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Old 07-03-2012, 09:13 PM   #1
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Question…Boxster S with 329,000 miles

Hi,

I bought my 2000 Boxster S new in March, 2001 and now have 329,000 miles on it. For the first 255,000 miles I had it serviced at Porsche recommended schedules at two different local Porsche dealerships. By the time she was ready for her next 30K at 270,000 miles I had relocated. I was fortunate to find a local shop that specialized in Porsches and BMWs, and their Porsche mechanic really seemed to know what he was doing. I have used them for 3 years, but a problem developed when I dropped her off for a 30K last week.

I called first to schedule an appointment, and found out that the person that had always done the work on my Boxster was no longer there. I asked his replacement a few questions to see if I was comfortable with him doing the work; among other things, he stated he had been working on Porsches since 1984. So I dropped it off with specific instructions for a 30K maintenance.

I received a call from him 15 minutes before I was supposed to pick it up; he was requesting extra time. In the ensuing discussion it came to light that he wasn’t planning on replacing the spark plugs. I told him I was surprised at that, since replacing the plugs was part of a 30K; furthermore I was surprised that if he had been working on Porsches since 1984 he didn’t know that. He said that on newer Porsches the recommended replacement is at 60K. I stated that I had always had them done at 30K and wanted it done that way since that is what my owner’s manual stated.

The more I thought about it, the more I become convinced that I didn’t want this guy working on my baby. I called back and told him that since he didn’t know plug replacement should be part of a 30K, I no longer had confidence in him and didn’t want him proceeding any further. I picked it up and paid for an oil change.

Before leaving I had a polite discussion with the owner of the shop telling him why I would not be doing business there in the future. The owner of the shop was polite, listened without interruption, and then proceeded to tell me their policy was to replace what needed to be replaced, and not replace what didn’t need to be replaced (and not charge for it), regardless of the published maintenance schedule. When I pointed out that I had two previous 30K maintenances done there with the old tech, and each of those included the plug changes without me having to specify it, he proceeded to disparage the old tech and said that is the reason he was no longer there. The discussion was civil and ended with us agreeing to disagree.

When I got in the car, the technician I had initially spoken with had left on the seat a printout from ALLDATA Collision showing plug changes as part of a 60K and not a 30K. This means the shop owner was taking a different position than the technician…the tech was saying it wasn’t part of a 60K, whereas the shop owner was saying the maintenance schedule is secondary to their inspection of the vehicle. So my question to you all is: Were either the shop owner or tech correct in what they were saying? I really don’t want to go through the process of finding a new qualified tech if I don’t have to.

Thanks…FloridaBill

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Old 07-03-2012, 09:42 PM   #2
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Changing spark plugs on a Boxster is easy; I would be very surprised if a shop refused to replace them at your request. I am guessing your Boxster as a daily driver so spark plug replacement is not as critical as someone that drives theirs on the track. My Boxster is a daily driver and I have gone well past 60k miles on a set of plugs with no issues. Currently I have 232,000 miles on my 986 and have changed the plugs three times in the last 200,000 miles. Have you thought about replacing the plugs yourself?
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Old 07-04-2012, 02:56 AM   #3
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329,000??? Crap, that's what, 8 IMSB preventive changes?
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Old 07-04-2012, 04:31 AM   #4
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Other that the maintenance, what have you had done?

329,000 miles!!! That is an awesome testimony to the car.
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Old 07-04-2012, 04:34 AM   #5
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329k miles! congrats...

as to your original point, i would no longer go there. they obviously don't care what you think anymore. whether it's the technician or the garage owner doesn't matter. if i walked in to a shop and asked for a service that someone considered "needless", i would expect some blowback sure, but in the end i would expect it done and done right.

in this case, even if everyone at the shop agreed the plugs did not need it, the owner should have said something along the lines of "since it's not necessary and not part of the standard 30k mile service, we can do it, but i will have to charge a little for it. or you can wait until the 60k mile service and it will be part of the price." not "you're crazy i know better than you. i won't do it."

i have been told a few times that something wasn't exactly necessary and the shop would prefer to not do it, but that it's my money and my car and they'd do it for me if i wanted.
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Old 07-04-2012, 04:47 AM   #6
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The shop should do ALL the services that you are willing to pay for (in this case, your 30K scheduled services), whether it needs to be done, or not. Though the shop owner was trying to save you some money, he was wrong for not doing what you had requested. But,.........the technician may be right.

