the chambers, and a DME will tell you how many hits that unit has had in its lifetime. Especially valuable for 987 model units as it shows ignitions from 7300 to +9500. For 986 it shows hits from 7200 to +7800.

Even with all this information, there is definitely no guarantee that everything is ok. I brought my car in for some little issues recently and warranty confirmed 3 other components that required immediate replacement. The roadtests, visuals, magnets, etc. could not uncover these problems, only driving the car for a few k miles could.

A used car is a used car, caveat emptor!

I've also noted that 2 other dealers tried to sell me lemons that I was lucky enough to determine through roadtests, visuals, and questions. Oftentimes, salespeople will not be informed of specifics to prevent them from being in a position to misinform you as the buyer. The sales manager may know though, but they normally don't want to talk to you, possibly because of this reason, and the normal sales related reasons.

PPIs are useful, especially to the "non car guy", but even the car guy should consider this. But as I noted, its use is somewhat limited. Be careful, only you can look out for #1. Yes other gov't test are useful info also. The more independent sources you have , the better - for sure. CarFax useful too, and maybe one of your bodyman friends too.

Hope this helps you and others.

Cheers and good luck
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Old 05-10-2008, 08:34 AM   #8
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If you want a guarantee, buy a NEW car.

If you want to stack the deck in your favor when buying a Used car, add a PPI to the process.

It is not a guarantee, but it does help even the odds.

Consider how you'd feel if you bought used w/o a PPI and something tragic happens, you'll never know if a PPI would have caught it or not.

But, if you did get a PPI and something tragic happened, at least there's some consolation that you did all that you could to avoid it.
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Old 05-10-2008, 08:53 AM   #9
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In the end, this is a risk management problem.

Some folks will avoid the risk entirely, not buy any car. No repair issues there.

Some will buy a salvage title car without batting an eye.

Most will be in the middle somewhere. The normal distribution curve applies.

Risk profiling is fascinating work.

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Old 01-24-2014, 05:41 PM   #10
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I would HIGHLY recommend getting a pre-purchase inspection. Well worth the investment and a huge piece of mind. A couple hundred bucks saved me a ton when negotiating my deal on a Boxster. Even though the Porsche was in great shape, there were still plenty of issues only a talented and knowledgeable Porsche mechanic would have been able to pinpoint.

Cali Auto is just south of Atlanta and the closest shop to where the new Porsche corporate headquarters will be. They are the cleanest, most professional shop I know and have serviced my Boxster. They did my pre-purchase inspection and offer these services to out of state buyers considering cars for sale in Georgia, are the absolute best at replacing convertible tops (did mine), and are actually involved in racing Boxsters and building spec racing Boxsters as well!

Look them up if you are in or out of state - fantastic shop!!!

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Old 01-30-2014, 06:21 AM   #11
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I would first research the heck out of the car make and model you intend to buy. When buying a car like a Boxster its probably worth the investment if you are not familiar with the car and they may find something you overlooked. I bought my car sight unseen just pics over the internet. Cosmetically the car was better than average but mechanically NOT. I dont regret buying the car but if I knew the mechanical condition I probably would have used it to bargain down on the price more than I did. I am my own mechanic but if you are not and have to pay to fix the car I say its worth while so you know what you are getting into.
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Old 01-30-2014, 07:39 AM   #12
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I had a PPI done on a very nice looking, low milage, one owner car. Mechanic found coolant/oil mix. Did not even finish the PPI. 'Nuff said.
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