The Porsche Boxster is a mid-engine roadster that’s been sold since 1997.
Although it sits below the 911 in Porsche’s sports car lineup, many consider it one of the best handling small cars on the market today.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the Boxster’s average lifespan.
Here is the short answer to how long the Porsche Boxster lasts:
A Porsche Boxster will last about 200,000 miles on average if it’s properly maintained although they can last must longer, some have even lasted over 300,000 miles. If you drive 15,000 miles a year, you can get 13 years of reliable service out of it before the frequency of repairs becomes too expensive and impractical.
How Many Miles Can You Expect from a Porsche Boxster?
The Porsche Boxster has been around for over a quarter of a century and lots of older models with over 100,000 miles on the clock are still running strong to this day.
They’re often driven pretty aggressively on twisty roads and on track, but they’re designed to keep on going lap after lap although they haven’t always had the best reliability record.
Repair Pal gave the Boxter a reliability score of 2.5 / 5.0 which placed it 15th out of 17 cars in its segment.
As long as you keep up with its required maintenance, a Porsche Boxster can certainly last 200,000 miles without any major issues.
Sure, the Boxter is designed for spirited driving but being too heavy with the gas and brake pedals can cause excessive wear and tear on parts, meaning less time on the road and more time in the shop.
On different Internet forums like Rennlist and 986 Forum, which is dedicated to the first-gen model, you’ll see several Boxsters with over 200,000 miles and a few have even breached the 300,000-mile mark.
Although the Boxster is capable of going over 300,000 miles, it will likely go through a long list of repairs and will need lots of new parts to get there.
Once a Boxter hits big numbers on the odometer, it may start to incur repair costs that outweigh its actual value, or despite continual repairs, it remains unreliable – at which point it’s time to look for a replacement.
The first few years of owning a brand new Boxster should be very trouble-free since all Porsches come with a 4-year/50,000-mile New Vehicle Limited Warranty.
All Porsches are also covered by a 12-year/Unlimited-mile Corrosion/Perforation warranty.
What Problems do Porsche Boxsters Usually Have?
Here are some common Porsche Boxster issues you have to watch out for.
According to Car Problem Zoo, a site that compiles owner complaints, engine issues are the most commonly reported problem for the Boxster.
Older generations of the Boxster used engines that had a lot of similarities with the Porsche 911, and both often suffered from the same issues.
The first-generation Boxster, also known as the 986 model, had issues with failing IMS (Intermediate Shaft) bearings that can cause engine failures.
IMS issues were also common with the 996 generation of the 911, but is easily solved by installing upgraded bearings.
Early second-generation Boxsters, known as the 987.1 model, had the same cylinder bore scoring problem that affected 997 Porsche 911s, which also eventually caused engine failures.
Although these engine problems are widely known, they only affect a small percentage of vehicles.
Later generations of the Boxster starting from 2009 onwards have not had any widespread engine issues.
Since the Boxster is a soft-top convertible, it will have some wind noise even with the top-up.
Compared to other convertibles, however, the Boxster’s wind noise is not as noticeable or annoying, which is mostly due to Porsche’s superior build quality and attention to detail.
If you’re traveling at speed, the sound of the engine, which is directly behind you, and the exhaust is going to drown out most of the wind noise anyway.
What is High Mileage for a Porsche Boxster?
A Boxster with 80,000 miles is already considered high mileage.
Most Boxsters aren’t used on a daily basis and only get driven on weekends and special occasions. It takes much longer for these vehicles to accumulate the type of mileage you’ll see in a used sedan or SUV of the same age.
It’s much more common to find low-mileage Boxsters than high-mileage ones. There are examples out there with 100,000 – 150,000 miles but these cars are usually over 15 years old.
Older high-mileage Boxsters can be very tempting deals, but you have to be prepared for their above-average maintenance costs because Porsche parts are more expensive even when compared to other non-luxury brands.
If you want to be on the safe side, look for cars that come with a full-service history. Getting a PPI (Pre-Purchase Inspection) will also give you a better idea if it’s a good deal or not.
If you’re buying a used Porsche Boxster, consider the following:
- Maintenance history. Make sure the car had its routine servicing done and the owner can provide proof, ideally at a Porsche dealership or an independent Porsche specialist.
- Check for rust and damage. Rust is a problem that will spread, make sure to check under the car too. Any damage or scratches will be an indicator of how the car was treated.
- Number of previous owners. As a general rule, less is better – more owners usually means more wear-and-tear.
