Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used Porsche 911 sports?
Despite being so easy to live with, Porsche 911s are still specialist pieces of machinery that require expert maintenance, so look for a car with a full service history from either a Porsche main dealer or a well respected specialist. If you’re buying the car privately or from a dealer that isn’t a Porsche specialist a few hundred pounds spent on a professional inspection is a wise idea, as an expert in the marque will be able to look for problems and quickly weed out any potentially troublesome cars.
The roof system itself should open and close smoothly in around 20 seconds, and be in good condition. Also check the carpets are dry. If not suspect blocked drainage holes inside the wheel arches as the likely cause. It’s good practice to clean these out every six months or so to avoid problems, as water ingress could also damage electronic systems in the car.
Rust isn’t an issue with 911s, but engine abuse can be. A decent specialist will be able to check how many times the engine has been over-revved, as well as trace the cause of any misfires.
What are the most common problems with a used Porsche 911 sports?
There are a few examples of failed engines with Gen 1 997s, which can result in a bill of £8,000 or more for a new unit. Warning signs include a blackened exhaust tip or a ticking sound at idle, so look out for these when viewing a car. Gen 2 cars with the direct injection engines are proving to be extremely reliable, as is the 911 Turbo.
With all 997s including Turbos it’s important to check the condition of the radiators and air-conditioning condensers behind the front bumper, because they are vulnerable to damage and costly to replace at about £600.
You might find a 997 Turbo is fitted with carbon ceramic brakes, signified by yellow brake calipers. These are durable and extremely resistant to fade, but also hugely expensive to replace (as in several thousand pounds), so don’t be alarmed if a car that had them from new has been switched to conventional brakes with red calipers. The steel discs too can corrode on the inside, particularly if a car isn’t regularly driven, so ask a specialist or inspector to check this for you.
Is a used Porsche 911 sports reliable?
For a car of its performance and pedigree the 911 Cabriolet is proving to be reliable, particularly in Gen 2 guise with its direct injection engines, or as a Gen 1 or Gen 2 Turbo. That’s not to say that faults can’t emerge, however, and it is important to understand that costs for parts and labour can be high due to the car’s specialist nature.
In terms of the brand, Porsche itself 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.