I have a 2007 Boxster S, and I think the spark plug changes are at 60K (I may have misread my owner's manual and it may be different for a 986). Either way, my sparkplugs are getting changed at 60K. I am at 58K miles and will have my sparkplugs changed in another 2K.

Bottom line: As paying customer, you should be entitled to have everything done that you want done.
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Old 07-04-2012, 05:24 AM   #7
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it is confusing. the schedule i have shows that at the major maintenance the spark plugs should be replaced:
"Major maintenance after: 30,000, 60,000, 90,000, 120,000 miles etc."

but under additional maintenance it says to replace spark plugs every 60k miles or 4 years...

i replaced mine at 60k
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:21 AM   #8
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Wow. Immense mileage. Props!

Is that on the original engine, the original IMS bearing etc?
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:32 AM   #9
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Wow. Immense mileage. Props!

Is that on the original engine, the original IMS bearing etc?
...and also, what are your oil change intervals? Surely not the 15K recommended.

P.S. Rock and Roll on the 300,000 + miles, damn!

P.S.S. If you take a picture of that odometer with 329K on it, I think we'll all give you a standing ovation.
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:59 AM   #10
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I too offer congrats on the mileage.

I think this was a communication issue and nothing more. There is no good reason to change the plugs at 30K intervals just for the sake of changing them. Did your Porsche come with scheduled mx? Was Porsche changing as part of service plan at 30K, or was it on your dime? It would seem to me unlikely that Porsch would pay for a needless service, but I could be wrong. It is an absolute waste to change a plug before its time. Moreover, spark plugs are easy to inspect and electrode erosion is easy to assess. Some mechanics are conservationist...not from an eco standpoint, but from a physical/common sense standpoint. They don't like to fix or replace things that are functioning perfectly well... Fortunately or unfortunately many owners feel good about spending $$$ on their cars/motorcycles/airplanes etc. The less mechanically inclined they are, the more they seem afflicted with this compulsion.

So the scenario is this:

Old salt who's been working on Porsches for nearly 30 yrs.

vs.

Long time owner of a car that has gotten 320K out of his car.

Both think that they have done something extraordinary (and they both have, one with his mechanical experience and one with his ownership experience).

However, technically and physically speaking, your new ex-mechanic is absolutely correct. You were asking him to perform and charge you for a needless service. However, I don't think he went the right way about trying to educate you, and I sense that the fact that you've gotten 320K out of the car might make you a bit resistant to an education.

Perhaps you should seek out a Porsche dealer in your region, they would be happy to agree with you and charge you accordingly.

In terms of "life limited services", have you ever questioned why recommended oil service intervals doubled and even tripled in some cases when mfg started including scheduled maintenance???


BTW, I have 210K on my 98 Lexus GS400 it's on it's second set of plugs and it's third timing belt. Oil gets changed every 12K whether it needs it or not! Still runs like a champ on its original O2sensors and Cats.
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Old 07-04-2012, 07:50 AM   #11
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Congratulations to both of you FloridaBill and Jager for having so many fun miles with our great car!

