A used Porsche Cayenne might be a great bargain after a few years, but like all Porsche models, the Cayenne does cost a considerable amount to maintain. As far as reliability is concerned, the Cayenne offers great long-lasting reliability, but only if maintained correctly.
The first-generation Porsche Cayenne was fairly questionable design-wise, but the power and luxury amenities were more than plenty. The second-generation Cayenne was an all-around improvement and is probably the best one to buy at the moment because of the price.
The first-gen Cayenne is now worth peanuts. It might be a great purchase if you source a well-maintained model with the most well-known issues sorted out. Finding one of these could be the bargain of the century, as long as it’s in decent condition.
Buying a mechanically sound Cayenne should be your top priority, so when you find a possible purchase-worthy Cayenne, make sure you go through a full pre-purchase inspection. Mechanical Cayenne issues are well-documented. These are the most relevant ones to look out for:
Driveshaft issues are fairly common on Cayenne models, the way to spot a support bearing failure is to listen for a clunk while accelerating. A specific bearing that connects the driveshaft with the transmission is located in the center of the car, and if it fails, a loud thump can be heard.
The easiest and most cost-effective way to fix a failed driveshaft bearing is to buy an aftermarket one. These repair jobs don’t require you to take off the driveshaft completely, while the Porsche original repair jobs do.
Coolant pipe leakages
The early V8-powered Cayenne models use a set of plastic cooling pipes that run front to back underneath the intake manifold. The problem with these is that they degrade over time because plastic hoses can’t constantly cope with the increased heat of the intake manifold.
You have to make sure that the coolant pipes are in good condition or replaced by a set of more durable pipes because an untreated coolant leak might lead to overheating of the engine. If the engine does overheat, it might be too expensive to fix it, so much so that the car might not even be worth it.
A common issue in earlier Cayenne models is a hard downshift from the gearbox. The purpose of the transmission valve assembly is to choose the correct gear depending on the driver’s input. But sometimes this system fails, and loud, unpleasant shifting is the consequence.
If you do identify such issues, replacing the valve assembly usually fixes the problem, but if it doesn’t, you might end up having to deal with the cost of a new transmission.
Some transfer case issues are also common for PDK Cayenne models. If you experience sudden vibrations in 2nd and 3rd gear, you should inspect the transfer case.
A lot of Cayenne models are equipped with Porsche KESSY or Porsche keyless entry and driving. These systems sadly have a reasonably high failure rate. These problems start slowly, but if not treated in due time, the steering fault light will come on and the steering wheel will lock itself.
You should check the car’s service history to see if any KESSY issues were resolved because this usually means you’ll have to tow your Cayenne, and sometimes even replace the steering column which can cost upwards of $2000.
Most Porsche Cayenne models are not that prone to electrical failures. But as time moves on electronics do begin to degrade, and there are a few potential issues that might arise down the line. Probably the most common electrical issue is a bad or loose wire.
If you suddenly lose power to any of the car’s systems, it’s most likely due to a loose or a bad wire. Fixing these costs $50-150, and it’s a fairly easy fix. A less common, but more dreadful potential Cayenne issue is a bad starter which costs up to $300 to fix.
It is possible to clear the engine code system in the Cayenne just before you take it for a test drive. And many of the systems will not turn on again until after a few driving sessions, even if there are problems. So, make sure to check when the engine codes were last cleared when you do a test drive to make sure the seller isn’t trying to hide any issues.
Other than that, the Cayenne is a fairly reliable SUV that is likely going to last a long time if maintained correctly. All these issues might not plague the car you are interested in, however, your potential new used Cayenne could have different issues, so always make sure to consult with a professional before making any decisions.
How much does it cost to maintain a Cayenne?
The Porsche Cayenne costs more to maintain compared to other premium German SUVs, but the Cayenne is significantly more reliable most than most German SUVs.
An average yearly maintenance cost of a Cayenne model is around $1200. But this can sway in one direction or the other depending on the model in question and the condition of the vehicle.
Is a used Porsche Cayenne worth it?
A first-gen, well-maintained Cayenne is most definitely worth it, if priced accordingly. If you come across a cheap Cayenne with a questionable service history, run away as fast as you can because some potential fixes might cost more than the car itself.
A pre-purchase inspection is a must. Don’t ever try to buy a used Porsche of any sort without doing a thorough, well-documented pre-purchase inspection. If the PPI shows decent results, then a Cayenne is certainly worth it.
Should I buy a new Macan or a used Cayenne?
A brand-new Porsche compact Macan SUV might cost you the same money as a used 1 to 3-year-old Cayenne in good condition. Buying a brand-new car certainly does seem great, but the Cayenne is a better car in almost every aspect.
It all depends on the specific model in question, but whatever you do end up with is likely going to offer you an amazing luxury and comfort experience.