Published in the May 2019 issue of “Die Porsche Kassette”
Ⓒ2019 Technolab / PedrosGarage.com
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When something is inevitable we tend to say: “just like death and taxes”.
Well, car repairs then are “just like death and taxes”.
Owning and driving a car, even a Porsche, involves spending money on maintenance and repairs.
Keeping up with regularly scheduled oil changes and recommended service intervals as well as keeping an eye on your fluids and warning lights, will save you a lot of money and aggravation down the road.
But even if you keep up with the recommended service and maintenance schedules, with time and mileage, some parts will wear and will require replacement.
The only way to avoid car repairs is if you lease or trade your car before things start to wear and or break.
Following is a list of items that typically wear or fail due to mileage and age.
After about 5 years of use (regardless of mileage) most lead-acid batteries start to weaken and need to be replaced. Keep in mind that if you drive your car very little, the battery should be hooked up to an external (trickle) charger or it will die a lot quicker. Manufacturers and suppliers generally do not warranty a battery that hasn’t been driven at least 7,000 miles/year.
Batteries also do not like very hot environments. Luckily Florida doesn’t have the weather extremes as some other parts of the country and Porsche installs the battery away from the hot engine bay, which also helps its longevity a bit.
A replacement battery for a Porsche is $150 – $300 depending on you car’s model.
After 1997, Porsche started using water-cooled engines, which require a water pump to circulate coolant between the engine and the radiators to keep the engine from overheating.
By the time a water pump in a Porsche
reaches 75,000 miles, the incidence of
failure due to coolant leak goes up sharply.
If the pump has over 100,000 miles on it,
you are driving on borrowed time. It starts
as a small coolant leak from the pump’s
shaft that generally cannot be detected by
the owner because coolant will only escape as water vapor while the car is running and will leave no drips on the garage floor. The warning light will eventually advise the driver that the coolant level is low and the owner will generally add coolant mix or distilled water and keep on driving.
If you have to add coolant to your car, you need to find out why or how its being lost because sooner than later the water pump will have a complete failure and will leave you stranded with a giant cloud of water vapor trailing behind you. If this happens don't try to make it home without coolant, even if it's just a couple of miles. Without coolant the engine will overheat very quickly and may cause additional expensive damage.
Replacing a water pump and coolant with recommended parts, materials and labor should cost less than $1,000.
If it breaks, you’re better off replacing the whole transmission than trying to get it rebuilt. But, just like the rest of the car, the Porsche automatic transmission (Tiptronic) has a recommended service schedule. Once it reaches 90,000 it needs to be serviced. The service calls for completely draining the tranny fluid (ATF), opening the pan, cleaning, replacing the filter, installing a new gasket, replacing the pan and refilling with fresh fluid. Full synthetic is a welcomed upgrade for the new tranny fluid.
Manual Transmission (including PDK):
The manual tranny also has a service interval at 90,000. This one uses heavier oil than the Tiptronic and the PDK uses two fluids (tranny oil and clutch fluid).
Transmissions are very hefty and may last through the life of the car but the clutch will probably have to be replaced at some time.
The life of the clutch depends almost exclusively on the driver. Even with heavy track use (excluding drag racing) the clutch may still last the life of the car.
A new clutch costs around $700, but replacing it requires removal of the transmission which adds around 10 hours of labor.
Brake components such as the pads and the rotors are wear items that require replacement when worn. As the pads press against the face of the brake disc or rotor, both parts wear down. Generally the pads wear first and may be replaced without the need to replace the rotor if the rotor is within its limits.
When the pads wear down you will get a warning light on the dash, but to know how much life your rotors still have, run your finger around the outer edge of the disc (when cold) and you will feel a lip. When the lip gets to be 1 mm the rotor needs replacement. Generally rotors last two sets of pads.
The cost of brakes is around $250 per each disc, and $250 for a set of pads for 2 rotors, plus about 1.5 hours of labor per corner.
Again, another wear item that needs to be regularly inspected and replaced when worn.
Correct inflation will help the life and performance of the tire. Make sure that your Porsche is well aligned, since a wrong alignment will accelerate an uneven wear of the tires.
Our cars come with high performance summer tires with a somewhat short life but high grip. Summer tires, depending on your driving, may last around 30,000 miles for the fronts and 15,000 for the rears.
Depending on tire size, brand and performance level, high performance summer tires may cost between $100 and $400 each. When replaced, they must be balanced individually (best is road-force balancing) and in most cases the TPMS sensors should be replaced as well.
Heat, age and weather conditions are not friends of plastic. After 12 to 15 years, many plastic parts such as hoses, lines, seals, expansion tanks and a myriad other plastic parts need to be carefully inspected and replaced if they show signs of deterioration. Porsche coolant hoses and fuel lines tend to last quite well but many hard plastic parts, especially within the engine bay can’t say the same.
Replacing these deteriorated parts before they fail will certainly save you money and aggravation.