Porsche Cayman years to avoid — most common problems
Find out about the crucial years to avoid when considering a Porsche Cayman.
The Porsche Cayman made its debut as a mid-engined hard-top sports car that’s built on the same platform as the Boxster. It’s a slightly different car than its removable top counterpart and it swiftly became one of the favorite Porsches for those that didn’t want to pay the full price of the 911.
Over the years, it got renewed for four generations and offers plenty of engine options from the initial 2.7-liter flat-six to a 2.0-liter turbocharged and even a 4.0-liter flat-six in the GTS version. This model didn’t have a history of significant reliability issues, but there are some Porsche Cayman years to avoid. So, our team wanted to assist you by recommending some of the best model years to buy if you are looking at a used Cayman for your next car.
Most common Porsche Cayman problems
While the Cayman is considered to be a reliable pick among Porsche’s lineup, there are still some issues it comes with. Most notably, we have the axle assembly problem that presented a driving safety risk. There are also some lighter problems that Cayman owners experienced over the years, including faulty airbag modules.
There were some common electrical issues and battery drainage problems, as well as wiring harnesses that were prone to damage. Finally, we have some engine-related problems, and these mostly include the infamous intermediate shaft bearing (IMS) fault that was luckily only present in the first-gen Caymans. Finally, we can argue that the Cayman had some problems that weren’t as much related to the drivability of the car.
These mostly included faulty door latches and linkages and other problems regarding the equipment of the car. We know that this may sound like the Cayman isn’t as reliable as it seems, but let’s leave these assumptions for the final verdict and deal with the mentioned issues in more detail.
Axle assembly problem
One of the biggest issues that owners of Porsche Cayman have faced over the years includes the matter of the axle assembly. It mostly affects the side carrier sections that were prone to damage and fractures, and this problem is more serious than you may think.
The axle and other suspension components are critical for having proper control over the vehicle. Especially when it comes to high-speed driving that the Cayman is capable of, this is a safety issue that could lead to dire situations in case of a control loss.
To help deal with the problem, Porsche issued an official recall in 2021 to fix the axle assembly fault on the 2014-2015 Cayman and Cayman S models. Nearly 5000 Cayman units were recalled in the US, and it’s a fortunate thing since the failure of the assembly causes similar consequences like a bad CV axle.
Airbag system problems
Another common type of issue that Porsche Caymen owners have encountered over the years is the faulty airbag control module. This is an issue that’s just as serious as the axle assembly problem, considering how it may influence driving safety.
It’s said that the problem was caused by a faulty capacitor that couldn’t lead the module to receive electric power, leading to the system’s deactivation. Of course, deactivated airbags could easily lead to lethal accidents in case of a crash, so Porsche issued a recall in 2019 to fix this problem on 2016-2017 Porsche Cayman vehicles.
One of the major problems that owners of the first-generation Cayman could face is the problem with the infamous IMS. The intermediate shaft bearing could lead to improper crankshaft rotation and block the oil lines in the engine, leading to stalling and serious engine issues.
Luckily, this problem wasn’t as present for the Cayman as much as it was for the 911 and Boxster models. It mostly revolves around the 2005 and 2006 Cayman models, but oil leaks are still present regardless of this issue. If there’s no oil in a car, there won’t be proper engine lubrication and it leads to raised operative temperatures and overheating.
Problems with the electric system and equipment
The rest of the driver complaints about the Cayman include electrical issues like excessive battery discharge and even some problems with alternator cables. Besides these, there’s also the matter of faulty equipment in the model including the faulty hood latch that triggered a recall in 2014.
There were also reports of faulty seatbelt anchor plates and the owner’s manual didn’t have sufficient instructions for the proper installation of the child restraint seat.
Which Porsche Cayman years to avoid?
Now that you are aware of the major problems that Porsche Cayman came with, it’s time that we dig deeper into the most problematic model years. Here’s what it all looks like when it comes to specific generations of the Cayman:
First-generation Cayman (2006 model year)
When it comes to the first-generation Cayman, it’s best to avoid the 2006 model, especially with the 3.4-liter flat-six engine. These were the only Cayman models plagued by the problematic IMS failure and that sometimes led to expensive engine rebuilds.
On top of that, the first-generation Cayman struggled with some carbon buildup and oil leaks and this was most notable for the 2006 model year, with later model years being more reliable.
Third-generation Cayman (2014-2015 model years)
The second generation of Cayman didn’t have any serious problems and the issue of the intermediate shaft bearing has been fixed. However, the third-gen Cayman had sufficient problems for the 2014 model year that received the most driver complaints along with the 2006 model.
These issues mostly revolve around the faulty airbag module connections and the axle assembly problem which made the suspension vulnerable especially at higher speeds.
Best Porsche Cayman years
As you can see, there are far more good Cayman years than those that should be avoided, so our team wanted to recommend the best model years. Here’s a list of the best Porsche Cayman years to go for if you are on the used car market:
- 2007 Porsche Cayman
- 2008 Porsche Cayman
- 2009 Porsche Cayman
- 2010 Porsche Cayman
- 2011 Porsche Cayman
- 2012 Porsche Cayman
- 2013 Porsche Cayman
- 2017 Porsche Cayman
- 2018 Porsche Cayman
- 2019 Porsche Cayman
- 2020 Porsche Cayman
- 2022 Porsche Cayman
If you are going for the first generation, it’s best to avoid the 2006 model and go for later model years. The most reliable first-gen model year is 2008 and there weren’t any IMS issues for this one and later model years. All the model years from the second generation are considered to be reliable, and the 2014-2015 model should only be avoided from the third-gen.
Also, there are some slight airbag problems and equipment issues for the 2017 model year, but it’s also reliable overall regardless of these. The fourth generation is relatively new, but the 2021 model year has received the most complaints so far, so going for a 2019 or 2022 Cayman should set things straight.
Is the Porsche Cayman worth buying?
All things considered, Porsche Cayman is worth buying and it’s one of the most reliable Porsche models so far. There are some issues with the 2006 and 2010 model years, but the other production-year models are pretty safe. You should only check for models recalled due to faulty airbags and suspension components to be sure.
We hope that this guide will help you avoid the few problematic model years and go for the most reliable Cayman model for your next car.
What is the most reliable Porsche Cayman?
The most reliable Porsche Cayman is the 2009 model that received the least driver complaints as well as the rest of the second generation of the model.
Do Porsche Cayman S have problems?
Porsche Caymans S don’t have many major issues and are considered to be reliable sports cars overall.