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Old 05-11-2006, 05:28 AM   #1
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Question On the fence about buying a Boxster

I'm in love with the car, but I'm really concerned with the maintenance costs to be honest. I simply can't afford to take the car to Porsche every time I need the oil changed...so my questions are:

- How hard is it to do the basic stuff (oil change, air filter, brake fluid/pads) yourself?

- If I do an oil change myself, is it going to take me all day? (I'm decently mechanically inclined)

There are some other possible cars on my list, but the Boxster is top for sure. I'm wondering if it's worth the headache over a car that's a lot easier to work with because of a conventional engine layout.

Thanks a lot for your help, I've learned a lot by reading all of your posts.

-Adam

Last edited by BentleyJava; 05-11-2006 at 05:31 AM. Reason: Typo in title
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Old 05-11-2006, 06:23 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BentleyJava
I'm in love with the car, but I'm really concerned with the maintenance costs to be honest. I simply can't afford to take the car to Porsche every time I need the oil changed...so my questions are:

- How hard is it to do the basic stuff (oil change, air filter, brake fluid/pads) yourself?

- If I do an oil change myself, is it going to take me all day? (I'm decently mechanically inclined)

There are some other possible cars on my list, but the Boxster is top for sure. I'm wondering if it's worth the headache over a car that's a lot easier to work with because of a conventional engine layout.

Thanks a lot for your help, I've learned a lot by reading all of your posts.

-Adam
\
Hi,

With a good Mechanical inclination, most annual and mileage-specific maintenance can be performed. But, Parts are ridiculously expensive, and the Car eats Tires like the Monster Who Devoured Cleveland - plan on replacement every 3rd or 4th year, sooner if you rack up avg. mileage, then perhaps even annually.

Mid-engined Cars are a true PITA to work on. I swore I'd never buy another after my Lotus Esprit, but then I drove the Boxster and figured I was already used to the physical torture and had developed the required double-jointedness and an appropriately broad vocabulary so it's really not all that bad, about the same as the Esprit actually.

You will need a low-clearance FloorJack and some specialty Jackstands, but you'll find them to be worth their weight in Gold. Some specialty tools for the Drain Pan(s) and Filter Cannister, a set of QuickWrenches, and a good Torque Wrench are also necessary kit.

But, make no mistake, these things are spendy to own. You might try catching a Tech Day at your local PCA Chapter and see for yourself before deciding. But, should you decide to proceed, a THOROUGH $300+ PPI is a MUST to avoid buying any issues along with the Car. Good Luck!...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99
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Old 05-11-2006, 06:29 AM   #3
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Jim is dead on.

Proceed with cautious enthusiasm.

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Old 05-11-2006, 08:10 AM   #4
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agreed; most maintenance projects on this car are really quite easy. it's the major stuff that can get you.
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Old 05-11-2006, 08:20 AM   #5
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Bentley, if you buy used and do your homework and get a car that has been cared for with a clean PPI, you'll love the car. Oil changes are indeed expensive, mostly due to the 9 quarts of synthetic used in the car, but it only has to be done once every 15k or once a year... do the math and it's almost the same price as a quarterly oil change in a passenger car at quick lube place (without a coupon, of course!)

I took my boxster out for a drive in town last night out of boredom and because the weather was compliant. Top down, stereo up, and up and down a couple of in-town twisty roads I know of that aren't busy at night.

I am continually amazed at the way the car handles, and even how it accelerates with my smallish 2.5 liter engine in it. The wonderful, balanced weight distribution has a lot to do with it I guess.

If you buy used, try to buy one from guys or gals like those on this forum who loved the car and put whatever money into it that was required to make and keep the car in top shape. You can't go wrong with someone else's baby!
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Old 05-11-2006, 07:34 PM   #6
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I'd have the oil changes done at a shop (doesn't have to be a Porsche dealer), and you don't need them all that often. Jiffy Lube says every 5000 miles or whatever, but that's because they sell oil changes! Porsche is about as uber-conservative as can be, and even they say 12k, don't they?

You would probably be surprised at all the stuff you can do by yourself. Lately I've enjoyed doing many of the projects myself, and have learned more through watching others do it also.

It's fairly maintenance free, actually.
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Old 05-12-2006, 02:59 AM   #7
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buy one still under a warranty
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Old 05-12-2006, 05:08 AM   #8
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Everypart of the car from a maintance point of view is pretty easy to get at. Brakes are just as easy as any other car, oil changes easily and you can get at most of the major stuff with no problems. Just dont think your gonna swap an engine or replace a clutch in an afternoon.

While you can do that at home, its just more tedious working on a mid engine car. I put an intake on mine the other day, that intake took me about 4 hours to install and trashed my arms all to hell. Seriously looked like I got in a fight with a cat or something. I'm also lucky I can contort my hands backwards and upside down or it just would not have been possible. Either way, it still wasn't that bad but I have a fairly good mechanical background with race cars and racing my own cars and building them for customers so that generally helps.

