Porsche 911 Turbo: 14 Month Cost of Ownership

The Porsche has been sold and sent off to the East Coast by transport. Time to tally up the total cost of ownership for this, my first "one year, interesting car, fully depreciated" experiment.

So, before we get to the raw numbers, some context. As with any Porsche, maintenance is a big expense on these cars. Even routine things cost more than they would for a typical car (e.g., oil change = $250).

And there were two big, unanticipated expenses. First, the failure of a coolant pipe necessitated an expensive "engine out" repair, which also led to a bunch of "while you're in there" maintenance and upgrades. For the 996tt, the coolant pipes are a known weakness, and thus a risk you take, until it happens and someone fixes it. Chances of it happening are slim in any particular year, and once it's fixed, it's fixed forever. So it's unfortunate that it happened on my watch, but them's the breaks. The next owner doesn't have to worry about it. You pays your money, you takes your chances.

The second big expense was the repaint after a certain someone scraped the rear quarter panel on the side of the garage. Oops. Could have happened to any car, with roughly similar repair costs.

So, here's the cost of ownership break down:
  • Purchase price + tax and registrations: $38,000 + $3,848
  • Oil change, brake fluid flush: $443
  • Headlight washer nozzle: $65 (replaced that one myself)
  • Coolant pipe repair, towing, plus maintenance and upgrades: $8,578 (coolant pipe repair was $3,400 of that)
  • Window regulator: $468 (could have done this myself, which would have saved $250)
  • Repaint rear quarter panel: $2,825
  • Replace torn CV boot: $494
  • Detailing: $600 (you don't just "wash" a black 996tt) 
  • Smog certificates: $114
  • Sale price: $45,000
Net 14 month cost of ownership: $ 10,435.

That is a lot of money by any measure. But almost all of that was the result of the coolant pipe failure (just bad luck) and the garage scrape (not the car's fault). But for for those two bits of bad luck, the total cost would have been a lot lower (although a significant portion of the sale price was the result of the coolant pipe fix and attendant maintenance and upgrades, so resale price would also have been lower).

But let's consider my benchmark for this experiment: what if I had bought a 2015 Honda Odyssey minivan? That's a popular car choice for lots of families out there. A new, reasonably well-optioned Odyssey EX-L would have come in at about the same price as my Porsche. Sales tax would have been the same, registration fees somewhat higher, maintenance significantly lower. Resale value today is $32k, so first year depreciation would have been about $6,000.

So, net cost of ownership for the new Odyssey works out to be roughly the same as the Porsche (sales tax + registration + depreciation). Of course, the depreciation on the Odyssey will slow down, and you only pay sales tax on it one time, so for this coming year, the Corvette won't have as much room for losses, if I'm to stay roughly par with my 2015 Odyssey EX-L benchmark.

Needless to say, I'm very pleased to have driven a Porsche 911 Turbo, rather than a Honda Odyssey, for these past 14 months. :-)


  1. The 996TT becomes a real bargain when you wrench yourself. Through my first 9 months of ownership, I've had to replace a radiator, two front outer CV boots (first was torn, other I did since it wasn't far behind the first), failed fruck latch actuator, and completeled an oil change. My total bill for all of that was well under $1000. If I have a coolant pipe failure, I'll pull the engine myself and pin the lines. Paying Porsche shop prices on these cars is a real killer.


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