I'd be very glad that a veteran Porsche mechanic would tell me when I didn't need work...sounds thrustworthy... but like others have said if you want it done anyway it's your money !!
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Old 07-04-2012, 08:08 AM   #12
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My mouth dropped. Congradulations... there is hope afterall.
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Old 07-04-2012, 08:29 AM   #13
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porsche also says change the oil at 15k, that the ims and water pump are lifetiime service items, you don't need to ever change the coolant, etc. the porsche recommended service schedule is a minimum standard that should be exceeded, not met. if you want to change you plugs every 30k then go for it, your car won't be any worse off, especially noting that while the lifetime of the actual plugs may exceed 30k, that of the associated plastic tubes and o-rings may not (mine had cracked and were leaking at less than the recommended service interval). inspecting the plugs is a great way to get an indicator of how things are going inside the engine and, for the cost of a set of plugs vs labour, once they are out for inspection you may as well put new ones in.
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Old 07-04-2012, 09:04 AM   #14
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IMO the main takeaway from this experience is to be extra wary of Porsche Mechanics with more than 16 years experience. Just because they have been working on aircooled Porsches & VW's for 30 years doesn't mean they know anything about Boxsters & their unique engines. Early Boxsters sparkplugs should be changed every 30,K miles & that changed to 60K for the later models probably due to the improved fuel injectors & O2 sensors. Also worthy of notice is the high mileage acheived by this Boxster & in 2nd place Mac's at 256K, both original owners, both maintained properly at authorized Porsche dealers into the 200k mile range. This gives credibility to Porsche's criteria for "goodwill" out of warranty repairs.
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Old 07-04-2012, 09:56 AM   #15
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If you the customer want your plugs changed every 30K miles, then u should get it. The reason your Boxster has gone so many miles is because either 1) you are lucky 2) you are meticulous about your servicing or a combo of the two. I suspect the latter. Go to a shop that gives u what u want!
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Old 07-04-2012, 12:38 PM   #16
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If you the customer want your plugs changed every 30K miles, then u should get it. The reason your Boxster has gone so many miles is because either 1) you are lucky 2) you are meticulous about your servicing or a combo of the two. I suspect the latter. Go to a shop that gives u what u want!
I'll throw out a 3rd hypothesis that has been born from my experience with aircraft engines (many similarities with Porsche power plants)...the OPs car was run 25K or more per year.

Machines that are run often tend to give outstanding service life while those that are used less often are more prone to malfunction, corrosion, accessory failure, leaks etc...

I doubt the mechanic refused to change the plugs...what's more likely is he looked at them and decided they were serviceable and informed the customer.

If the customer is more concerned about what a piece of paper says over what an experienced tech says, then the tech should just do it, logic be damned!

Last edited by shadrach74; 07-04-2012 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 07-04-2012, 12:48 PM   #17
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IMO the main takeaway from this experience is to be extra wary of Porsche Mechanics with more than 16 years experience. Just because they have been working on aircooled Porsches & VW's for 30 years doesn't mean they know anything about Boxsters & their unique engines. Early Boxsters sparkplugs should be changed every 30,K miles & that changed to 60K for the later models probably due to the improved fuel injectors & O2 sensors. Also worthy of notice is the high mileage acheived by this Boxster & in 2nd place Mac's at 256K, both original owners, both maintained properly at authorized Porsche dealers into the 200k mile range. This gives credibility to Porsche's criteria for "goodwill" out of warranty repairs.
Could you elaborate on this a bit. I'm new to Porsches but have a lot of experience with many types of machines, cars, motorcycles etc... I'm curious about the improvements to the FI and the failure mode of the plugs and O2 sensors in the early Boxsters. Also, how is the combustion event in a water cooled motor different then the combustion event in an air cooled motor?
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Old 07-04-2012, 02:07 PM   #18
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Uh...do you think we're ever going to hear from FloridaBill again?? Or is he gonna be a one-post-and-done kinda guy?
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Old 07-04-2012, 03:57 PM   #19
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The tech should know the service intervals and the shop should do whatever work the customer wants performed (needed or not).

In regards to the mileage, there are quite a new Boxsters with more than 200,000 miles on the original engine and IMSB. They just don't post in online forums.

And I'm sure that FloridaBill will be back, its a holiday and most people are busy with other plans.
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Old 07-04-2012, 04:17 PM   #20
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Uh...do you think we're ever going to hear from FloridaBill again?? Or is he gonna be a one-post-and-done kinda guy?
maybe it was his first visit to the forum, and he's now too busy searching to figure out what the hell an IMSB is...

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