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Old 05-20-2006, 04:37 PM   #1
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Talk to me about maintenance costs

My first post here although I've been lurking for a few weeks. I'm a single male making a good salary looking to buy a new "toy" in the next 6-12 months. At this point, the cars I'm considering are a Boxster, an Elise, an S2000 or at the low end, an NC Miata. While I love the looks and performance of the Elise, the interior is just too sparse for my tastes. I'm a former Miata owner and while the power performance obviously isn't there, it can be a lot more fun to drive a slow car fast than it is to drive a fast car slow and the handling is great. Plus, they are built like tanks and the maintenance costs are low. The S2000 is an interesting intermediate consideration but when I see one on the streets it just doesn't do anything for me. On the other hand, I've lusted about owning a Porsche since about 8th grade!

So, my dilemna is that while I can afford a Boxster, is it something I want to spend my discretionary income on when I also fully enjoy travel, good restaurants, etc.? I've read a lot about the maintenance costs being high for a Boxster but I haven't seen any real figures yet. I also hate mechanical work, whether it be a lawn mower or a sports car so I'm not interested in saving money by learning to do it myself (sorry, I love driving but getting under the hood just isn't my thing). Tires last 15k or so. What does replacing them cost? Oil changes are 10-15k. What do they cost? What are the costs of the recommended scheduled maintenance? What else should I consider?

Being a former Miata owner, one thing I appreciated was the phenomenal help and input that was available from other enthusiasts on miata.net. This forum seems to be the same so I'm happy about that.

Thanks.

Doug
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Old 05-21-2006, 08:35 AM   #2
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well, a couple of thoughts.

the elise is a fantastic car, but it's ONLY a toy. spartan and brute interior; not much of a touring car. it will be hard to get a lady to take repeated mountan trips with you; girls will hate it in the long run and my guess is that unless you get serious track time, so will you.

the S2000 is also a fantastic car but also very spartan. the interior is all business as is the ride. they SCREAM when wide open, but are not nearly as tractable around town as a boxster. i'm not knocking this car, on the contrary i LOVE it. it's missing something, though. it's communicative, but it's a muted communication. maintenance will be far better than either of the other two cars; cost of ownership will be far less than the other two cars.

all of us here will be biased toward the boxster. it's rewarding, comfortable, quick, lively and very communicative. they require a bit of preventative maintenance, but nothing horrible. they really come alive on the track; they need little preparation for a hard day of running. it grows on you every day you drive it. i've had mine for years and i still smile when i get in every morning. i bought it as a 'toy' but wound up never driving my other car (G35, go figure). never regretted my choice.
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Old 05-21-2006, 09:06 AM   #3
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Tires: Cost is between $325 to $1500 a set depending on what you decide to buy. Mid range is probably $600.

Oil Changes: Dealerships can charge huge sums like $265, but if you buy the 9 quarts of oil it requires and the filter and crush ring, then take it to a quick lube place, you can probably get out for under a hundred bucks or thereabouts.

Other maintenance: Repairs can get expensive, so I recommend you get one with some factory warranty left on it so this will be taken care of if you buy used. A CPO Porsche isn't a bad buy in my book because they'll keep it on the road until it has 100k on it or X years (can't remember what the years are on top of the original warranty).

Drive all the cars you've mentioned and I think you'll discover the Boxster is in a league of its own, one worth owning and maintaining. Amazing in corners and the most fun one can have with his clothes on.
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Old 05-21-2006, 10:11 AM   #4
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One thing you might want to consider is your location. Since you aren't inclined towards mechanical repairs or maintenance, you'll need a Porsche dealer or mechanic in your area. This isn't a vehicle you take to Jiffy-Lube or your neighbor.

I noticed you listed Fargo as your city. Not being familiar with Fargo, is there a Porsche dealer or Porsche certified mechanic there? If not, you might have some long drives ahead of you to get it serviced. My wife knew a couple from Bottineau with a Porche who actually enjoyed taking that 2 hour drive to get an oil change - but is that you?

As to the Elise, that's basically a track car you can drive on the streets. It would probably be a fun 2nd toy - but not one you'd want to spend a whole lot of time in. My comments regarding service would doubly apply to a Lotus....

The Miata and S2000 are both good vehicles. Neither one gets my blood going - but to each their own.

No one can tell you whether to spend your discretionary income on a Porsche. Plus, some incomes are more discretionary than others....
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Old 05-21-2006, 12:18 PM   #5
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Jump,

We just had the 30k service done on our '04. The cost was right at $1k plus another 1k for a set of tires. (I also had a 10% discount which reduced the charge by $224., I paid $2,024, but I also had a 4 wheel alignment done).

When we had the first service done, at 15k, it cost just under $1k.

We were told that the 26k miles we had on our tires was execptional in that most rear tires get replaced at 6 - 12 k, and the fronts 10 - 15k. Depending on the wheels, the tires will be a couple hundred either side of $1k for a set. It is probably 60/40 (rear/front) in cost differnce if you replace them seperately.

I'm not that familiar with the Elise but as others have said, the other two don't do much for me either.

The MX-5 (Miata) is nice but is usually thought of as a little limp wristed comparied to the Boxster. There are a few Monster Miatas out there with a 5.0 Ford engine in them that can put a grin on when you drive it.

I have noticed that the S2000 has a quite harsh ride. We were next to one on a freeway, at about 70mph, going over an overpass. When we hit the expansion jounts the S2000 driver looked like he actually came off the seat as the car bounced over the road imperfection, we felt it but nothing like him.

I also read that some testers from a national car magazine (I can't remember which one) thought that the S2000 got a little boring after a while because the revs had to be kept really high, over 8k, to get any thrill out of the car.

I've never driven any of the three alternatives you mentined. We did drive a BMW Z-4 and an Audi TT Roadster when we decided on the Boxster.

We considered several aspects of how the cars compaired and found that to us the service interval and lugage space were among the things we liked better than the others we did drive. (We had an RX-7 and didn't want the MX-5 as it would feel like going down in status, plus we didn't want another Japanese car.)

So, you have to decide how you want to spend your money. Get the one that fits best with your desired image, and be happy with it regardless.

To sum up, as in "Risky Business, "THERE IS NOTHING LIKE A PORSCHE", or was it "PORSCHE, THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE"? Which ever, you do make a statement when you arrive in a Porsche.
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Old 05-21-2006, 01:34 PM   #6
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Richard Kwei (co-owner of this site) has a modded, turbo Miata. I think he would hammer most Boxsters, at least from the feel of driving the car.

Fun car, cheap too!
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Old 05-22-2006, 03:08 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the replies. Exactly the kind of information I was looking. Denverpete, I'm actually looking to relocate in the next few months and purchasing a Boxster would be dependent on that move. I don't think I could justify the costs of a Boxster only to have it sit in the garage 5 months a year.
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