- How long you are planning on keeping the car. If it’s for a long time, evaluate whether the short-term savings outweigh spending extra on something more reliable.
- Examine the interior. The condition of the interior tells the story of how well the car was maintained and cared for.
Related: Porsche Boxster in Snow & Winter Driving? (Explained)
How Long Does the Porsche Boxster Last Compared to Similar Car Models?
In this section, we’ll look at some of the Porsche Boxster’s closest competitors and see how they stack up in terms of durability and repair costs.
Porsche Boxster vs. BMW Z4
The BMW Z4 was first sold in 2003 and is currently in its third generation.
It uses a traditional front-engine rear-wheel-drive layout and comes with great handling, power and lots of creature comforts.
The BMW Z4 can last 200,000 miles or 13 years, which is similar to the expected lifespan of the Boxster.
|Porsche Boxster||BMW Z4|
|RepairPal Reliability Rating||2.5/5.0||3.0/5.0|
|RepairPal Reliability Ranking||15th / 17|
Luxury Compact Cars
|14th / 17|
Luxury Compact Cars
|Average Annual Repair Cost||$952||$859|
|Kelley Blue Book Reliability Score||5.0/5.0||4.5/5.0|
|Edmunds Consumer Review Score||5.0/5.0||4.0/5.0|
|JD Power Quality & Reliability Score||88/100||75/100|
Although Porsche has a better reputation for reliability than BMW, they’re much more expensive to maintain.
RepairPal’s ratings are based on maintenance costs too, which helps explain the higher ratings it gave to the Z4.
The BMW Z4 uses the same exact engines found in other BMWs like the 3-Series, so parts are going to be cheaper and much easier to find compared to the Boxster.
The Z4 is also designed to be a sporty cruiser that’s much easier to live with as a daily driver while the Boxster is the better sports car overall.
If driving pleasure is your number one priority, the Boxster is the clear winner.
But the Z4 comes really close as far as handling and performance is concerned, and is significantly cheaper than the Porsche.
Related: How Long Do BMW Z4 Last?
Porsche Boxster vs Mazda Miata
The Mazda MX-5 Miata is the most successful roadster in history.
Ever since it was released in 1989, it’s held the crown as the best handling car you can buy for the money.
The Mazda Miata can last 200,000 – 300,000 miles or 13 – 20 years with only basic maintenance, which is longer than the expected lifespan of the Boxster.
|Porsche Boxster||Mazda MX-5 Miata|
|RepairPal Reliability Rating||2.5/5.0||4.0/5.0|
|RepairPal Reliability Ranking||15th / 17|
Luxury Compact Cars
|8th / 21|
|Average Annual Repair Cost||$952||$429|
|Kelley Blue Book Reliability Score||5.0/5.0||4.5/5.0|
|Edmunds Consumer Review Score||5.0/5.0||4.9/5.0|
|JD Power Quality & Reliability Score||88/100||70/100|
The Mazda Miata is less than half the price of the Boxster so it’s going to be significantly cheaper to maintain over time.
Mazdas also has a very good track record for reliability so maintenance shouldn’t really be much of an issue.
However, the Miata has significantly less power than the Boxster, so it’s not as exciting to drive and the Boxster will easily run laps around it on the track.
There’s no doubt that the Miata ticks all the right boxes and is an excellent yet affordable sports car, but the Boxster has special qualities to it that the MX-5 simply can’t match.
Related: How Long Do Mazda MX-5 Miata Last?
Porsche Boxster vs. Audi TT
The Audi TT is a compact sports car that’s based on the same platform used in the VW Golf and Audi A3.
It’s available either as a 2+2 coupe or a 2-seat soft-top roadster.
The first and second-gen models came in both front and all-wheel drive, while the current third-gen TT is only offered with all-wheel drive.
The Audi TT has the same expected lifespan as the Boxster at 200,000 miles or at least 13 years.
|Porsche Boxster||Audi TT|
|RepairPal Reliability Rating||2.5/5.0||3.0/5.0|
|RepairPal Reliability Ranking||15th / 17Luxury Compact Cars||11th / 21Luxury Compact Cars|
|Average Annual Repair Cost||$952||$924|
|Kelley Blue Book Reliability Score||5.0/5.0||4.9/5.0|
|Edmunds Consumer Review Score||5.0/5.0||5.0/5.0|
|JD Power Quality & Reliability Score||88/100||NA|
The Audi TT uses many of the same components as the VW Golf and Audi A3 so parts are going to be slightly more accessible and cheaper compared to the Boxster.