A good manual will get you 90% of the way honestly. The rest is all B/S/T...
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Old 05-12-2006, 07:59 AM   #9
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As other posts have said you CAN work on the car yourself, and you CAN take it to a mechanic other than a Porsche dealer (though sometimes that might cost as much as going to a Porsche dealer). There is no question about it though, parts are expensive. For example, the center cap on 2 of my wheels fell/popped off. Replacing them ended up costing me over $50, for 2 little pieces of plastic! Something that I would never have imagined having to buy.

In the end it really boils down to how price sensitive you are. If money is REALLY tight, the joy of owning the car will be outweighed by your anger/worrying over the cost. In that case you would be better off with an old Miata. Most of the fun for almost no cost. However if you feel you could swing an extra few hundred in savings ($500?) somewhere for eventual repairs, then go for the Boxster. Use that savings to cover the "extra" it costs for the repair of the Boxster.
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Old 05-12-2006, 07:13 PM   #10
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I've had my Box now for 2 years. It hasn't been any more expensive to maintain than any other car I've owned. I replaced the original tires recently, they had about 33,000 on them and they weren't balogna skins either. Oil changes are easy enough to do. Haven't had any issues with mine either. Very reliable and fun (so far). I average 10k per year on mine.

It is easier to perform routine maintenance on my Box than my '66 T-bird.
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Old 05-12-2006, 10:49 PM   #11
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Having recently acquired my own Boxster (2002 S), and having it be my one and only car, I too am a bit concerned about the maintenance costs of owning a car like this. But you really have to determine your own threshold of pain with cost. The cold hard truth is that if something breaks, it will most likely be expensive to fix. But from what I hear from people, Boxsters are reliable cars (espeically later models that have many of the bugs worked out) if they are maintained properly.

For peace of mind I will be getting an extended warranty soon (I still have a few months of the factory warranty left). Many people here are very pleased with WarrantyDirect. For about $3000 (less if you don't mind a deductible) you can get a full bumper-to-bumper warranty for 4 years and 75k miles (and I mean full: they cover anything on your car except "consumibles" such as brake pads). There's also a wealth of information on these forums and on the web about how to care for and service your car yourself.

You also have to evaulate your own driving habits. Are you a high-milage driver? Are they city miles with lots of stop and go, or do you tend to put easy cruising miles on your cars? Are you a track-whore (fess up now! ) ? Do you love to rev the engine and drop the clutch at every stoplight or light up your tires whenever you get the chance? Do you absolutely require the best tires with the most grip or can you deal with slightly lower performance for tires that might actually last you more than 5k miles? (Hey I know an autocross nut that buys 5-6 sets of tires a YEAR)

If you're like me, who drives about 5-6 miles to work every day and a bit on the weekends, doesn't push my car hard, drives 10k miles or less in a year, and never races it, then you will probably be fine if you get a good vehicle. If you're an agressive driver with a lead foot and a love for mashing the brakes then you'll most likely have a higher risk of needing extra maintenance costs.

Porsche tends to make vehicles to be driven and require little maintenance. What other cars only need the oil changed every 15k miles or 2 years? Even my 01 Honda Prelude (which used full synthetic oil) needed an oil change at least every 7500 miles or 6 months.
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Old 05-13-2006, 04:26 AM   #12
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Vehicle cost and maintenance cost have usually been a tandem ... high original cost = high maintenance cost. Witness Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Mercedes, Ferrari, even Cadillac.
It has only been with the advent of the high reliability premium brands such as the Lexus that this has been in part turned on it's head, and this due principally to the extremely rigid quality built into the "Japanese" manufacturing methods.
The Porsche is not a particularly high priced car, especially the Box. I wouldn't be surprised if most of us on this forum paid less than $30k for our cars (used, obviously), not a large amount in a world where a pickup truck can easily cost more than that.
A Boxster owner can defer maintenance like any other car, and, like any other car, pass the ensuing chickens on to roost in somebody else's barnyard.
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Old 05-13-2006, 05:28 AM   #13
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Then your car will end up with the Avian flu!
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Old 05-13-2006, 08:44 AM   #14
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I have gotten all my maint. tips off this forum and done them all myself. Its just a matter of getting familiar with the car and you will be fine.
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Old 05-13-2006, 11:06 AM   #15
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It is time to fall off the fence...on the Boxster ownership side! Woohoo...I love Box (no pun intended, or is there????).
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Old 05-13-2006, 03:33 PM   #16
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LOL. Randell, once again you helped me out. I was getting frustrated with searching for answers on various maintenance. After seeing you write BENTLEY (as intended towards the original poster), I started to look for manuals. Boxster service manual by BENTLEY is, so far is the best reviewed. I'm buying one now.


Bentely, as for the boxster? Jim is indeed "dead on." I personally fell in love with the looks of these cars. Though problems do occur, they are usually very common problems, and everyone here and other forums are here to help. The cost will seem very expensive, but, trust me, you'll get used to seeing the sky high costs. However, once you do a quick job yourself, you'll see how much money you saved. I personally think that this car was built to be worked on because the organization of the engine is very clean (the fact that it's a mid engine is the only minor problem, but not a big deal).

The guy I bought my boxster from recently bought a 911. He says that he'd rather have the box because of the convertible top and the looks of the back tail lights. I get many complements on my car too.
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