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The importance of routine annual servicing.
Everyone knows that a car needs to be serviced to keep it reliable and to avoid expensive repairs.
However there are two occasions where Porsche owners may believe that their car does not need servicing every year.
“But the service book says to service the car every two years.”
Many more modern Porsche models specify two yearly servicing in the service book for the car, which is fine for the first four years of the car's life, as the factory are focussed on the car lasting beyond the duration of the factory warranty. Beyond this, you are on your own.. However we will explain later in this article why this can be a big mistake.
“But I only cover a few miles per year.”
Because often servicing is specified in the service book as yearly or every other year, but also at a set mileage, many people believe that if they have only covered 200 miles in a year, that the car does not need a service.
However, chemistry within your engine will turn your oil from a protecting fluid, into a toxic chemical soup which can literally eat your engine components alive.
Engine oil over two years old is where chemistry becomes your enemy!
Once you start your engine with fresh engine oil a process begins where the oil will be contaminated with hydrocarbons from the combustion process, even if the engine was only started once, when the engine oil has been mixed with these chemical compounds for a year, the oil will have broken down and the chemicals will have become more toxic to your engine.
The engine oil will have begun life as a relatively neutral compound, neither overly acidic or caustic. However hydrocarbons from combustion, entering the oil past your piston rings will have begun to change all of that, some of these compounds only need moisture to become even more toxic.
You may not realise but when your engine is stopped and cooled, any moisture from humidity in the air will collect and condense within the engine and drain back into the oil, more humid air will enter the engine and this also will condense. This moisture will kick start other chemical reactions within the engine oil and especially reacting with the combustion by products within the no longer fresh engine oil.
When the engine is next started, fresh chemical reactions begin, additives within the oil can be destroyed and the chemical make up of the oil within the engine changes further.
This vicious circle is worse with infrequently used cars, as regular use will cause the moisture to evaporate away and have less time to damage the molecules and composition of the engine oil.
This problem is also made worse the longer the engine oil is within the engine, one year is fine, but two years can mean that the engine oil has become very toxic for your engine.
Another problem with the changing chemical composition of the engine oil is that these processes can produce sludge, varnishes and other unwelcome byproducts within your engine.
A good example of this are the late Porsche 996 and early 997 engines which share the same engine oil controlled hydraulic solenoids, in the 996 models with yearly servicing these rarely fail, however in the 997 models with two yearly servicing they fail on a reasonably regular basis, likewise with the cam followers. Repairing these consequences of the two yearly services, even when that is what the service book calls for, can costs thousands of pounds to repair!
Beyond the engine oil, many other items are lubricated during a service, and these lubricants are designed to be re-applied every year at most, which means without regular lubrication the components will fail. A good example are the gear selector cables on Boxster and 911 models, on the pre 2005 models (with yearly servicing) they rarely fail, however on the post 2005 models (with two yearly servicing) we now find we need to replace them relatively frequently.
Another example would be that every 996 or 997 which has suffered bore scoring issues that we have seen, has been one specified with two yearly servicing!
A conspiracy by the manufacturers?
Some would say this is a conspiracy by the manufacturers to make more money on selling parts and repairs out of warranty.
However we believe they are just trying to make the car's seem more attractive to new car buyers due to low servicing costs.
Whatever the reason, the person who suffers is usually the person who owns the car when it is over 5 years old, by which time the damage of infrequent servicing are already done and getting worse every time the pattern continues.
There are many other consequences of not having your Porsche serviced every year.
Another good example might be suspension bushes, if replaced as soon as they become aged or worn, the cost of repairs is just the bushes and labour. However if they are left until they have symptoms obvious to the driver the damage will also be to the tyres, which we all know on a Porsche are not cheap!
The solution to this is to always try to buy a car which has been serviced every year, even if the model is specified by the factory to be serviced every two years, and never buy a car which has had the servicing deferred because it had not covered many miles between services.
Beyond this, even if the car has skipped services in the past, whatever model it is, have it serviced every year and follow the advice of your Porsche specialist of any additional items which need replacement, such as drive belts, water-pumps, coolant, brake fluid, brakes etc.. Not following this advice could cost you thousands of pounds if neglected.
A service is a service wherever it is performed, right?
A last note, it is important who you choose to service your Porsche. Any garage can change the oil in your Porsche, but a true specialist will check much more during the process and know what to look for.
Checking the old engine oil for consistency, smell and inspecting it under a powerful light will warn of many other potential issues with the car, such as early signs of bearing failure, fuel pressure, fuel injector condition and much more, all much cheaper to repair before their issues become more chronic and expensive.
Expert eyes will be looking for common problems with each model and year that an average garage will miss, which will cost you much more money later, if not spotted now.
“What else to do?”
Other than all this, enjoy your Porsche, we have found conclusively over the years that the cars which are not used on a regular basis and not driven hard, will suffer more acute problems than those driven hard on a regular basis.. Think of your Porsche as a race horse, it needs to stretch it's legs on a regular basis, otherwise it will stop being a race horse and turn into a stiff old nag!