While the standard TT has less power than the Boxster, the Audi TT RS with its 5-cylinder turbo engine and all-wheel drive is faster in the straight line.
Handling-wise, the Boxster is still going to be better with its mid-engine layout. But it’s also more expensive even when you compare the top-spec GTS 4.0 model to the Audi TT RS.
|Porsche Boxster||BMW Z4||Mazda Miata||Audi TT|
|RepairPal Reliability Rating||2.5/5.0||3.0/5.0||4.0/5.0||3.0/5.0|
|RepairPal Reliability Ranking||15th / 17Luxury Compact Cars||14th / 17Luxury Compact Cars||8th / 21Subcompact Cars||11th / 21Luxury Compact Cars|
|Average Annual Repair Cost||$952||$859||$429||$924|
|Kelley Blue Book Reliability Score||5.0/5.0||4.5/5.0||4.5/5.0||4.9/5.0|
|Edmunds Consumer Review Score||5.0/5.0||4.0/5.0||4.9/5.0||5.0/5.0|
|JD Power Quality & Reliability Score||88/100||75/100||70/100||NA|
|Expected Lifespan (miles)||200k||200k||200k – 300k||200k|
Is the Porsche Boxster Reliable?
The Porsche Boxster has received mixed ratings for reliability over the years although the newer models are much more dependable than the older ones. Despite the mixed reviews, many Boxters have gone on to last a very long time.
Many of the early first-generation models, which were built over a quarter of a century ago, are still being used today. A lot of these older Boxsters are still regularly used as track cars and they just keep on going and going.
Newer Boxsters are extremely well engineered and have even fewer problems than the older models.
If you want to avoid expensive repairs and catastrophic failures, you have to follow the recommended service intervals and have it checked by a Porsche specialist every couple of years.
Our predictions of the Porsche Boxster’s dependability is backed up by the following data:
- According to JD Power’s Vehicle Dependability Study, Porsche is the 7th most reliable brand overall and the 2nd most reliable luxury brand.
- Owner reviews on Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds are overwhelmingly positive and the Boxster consistently gets 5 star ratings.
- Repair Pal gave the Boxter a score of 2.5 / 5.0 for reliability, placing it 15th out of 17 luxury cars.
Reliability Compared to Other Compact Luxury Cars
|Lexus CT200h||4.5 / 5.0|
|Acura ILX||4.5 / 5.0|
|Volvo S40||3.5 / 5.0|
|Audi A3||3.5 / 5.0|
|Cadillac ATS||3.5 / 5.0|
|Volvo C30||3.5 / 5.0|
|Mercedes-Benz CLA250||3.5 / 5.0|
|Lexus HS250h||3.5 / 5.0|
|Volvo C70||3.5 / 5.0|
|Mercedes-Benz A-Class||3.0 / 5.0|
|Mercedes-Benz SLK350||3.0 / 5.0|
|Audi TT Quattro||3.0 / 5.0|
|Audi A3 Quattro||3.0 / 5.0|
|BMW 128i||3.0 / 5.0|
|BMW Z4||3.0 / 5.0|
|Porsche Boxster||2.5 / 5.0|
|Porsche Cayman||2.0 / 5.0|
|BMW 135i||2.0 / 5.0|
|Avg. Luxury Compact Car||3.5 / 5.0|
The Best and Worst Years for the Porsche Boxster
We’ve done some digging to find the best and worst model years of the Porsche Boxster.
Worst Model Year
According to CarComplaints, the 2003 Porsche Boxster is the worst model year because it has the most reported issues.
The 2002 and 2003 Boxsters also had the most number of engine failures.
Porsche switched to the more problematic single-row IMS (Intermediate Shaft Bearing) from the original dual-row design in the early 2000s.
Not all Boxsters made in the early 2000s came with the new IMS bearing though.
It became more common in 2002 models, and then fully transitioned in 2003.
Best Model Year
The third-generation Boxster sold from 2013 to 2016 is what we consider to be the best model years.
This generation of the Boxster doesn’t have many complaints and is also the last to use a naturally aspirated 6-cylinder boxer engine.
The fourth-generation was renamed the 718 Boxster in 2017 and switched over to a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine.
Although it’s faster and gets better mileage, a lot of people don’t really like how the 4-cylinder engine sounds.
