Best and worst Porsche 997 years — which to avoid
We've gone through the best and worst Porsche 997 years, highlighting the main issues and gathering feedback from people who've owned one, to give you the full scoop on what to expect.
The Porsche 911 is one of the most iconic sports cars in automotive history, and the car has gone through numerous generations, but not all of them were created equal in terms of reliability. There are some model years of the 911 you should avoid, specifically from the 997 generation.
Our team scoured the web of automotive sources with authority and we’ve collected data posted by real drivers to evaluate the best years to buy and worst Porsche 997 years to avoid. We’ll bring the details to you through this guide as we take a closer look at records of complaints from NHTSA and other automotive agencies, as well as details we’ve obtained from previous owners through forums and expert car review platforms.
Why you can trust REREV’s advice on which car model years to avoid: Our car experts look at official data, ask real drivers what they think, and talk to experienced mechanics to make sure our list is useful. This reliable info can make buying a car easier for you. Want to know how we do it? Find out more about our research methodology.
How we rated the best and worst Porsche 997 years
In the making of this guide, our experts have reviewed the common problem reports and statements provided to renowned automotive organizations by real drivers and previous owners of the 997. To do that, we examined NHTSA complaints one by one, and we also explored the list of Porsche 911 recalls concerning the 997 generation.
To give you factual and proven information, we only used verified data of the mentioned agencies along with reviews and reports by Edmunds, KBB, and other major review platforms. On top of that, we’ve compiled a list of threads from trustworthy Porsche 997 forums to give you insight into ownership and problems of badly rated years, so let’s take a closer look.
|Porsche 997 Generation
|Best Porsche 997 Years
|Worst Porsche 997 Years
Most common Porsche 997 problems
The Porsche 997 generation of the 911 was in production for two sub-generations and a total of 10 model years. Regardless of the major improvements, there’s the problem of the intermediate shaft bearing below the crankshaft that was supposed to ensure proper rotation independently from the camshafts.
That’s why we’ve scanned the list of the most frequent problem inquiries made by drivers to help you understand the reason behind the poor reliability of some models. With that in mind, these are the most common problems that affected the 997 model:
1. The intermediate shaft bearing problem
The first thing we have to deal with here is the infamous intermediate shaft bearing. It’s a component that ensures the long life of the engine and its chains in particular, which is important for cars with such capable powertrains as the 997.
Namely, the intermediate shaft bearing should be replaced every 4 years or every 50,000 miles, and you must check this when buying a used 997. Sure, you can replace it yourself, but it almost always triggers immense expenses and if it fails, debris can clog the internals of the engine with metal fragments. So, there won’t be proper cooling and lubrication and that could even lead to a completely seized engine.
This issue was mostly present with the 997 model years 2004, 2005, and 2006, so buying later models should sufficiently protect you from this trouble. Also, it may help to go for an IMS bearing upgrade kit, so make sure to consider the advice posted by other owners on forums.
2. Problem with cylinder bores
The Bore scoring issue is one of the most relevant problems that potential owners of the 997 should pay attention to. This problem mostly happens with the sixth cylinder of the Porsche 997’s engine as the protective lining between the cylinder and the wall degrades and the cylinder changes its shape due to friction.
The slight damage that gets created this way can cause increased oil consumption and compromised engine oil, so it’s a problem that deserves to be taken into. It can also happen if you don’t know what oil your car takes and it’s crucial to set the oil change appointments based on the 997 requirements.
3. Coolant leaks
Some Porsche 997 drivers have complained about the coolant leaks and while this problem may not be as common as previously mentioned owners, it’s still a bothersome feat. It takes some time to inspect the engine cooling system and find the source of the leak and the faulty water pump was the source only in a handful of situations.
In other cases, the reason for coolant leaks was in the degraded oil cooler seals on the rear passenger side of the engine. It can also be a matter of coolant hoses, and it’s worth inspecting the 997’s engine temperature and cooling system before buying one.
4. Faulty alternator connections
Finally, one sort of unexpected issue for the 997 was poor alternator connections that sometimes led to improper battery charging. The alternator provides a boost to the battery while the engine is running and it charges it so you have the full battery capacity for the next time you try to crank the engine.
If the alternator connections issue is left unattended, it could lead to difficulties turning the car on the next time you get behind the wheel. Sure, it’s possible to jumpstart a car with a bad alternator, but that’s not the long-term solution you should be looking for.
Worst Porsche 997 years to avoid
Considering all the mentioned problems of the 997, we’ll proceed by giving you a list of model years that are best to avoid. The 997 is a reliable car overall, but some model years had more issues than others in both production phases.
