The Porsche Cayenne is an expensive vehicle. Hopefully, the tradeoff for spending so much money on one car would be that the car doesn’t need a lot of maintenance. Does the Cayenne often have problems?
The Porsche Cayenne does not tend to have a lot of problems. However, what problems it does have tend to be very expensive to fix since Cayennes can only be repaired by Porsche repair shops and parts can only be purchased from Porsche. The Cayenne’s most common problems are with its electronics.
What problems should you look out for in a Porsche Cayenne? And how common are they? Keep reading to find out!
Is the Porsche Cayenne Reliable
There are almost zero complaints about any model of the Porsche Cayenne on the internet. There’s a couple of things that this could mean. The first is that the Porsche Cayenne never has any major problems. This is unlikely, as Porsche Cayennes have been recalled at least once, and vehicles that get recalled tend to generate at least a few complaints online under usual conditions.
What is more likely is that people who own Porsche Cayennes choose to report their problems directly to Porsche rather than report them on online message boards or advocacy groups. However, looking into more detailed reports reveals that even if the problems with the Cayenne are severely underreported, it is still a fairly reliable vehicle.
This is true even if you get a used model of the Porsche Cayenne. The reason for this is that most of the serious problems that the Porsche Cayenne faces can be permanently fixed by replacing the affected parts. For instance, older models of the Porsche Cayenne used plastic pipes for their cooling system which ran adjacent to the engine.
It’s kind of surprising that professional engineers thought this would be a good idea—these pipes had a tendency to melt, which caused coolant leaks. However, if this was caught in the vehicle early on, then the pipes could be replaced with more durable ones that wouldn’t have any problems.
This is also true of the Porsche Cayennes transfer case, which had a tendency to break after a few thousand miles, but it can be replaced with a third party transfer case that will last nearly forever, and if you buy a used Porsche Cayenne, there’s a good chance that this repair will already have been done years ago.
This being said, the Porsche Cayenne still has some problems that can occur often enough that you will want to know about them before purchasing one.
Common Problems for the Porsche Cayenne
Some websites have called the Porsche Cayenne the least reliable Porsche vehicle. They might be right about that, but compared to pretty much any other vehicle on the market, the Porsche Cayenne actually has only a very small number of problems.
The most severe problem that it has that we haven’t talked about yet is with its engine. The 2011 Cayenne has the worst of these engine troubles for a couple of reasons, the biggest of which being that the bolts on the inside of the engine are made from aluminum, which can sustain damage or loosen fairly easily.
The NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration) works to aggregate complaints from across the country to keep track of mechanical problems that could potentially be hazardous to drivers. The thing about NHTSA records that makes them useful is that they tend to be fairly mechanically detailed, which allows us to get a good idea of what the problems are and why they happen, alongside information about how common they are.
The NHTSA records show that aside from the issues with aluminum bolts, the engine also tends to have issues with its camshafts, which can be especially bad for the turbo model of the Cayenne, as the Turbo model’s brakes need the camshaft to be functional in order to operate properly.
Fortunately, these problems seem to be largely localized to the 2011 model, and even in that model they aren’t very common.
According to the NHTSA, electrical problems are also fairly common in this vehicle. While these problems can have serious consequences up to and including electrical fires, you’re much more likely to just have to do some minor repairs on the headlights or the speedometer than anything else.
And again, even though the vehicle has these problems sometimes, most Porsche Cayenne owners will never have to deal with anything like this, as the vehicles don’t actually have these problems very often.
The Porsche Cayenne only has a few problems that are actually likely to affect your vehicle mechanically speaking, but the biggest problem with the vehicle is the availability of replacement parts. A common problem that is mentioned in all of the NHTSA reports for the Porsche Cayenne is that even when people bring their vehicle in for repairs, they can’t get the parts that they need to fix the problems.
If you can afford to buy a Porsche, you’ve probably planned ahead so that you can afford to get repairs done on it every once in a while. However, no matter how prepared you are, you won’t be able to get your vehicle back onto the road in a timely manner if the parts you need aren’t in stock.
This not only makes it more difficult to get your vehicle repaired but can also increase the cost significantly if you need to order obscure parts from far away in order to complete the repairs.
And this is unlikely to change any time soon, as Porsches aren’t exactly common vehicles, meaning that even certified Porsche repair shops aren’t incentivized to keep every part that they could possibly need on hand because the parts are expensive and won’t be sold very often, so they will just take up room in the part storage area, unsold.
While the actual mechanical problems with the Cayenne are fairly limited, the consequences of actually encountering these problems can be more serious than they would otherwise be due to parts shortages and the high price of repairs.