To get a 6-cylinder in the 718 Boxster, you’ll have to pay over $100,000 for the GTS 4.0 which was introduced in 2021.
Another good option is the updated 987 Boxster, also known as the 987.2 model, which was introduced in 2009.
These Boxsters came with a completely new engine design which didn’t suffer from either IMS bearing or cylinder bore scoring issues.
The tiptronic automatic transmission was also updated to the more responsive PDK dual-clutch version.
What About Recalls for These Models?
The Porsche Boxster has had a total of 46 recall campaigns since 1997.
You can check if your Porsche Boxster is included in a recall campaign by entering your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on Porsche’s recall lookup site or the NHTSA recall database.
It is important to note that recalls are manufacturing faults repaired at no charge for the consumer.
Here is the total number of recall campaigns for every model year of the Porsche Boxster:
- 2022 Porsche 718 Boxster: 0
- 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster: 2
- 2020 Porsche 718 Boxster: 0
- 2019 Porsche 718 Boxster: 1
- 2018 Porsche 718 Boxster: 2
- 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster: 5
- 2016 Porsche Boxster: 1
- 2015 Porsche Boxster: 2
- 2014 Porsche Boxster: 3
- 2013 Porsche Boxster: 1
- 2012 Porsche Boxster: 1
- 2011 Porsche Boxster: 1
- 2010 Porsche Boxster: 0
- 2009 Porsche Boxster: 0
- 2008 Porsche Boxster: 0
- 2007 Porsche Boxster: 0
- 2006 Porsche Boxster: 0
- 2005 Porsche Boxster: 0
- 2004 Porsche Boxster: 2
- 2003 Porsche Boxster: 3
- 2002 Porsche Boxster: 3
- 2001 Porsche Boxster: 3
- 2000 Porsche Boxster: 3
- 1999 Porsche Boxster: 3
- 1998 Porsche Boxster: 4
- 1997 Porsche Boxster: 6
Porsche Boxster Model Year List
The Porsche Boxster was first sold in 1997 and is currently in its fourth generation.
The first and second-generation models were updated midway through their life cycles. To differentiate the models, a .1 or .2 is added to their model number.
First Generation 986 Boxster (1997 – 2004)
- 1997 Porsche Boxster (986.1)
- 1998 Porsche Boxster
- 1999 Porsche Boxster
- 2000 Porsche Boxster
- 2001 Porsche Boxster
- 2002 Porsche Boxster
- 2003 Porsche Boxster (986.2)
- 2004 Porsche Boxster
Second Generation 987 Boxster (2005 – 2012)
- 2005 Porsche Boxster (987.1)
- 2006 Porsche Boxster
- 2007 Porsche Boxster
- 2008 Porsche Boxster
- 2009 Porsche Boxster (987.2)
- 2010 Porsche Boxster
- 2011 Porsche Boxster
- 2012 Porsche Boxster
Third Generation 981 Boxster (2013 – 2016)
- 2013 Porsche Boxster
- 2014 Porsche Boxster
- 2015 Porsche Boxster
- 2016 Porsche Boxster
Fourth Generation 718 Boxster (2017 – present)
- 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster
- 2018 Porsche 718 Boxster
- 2019 Porsche 718 Boxster
- 2020 Porsche 718 Boxster
- 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster
- 2022 Porsche 718 Boxster
Are Porsche Boxsters Expensive to Maintain?
According to RepairPal Porsche Boxsters cost an average of $952 per year in repairs and maintenance.
Although this appears high, it’s actually lower than the average annual repair cost for all Porsche models combined which is estimated at $1,192 per year.
It’s also comparable to the annual maintenance costs for a typical BMW which is estimated at $968 and Audi which is estimated to be around $987.
|Model||Avg. Annual Repair Cost||Frequency of|
Repairs (per year)
|Probability of |
|Audi TT Quattro||$924||0.5||15%|
|Audi A3 Quattro||$824||1.5||8%|
|Avg. Luxury Compact Car||$801||0.7||11%|
How Long Do the Brakes Last?
The Porsche Boxster’s brake pads typically last between 20,000 to 50,000 miles, so you’ll typically need to replace them every 3 to 4 years.
The frequency of brake pad changes depends entirely on your driving habits. The Boxster is a light sports car so it doesn’t require much braking power to get it to stop or slow down if you’re driving normally on public roads.
- If you drive aggressively and/or regularly take it to the track, you’ll need to replace the pads more often.