We have the 997.1 and 997.2 sub-generations, and most of the problematic model years come before the facelift. Here’s a full list:
As you can see, this makes the 997 a pretty reliable generation of the 911, and we’ll take a closer look at the problematic model years to ensure you know why they are best avoided.
First-generation Porsche 997 (model years 2004 and 2006)
The Porsche 997.1 started production in 2004 where the standard 996 left things, and it carried on a few of the main issues of the 996. So, it’s crucial to avoid the 2004 and 2006 model years due to all those struggles regarding the intermediate shaft bearing. The 2006 model had a few records concerning engine problems made by owners, and not all of those were caused by the IMS bearing.
On the other hand, these model years also had some issues with engine cooling and even improper lubrication, but the latter was likely caused by the IMS failure. We also can’t overlook the problem with the exhaust weld that sometimes caused the exhaust pipe to simply hit the floor. This issue even caused Porsche to initiate a recall in 2006 to fix the coupe and convertible 911 models that were caught up in it.
Second-generation Porsche 997 (model year 2009)
The second generation of the Porsche 997, or the 997.2 model to be precise, started its journey in 2009 and lasted until the end of production in 2013. However, the 2009 model, regardless of the facelift improvements, still had some issues that made it one of the “worst” Porsche 997 production years.
It received the most complaints, although to be honest, there weren’t many complaints about this model overall. So, we have to consider that as well when debating on the reliability of the model as a whole. The main negative feedback that the 2009 model came with included bore scoring, excessive oil consumption even some oil getting trapped in the engine, and coolant leaks.
On top of that, there’s the issue that drivers caused themselves by revving the car too high before the engine reached operational temperature. That’s another thing to have in mind, as well as the exhaust problem that caught up with the 2013 model year.
What are the best Porsche 997 years to buy?
As we already mentioned, the 997 is a model that proved to be quite reliable and there weren’t many driver complaints, to begin with. However, it’s still worth looking into the problematic model years since the car holds its value quite well, especially when it comes to the 997.2 models.
That being said, we’ve only got one inquiry left to settle – what are the best Porsche 997 years? The best Porsche 997 years are 2008, 2010, and 2013, but here’s a complete overview:
Once again, we have to say that the 2013 model year had some difficulties with the exhaust, but there was an official recall to deal with it. So, at least make sure to check if your ride has been recalled before finally making the purchase. As for the others, we’ll be discussing a few of the best-rated years below, so let’s take a look:
2008 Porsche 997
The 2008 Porsche 997 is the final model of phase one of production that came before the facelift (the second sub-generation of 911). It’s also one of the best-rated models with no owner grievances that plagued the model in terms of issues.
2010 Porsche 997
For the facelift model, the 2010 Porsche 997 makes one of the best model years out there and once again the sheet of driver objections seems pretty clear. To be precise, the 2010 model didn’t have any NHTSA complaint records or problems related to the infamous IMS as some of the previous generation models had.
2013 Porsche 997
Finally, 2013 is the only model on our list with a few known ailments regarding NHTSA complaints and problem records. For this one, the main problem turned out to be the matter of interior accessories that often went faulty due to electrical connections, but that didn’t stop this model from getting an impression rating of 4.8 out of 5 based on trusted sources like Edmunds.
Is Porsche 997 worth buying?
If you want a straight answer – yes, the Porsche 997 is worth buying both due to its reliability and the impressive price range that it maintains. So, if you are looking for a fun sports car that you’ll also be able to sell and retrieve almost the entire purchase amount, it’s a highly recommended generation of 911.
It’s still more modern than the 996 both when it comes to the interior and the exterior, and the 997.2 gen doesn’t fall much behind the latest 911. You can settle for a naturally-aspirated 4.0-liter flat-six in the GT3 RS edition, or go for the twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter engine for the GT2 version, both of which are pretty reliable.
What year 997 to avoid?
It’s best to avoid the 997 model years 2004,2005, 2006, and 2009 if you wish to go for more reliable models.
Is the 997 reliable?
Yes, the 997 is a reliable generation of the 911 with just a few slight pitfalls like the IMS problem and the matter of degraded oil cooler seals or water hoses.
Is a 997 a good investment?
Yes, a 997 is a good investment since it’s one of the most popular 911 generations and it holds its price quite well ont the current used car market.
Is Porsche 997 a future classic?
Yes, a Porsche 997 will likely be a future classic, especially when it comes to GT2 and GT3 variants, including the 997 versions with a manual gearbox.