Porsche Boxster buying checkpoints

A sales success for 14 years, there are plenty of second-hand Porsche Boxsters to choose from. We tell you how to spot a good one

We spoke to James Leaney at Porsche specialist Parr, which has 25 years’ experience of the brand.

Porsche Boxster engine

One of the key areas to check on any Boxster is around the bell housing. An oil leak here could indicate a crankshaft oil seal failing, but as long as oil isn’t dripping on the floor, replacement can usually wait until the car needs a clutch.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

Of more concern would be bearing-type noises from the rear of the engine. According to James, this could indicate a possible failing bearing on the rear of the intermediate shaft, which transfers drive from the crankshaft to the camshafts. ‘The bearing is a “sealed for life” item but engine oil forced in by the cam chains can wash the grease out,’ says James.

Barry Hart at Porsche engine specialist Hartech takes up the story: ‘If the bearing fails then generally the engine will need rebuilding, but if the gearbox is out for a clutch change then the bearing can be checked and, if there is play, we can replace it without removing the engine. We’d recommend buyers walk away from cars with a noisy bearing.’

Problems with Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensors are not uncommon, causing hesitation when driving. Replacements cost £130. Ignition packs also have a habit of cracking and causing misfires.

A problem specific to the 986 variant is cracking coolant expansion tanks, which leak water into the boot. Also, oil separators can fail, which shows up as either a running fault or blue smoke in the exhaust. This shouldn’t be confused with a puff of blue smoke on start-up, though, as this is common with flat engines.

Finally, check the coolant radiators and air-conditioning condensers at the front of the car. ‘Leaves can get stuck in the ducts and as they mulch down they rot the radiators,’ says James.

Transmission

Generally, the various transmissions are very reliable. However, the six-speed gearbox can pop out of second gear. The solution is a strip-down and rebuild, using a modified detent.

Suspension, wheels and brakes

‘The Boxster isn’t particularly heavy on brakes but they can corrode if the car isn’t used,’ says James. ‘Owners should drive the car after it has been washed to dry them off.’

The Boxster also suffers from suspension bush wear. ‘Bottom-arm bushes last around 30,000-40,000 miles,’ says James. ‘They then start to delaminate and begin creaking. Replacements are £200 each. Also, the rose joints on the trailing arms, where they meet the body, can wear and knock. These are £135 for the fronts and £200 for the rears.’

Bodywork

There are no real corrosion issues, but James recommends checking the roof operation: ‘Make sure there are no creaks as the roof goes down and up, possibly indicating a dry joint in the mechanism. Also, check behind the seats for water. If the drain holes under the roof get blocked, water can get in here.’

Interior

The 987 interior is harder wearing than the earlier versions, but check all the electrics work properly, as the Boxster was one of the first cars to use CANBUS technology – individual electrical systems controlled by coded signals sharing common wiring.

Find used Porsche Boxster's for sale on the Classic and Performance Car site here.

Specifications (2009 Boxster S)

EngineFlat-six, 3436cc
Max power306bhp @ 6400rpm
Max torque265lb ft @ 5500rpm
TransmissionSix-speed manual gearbox, rear-wheel drive
Tyres235/40x18 front, 265/40x18 rear
Weight (kerb)1355kg
Power-to-weight229bhp/ton
0-62mph5.3sec (claimed)
Top speed170mph (claimed)
Price when new£40,388 (2009)

Parts Prices

Tyres (each)£176.19 front, £264.69 rear (Michelin Pilot Sport 2)
Brake pads (front set)£113.40
Brake discs (front, each)£88.13
Clutch, complete£214.32
Flywheel£396
Oil filter£16.88
Air filter£30.69
Spark plugs (set of six)£50.48

Prices supplied by Parr, Sussex. Prices include VAT at 17.5% but not fitting)

Servicing

Minor service (20,000 miles/2 years)£338.92
Major service (40,000 miles/4 years)£429.53

Prices supplied by Parr, Sussex

What to pay

Early Boxsters can be had for as little as £7000, but for this money you’ll be looking at something with minicab mileage. Younger and fresher examples can be had easily for around £13,000, while late 986s are available for around £15,000. The price jumps to around £20,000 for an early 987 and closer to £30,000 for the last of the first-generation 987s (late 2008). The price gap between the base model and the S expands the newer the car is, but is rarely enough to put you off the more powerful version.

*All prices correct as of October 2011

Recommended

Visit/porsche/boxster/202234/porsche-boxster-gts-40-2020-review-as-good-as-it-gets
Porsche Boxster

Porsche Boxster GTS 4.0 2020 review - as good as it gets

16 Feb 2020
Visit/porsche/718-boxster
Porsche Boxster convertible

Porsche 718 Boxster review

3 Oct 2019

Most Popular

Visit/bmw/m3-saloon/20529/all-new-bmw-m3-competition-revealed-an-icon-reborn
BMW M3 saloon

All-new BMW M3 Competition revealed – an icon reborn

This is the all-new BMW M3 Competition saloon which will join the M4 Competition coupe in BMW M’s new M3/4 family
23 Sep 2020
Visit/hyundai/202950/updated-hyundai-i30-n-revealed-with-optional-dual-clutch-box
Hyundai i30 N

Updated Hyundai i30 N revealed with optional dual-clutch ‘box

It was the hot hatch that upset the status quo, and now the i30 N is back with more power and tech
24 Sep 2020
Visit/peugeot/508/22305/2020-peugeot-508-sport-engineered-unveiled-bmw-3-series-rival-turned-to-355bhp
Peugeot 508

2020 Peugeot 508 Sport Engineered unveiled – BMW 3-series rival turned to 355bhp

Peugeot’s first Sport Engineering model has finally been uncovered, the hot 508 featuring a range-topping hybrid powertrain
24 Sep 2020
Visit/tesla/model-s/203121/200mph-tesla-model-s-plaid-set-for-2021-launch
Tesla Model S

200mph Tesla Model S Plaid set for 2021 launch

The Tesla Model S saloon to receive another level of performance, jumping from Ludicrous to Plaid…
23 Sep 2020