- Using high-performance brake pads requires more frequent brake pad changes because they tend to wear out much quicker.
- Brake pads shouldn’t cost more than $200 and there are lots of aftermarket options available.
- Boxsters equipped with PCCB (Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake) use slightly more expensive brake pads but the ceramic brake rotors can last forever (although they cost a few thousand dollars to replace).
How Long Do the Tires Last?
The Porsche Boxster’s rear tires usually last around 15,000 – 20,000 miles while the front tires last about twice as long at 40,000 to 50,000 miles.
Boxsters are usually fitted with high-performance summer tires that are quite sticky but also wear out much faster.
If you regularly take it to the track, you might even struggle to get 5,000 miles out of your tires.
If you don’t really care about performance, you can fit longer lasting tires the next time you have to replace them.
The rear tires are much wider than the fronts, so you can’t rotate them to even out the tire wear.
To get more life out of your tires you should get a proper alignment at least every year and regularly check your tire pressure.
Related: How Long Do Maseratis Last? (12 Important Facts)
How Long Do Porsche Boxster Engines Last?
Porsche Boxster engines can usually last at least 200,000 as long as they’re properly maintained.
Even the older first gen Boxsters with the problematic IMS bearing can last hundreds of thousands of miles once they’ve been fitted with aftermarket bearings.
If you want to get the most out of your Boxster engine, you should look for an independent Porsche specialist who can take good care of your car.
Independent shops not only charge less than the dealership, but are more willing to look for alternative solutions to keep your car running in top condition.
How Long Do the Transmissions Last?
Porsche Boxster transmissions can easily last over 200,000 miles and can even outlive the vehicle when properly maintained. The most reliable and easiest to maintain is the manual transmission.
The tiptronic automatic transmission is also very reliable and has been used in lots of Porsches since the late 1990s. It only needs a fluid change every 90,000 miles to keep it in good condition.
Newer Boxsters use Porsche’s dual-clutch transmission or PDK which requires fluid changes every 120,000 miles or every 12 years, whichever comes first.
Independent Porsche specialists usually recommend doing a fluid change much earlier to make sure the transmission lasts.
It’s certainly much cheaper than paying for a new PDK transmission which can cost around $10,000.
How Long Do Porsche Boxster Batteries Last?
The Porsche Boxster 12V battery should last between 3 – 5 years.
The Boxster’s battery is no different from any other battery you can find at a parts store, you just need to make sure it’s the right size.
A vehicle’s battery life varies depending on many factors such as climate, driving habits, and battery type, among many others.
- Keep your battery tightly fastened: The vibrations of your car can loosen the connections, potentially resulting in short circuits and internal damage.
- Limit short rides: Quick car rides prevent the battery from fully charging.
- Storage: Keep your Porsche Boxster stored indoors to protect it from extreme temperature changes.
- Control Corrosion: Clean the terminals (toothbrush dipped in baking soda and water mixture) and keep them free from build-up.
- Use a battery tender: If you’re storing your Boxster for several months, hook it up to a battery tender to keep the battery fully charged.
How Long Do the Spark Plugs Last?
Spark plug intervals for the Boxster range from 30,000 – 60,000 miles depending on the model year.
Even if you don’t reach 30,000 miles a year, it’s a good idea to change them every 4 – 6 years to make sure they don’t get seized up.
Spark plugs are usually inspected every time you take your car in for routine maintenance. Your mechanic or dealership may recommend a spark plug change if they appear worn out or fouled up even before the recommended service intervals.
Signs of a fouled spark plug include:
- Reduced gas mileage
- Lack of acceleration
- Rough idling
- Hard starts
- Engine misfires
What About Insurance Costs?
The average cost of full comprehensive coverage for a Porsche Boxster is $1,586 per year or around $132 per month.
Insurance costs can vary from person to person; be sure to shop around to find the best potential deal for your Porsche Boxster.
Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Porsche Boxster
- Although it’s a sports car, try to drive as “normal” as possible, this will help keep wear and tear to a minimum.
- Have the car washed regularly to keep rust at bay, especially after exposure to rain and road salt.
- Keep your Boxster stored in a garage to protect it from the elements and bird droppings that can ruin the paintwork.
- Familiarize yourself with the owner’s manual to learn the location of important components, what your vehicle needs and in what quantities, and to understand the symbols and dashboard warning lights.
- If your Boxster needs repairs done, have them carried out asap to prevent it from turning into bigger and more expensive problems.