The Porsche Boxster is an entry-level 2-seater sports car made for those who want to enjoy a true Porsche driving experience without paying 911 money. Moreover, some people actually prefer the Boxster lineup over the 911 lineup because the 911 has grown way too much in the last few decades.
If you pair that with a center-mid-mounted 6-cylinder engine and a short wheelbase, you can even say that some Boxster/Cayman models are even more exhilarating to drive than a 911. As far as reliability is concerned, the Boxster seems to have had a relatively up and down experience with some models doing a lot worse than others.
The first-gen 986 Porsche Boxster is the worst when it comes to reliability while all the later generations are a lot better. Either way, the most common severe issues that could potentially plague the Boxster model you are after are PDK issues, oil leaks, IMS bearing issues, overheating, timing chain issues.
All in all, the newer Boxster models are significantly more dependable, but also need constant maintenance in order to last a long time. The Boxster is a sports car which means that running costs are comparably higher, but so it’s the excitement and thrill of driving one.
Porsche Boxster – PDK issues
The Porsche PDK is one of the most advanced dual-clutch transmissions on the planet, but it is not free of faults. If you notice your Boxster hesitantly changing gears or doing so roughly, especially if accompanied with transmission warning lights, chances are that your PDK is starting to act up. The most common PDK issues are associated with the hydraulic and electronically controlled clutch section.
If the PDK you are looking at starts causing issues and can not be repaired, you will have to replace it. Replacing a PDK usually costs thousands of dollars and is the second most expensive replacement part except for the engine itself. As such, be sure to check the PDK thoroughly.
Porsche Boxster – Oil leaks
The most common issues Boxster models tend to experience are the variety of oil leaks that are typically located on either the rear main seal, valve covers, spark plug seals, or oil cooler seals. Some of these like the most common one, the rear main seal can even destroy a manual gearbox altogether.
Replacing this seal in a manual car sometimes requires you to take out the entire transmission which is why these can be so expensive. All in all, be sure to check all of these places for leaks as they are relatively common on all Boxster generations.
Porsche Boxster – IMS bearing issues
The IMS bearing issue is one of the most talked-about Porsche 986 and 987 models, so much so that the cars that had an IMS bearing retrofit now hold a significantly higher value on the used car market while the ones that still sport the original are a lot cheaper.
The fact of the matter is that the IMS bearing is indeed likely to fail eventually and when it does, it can wreak havoc. As such, be sure to check a 986 and a 987 Boxster if they still come with an original IMS bearing, if they do, you should look for one that has a comparable newer one.
Porsche Boxster – Overheating issues
One of the most difficult Porsche Boxster problems is cracked cylinder liners which are buried deep within the engine and are known to consume engine coolant like nobody’s business. The issue here is that these issues tend to happen only after the car has been running for a while which means that it is extremely hard to diagnose.
This is especially the case because you need to disassemble the engine to make sure that the liners are indeed the issue. This means that fixing the liners requires somewhat of an engine rebuild which costs a lot of money.
Porsche Boxster – Timing chain issues
Older Porsche Boxster models are also known to experience severe engine timing issues that could potentially destroy the engine if not taken care of in due time. If you experience a check engine light under acceleration, chances are that your timing system is off and it needs replacement.
Porsche has designed these engines to be compact and tightly packed which means that you need to completely remove the engine out of the car to replace the timing system which is an extremely expensive job.
Which Porsche Boxster generation should I go for?
The Porsche Boxster 981 generation is likely the best one of the bunch because it perfectly balances performance, modernity, and costs. 6-cylinder engines are plentiful, modern-day tech is also present while the value of the 981 Boxster is still strong and is likely to stay that way for many more years to come.
The worst Boxster generation to go for is undoubtedly the 986 because it experiences too many problems, especially the earlier model years. The 987 is comparable better but is still not as good as the 981.
How much does it cost to maintain a Porsche Boxster?
Porsche Boxster maintenance costs are highly dependent on how the car has been maintained until it came into your possession. This means that these typically are not all that expensive to maintain if everything has been done correctly throughout the car’s lifespan.
However, if the car was not maintained all that well beforehand, it tends to costs quite a lot of money to maintain later on. As such, if you are interested in buying a Boxster, make sure to get one with all the service and maintenance history readily available on hand.
Is the Porsche Boxster worth it?
The Porsche Boxster is indeed worth it because it is a thrilling 2-seater sports car that tends to best most of its competitors such as the Z4, the Alpine A110, and the MX-5 Miata. The Boxster is available in many different iterations and engines which means that finding the one that fits you is rather easy.
The Boxster is made to be a through and through sports car which is rather obvious the moment you step inside and turn the key. As such, the Boxster is worth it as it is one of the most fun-to-drive Porsche models of all time.