Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used Porsche 911 coupe?
You will see privately advertised cars at what look like attractive prices, but it’s worth bearing in mind that the 911 is a specialist vehicle that can hide potentially expensive problems. As such a professional inspection (by a Porsche expert) is worth the few hundred pounds it costs if you’re buying privately, or alternatively look for a car from a well regarded specialist.
One of the things either will check is if the engine has been over-revved (via plugging a cable into the onboard diagnostics), giving an indication of how hard the car has been driven and potential problems this might cause.
They will also be able to tell you if a misfiring engine is simply the result of faulty coil packs (a relatively cheap fix), or something more serious.
Rust isn’t an issue on 997s, so if you see any it’s most likely a sign of a poor accident repair. Don’t be too alarmed if the bumper has been resprayed though, as owners tend to do this to repair damage from stone chips.
Also check the tread across the entirety of the tyre as they can wear more heavily on their inside edges. With decent replacement tyres costing about £200 each, you don’t want to be caught out.
What are the most common problems with a used Porsche 911 coupe?
Engine failure isn’t unheard of with Gen 1 997s, although equally nor is it as common as made out on some internet forums. Warning signs include a blackened exhaust tip on the left exhausts only, as well as a ticking sound from the engine at idle. If you spot either of these things walk away as a new engine will cost in the region of £8000.
Gen 2 cars didn’t suffer from the same problems and are proving to be very robust if correctly maintained. All 997s though can suffer from damaged radiators and air-conditioning condensers due to their location behind front bumper where they can become blocked with debris. They cost about £600 to replace, so it’s worth checking their condition and testing the air-conditioning blows good and cold.
Brake discs can corrode on the inside if a car isn’t used regularly. This is obviously hard to spot, so again it’s worth arranging for an independent specialist to inspect the car if you’re not sure.
Is a used Porsche 911 coupe reliable?
Porsche finished 15th of the 32 manufacturers included in this year’s What Car? Reliability Survey, putting it behind Audi but ahead of BMW and Jaguar. As far as the 997 goes, the inevitably high cost of repairs for what is after all a specialist vehicle are always going to count against it in reliability surveys. That’s why it’s so important to buy a good example that’s been properly maintained – and to not cut corners when work needs doing.