This year, the Porsche Boxster code name 986 turns 25 years old. I actually remember when they started to arrive in the Porsche dealerships as I was working as a parts advisor in one.

25 years later and the original Porsche Boxster is still a great way to enjoy the Porsche brand, providing you buy the right car for your budget.

In this short buyers blog, I will run through the things to look out for if you are looking to invest your hard earned money into a fun and classy Porsche roadster.  

The Boxster was launched in 1996 with a 2.5 litre flat-six engine with variable intake timing. The “boxer” engine produced 201 hp and 0 to 62 mph takes around 7.6 seconds.

2.5 litre Porsche Boxster engine

There was a choice of two transmissions – manual and the Tiptronic auto. I prefer the manual…purely because its more involving to drive and there is less to go wrong within the transmission.

Things to look out for:

  • Badly fitting body panels – including front and rear bumpers, headlights, tail lights.
  • Curbed alloy wheels and uneven tyre wear.
  • Front coolant radiators behind the bumper are pretty much exposed to all the elements. Check for leaves and all sort of road grime and moisture which gets trapped in there. Over time the radiators start to rust and to repair this involves removing the front bumper, cleaning the effected area, replacing radiators and coolant.
Image by Advance Car Care Bristol
  • Service history is a very good plus point but it doesn’t have to be all Porsche main dealer stamps. Service history from a good Porsche specialist is very desirable. 
  • Starting the engine should be smooth with no smoke. The engine shouldn’t rattle or be  excessively noisy at any time.
  • Look out for oil leaks underneath the engine especially from the rear main oil seal (RMS). To replace the (RMS) the gearbox needs to be removed from the car. At the same time you could just as well replace the clutch if it is old or has been contaminated in anyway (budget accordingly).
  • The clutch operation should be smooth with no slip or judder.
  • Check when the water pump was last changed.
  • There shouldn’t be water in the oil (when checking the dip stick) nor should there be oil in the coolant. 
  • Exhausts are prone to rust and so is the exhaust heat shield which starts to rattle.
  • Whilst driving, listen for suspension knocks and creaking noises over bumps. This would suggest to me worn out suspensions parts.
  • Slight misfire when accelerating could be a failing coil pack or mass air flow sensor/meter.
  • Steering should feel direct and smooth when driving at any speed. 
  • Brake discs and pads sometimes get punished, so give them a good check over and feel for any vibrations when stopping at speed as this could point to warped discs.
  • Operation of the electric roof should be smooth and quiet, the same with the electric windows. 
  • Plastic rear window screens are prone to fogging if uncared for.
  • Check the interior for damp patches, look for wet or damp carpet especially behind the seats or in the passengers footwell.
  • I have heard of water getting into the ECU’s so look out for this. 
  • Check that the air con and heater controls are working (especially if it’s fitted with climate control).
  • The condition of the driver’s seat and gear knob normally gives a lot away about the car history.

If you are unsure when viewing a used Porsche Boxster or any Porsche then I would recommend getting an independent car inspection carried out on it. Yes it may cost you but any faults or items that may need replacing will be highlighted and you can use that data as a bargaining tool when negotiating a deal. A recommended Porsche specialist is Advance Car Care in Bristol. Chad and Pete (the joint business owners) both agree that it is well worth getting any potential used Porsche purchase inspected first which they can do at their premises.

If a Porsche Boxster is being sold cheaply there is normally a reason for this. It may be hidden at first but I am sure in time you will find out why and no doubt it will cost you in the long run. If you simply carry out the necessary checks there is no reason not to find the right car and you will have pleasant motoring for years to come. This is a timeless, classic car with an engine and exhaust sound that will make the hairs on your neck stand up for many years to come. 

Below are some of the typical services costs from Advance Car Care Bristol. Prices include VAT.

  • 6000 mile interim service £192.00
  • 12000 mile service £342.00
  • Front disc and pads £406.80
  • Brake fluid change £84.00
  • Complete clutch £793.50

For more information about Advance Car Care Bristol just click on the link below.


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