Okay – maybe the title is a little misleading…”easy” is a very subjective term, but keeping up with your 944 or 924S maintenance isn’t a difficult thing. So here we will look into what it takes to keep your car running well and as dependable as a 30+ year old car can be. We will also assume that the big things are already handled – the car starts, stops, turns and drives as it is supposed to. The various functions work such as windows, air conditioning and heating, door latches and locks, wipers and lights. And you have already taken care of any “neglected maintenance” such as old oil, water pump and belts, battery, etc. The car runs and drives, and you want to keep it that way for a while.
- Keep good records. Make a notebook for your car to record the various milestones in service, problems and regular maintenance. Record each milestone by date and mileage. Be detailed about each entry as your memory will not suffice. Even record things like your oil filter brand, oil brand and viscosity, and anything strange or different that you may find along the way. Take notes on problems when they occur. Don’t trust your memory. A three-ring binder with pockets for your parts and service receipts makes it a one-stop location for all this information.
- Learn how to work on your car yourself, and get some good tools. Hiring out work on your car at labor rates north of $100 an hour is too expensive for our cars. They tend to be relatively simple machines, and there are plenty of print and online resources to help you learn. If you cannot work on your own car, maybe consider something else to drive.
- Address everything that is not right. Little things like switches that don’t work, trim that is worn or missing, or various interior lights that don’t work should be fixed. Normally the fixes are not expensive, so money is normally not the issue. The problem is that when something isn’t working or looking right and you ignore it, you may stop ignoring other more important things. And yes, it happens. Keep it right.
- When something is called for by time or miles, change/fix it. For example, change the oil when you’re supposed to, even if you don’t have the miles on it. Two years on oil with only 3,000 miles isn’t good. And when you change the oil, write the date and miles on the top of the oil filter with a sharpie.
- Come up with a schedule for fluid changes. Transmission, coolant, oil and brake fluid should be changed regularly. Especially the forgotten brake fluid. When you change the brake fluid, make sure not to ignore the clutch fluid bleed. The clutch slave is the lowest part in the clutch/brake hydraulics, so all of the nasty stuff ends up going down there. That is why the slave cylinder tends to go bad. Bleed out the debris, etc. regularly.
- Pay attention to the timing belt, rollers and associated parts. A broken timing belt can result in a ruined engine, so early changes to a relatively cheap timing belt is great insurance. Learn how to do that yourself and save money – it’s not that difficult.
- There is no such thing as “mechanical self-healing.” Don’t think that something has “fixed itself.” If a weird noise comes and goes, that is a warning of a problem. Investigate, identify and resolve.
- If it’s over your head, get help. There’s nothing worse than getting into a difficult job and finding out that you have run out of talent. Have a backup “on call” who can help you when needed, and don’t be afraid to call for help before you break something.
- Avoid “backyard fixes.” Those of us who rescue these cars have spent a load of time reversing out “repairs” that have been attempted by amateurs. Glues, tape, clamps and such that are not part of the original design may be a temporary fix, but they are normally not permanent. If you do a temporary fix, repair it properly as soon as possible.
- Enjoy your car. Take the time to enjoy your car and not worry about a problem that will leave you stranded. That said, you may have a situation that may leave you stranded, so also make sure that you have a “Plan B” should you need it. Roadside assistance plans are handy to have if you need a tow, and the cost per month can be worth it for the peace-of-mind that it affords.
We want to keep them on the road and not be afraid to get in the Porsche and drive it wherever you would like to go. Following these easy rules can help and make your car enjoyable for a long, long time!
Excellent post. But I would highly recommend switching nr 1 and nr 2. Just my opinion 🙂
Not in any real order.
Just how easy/difficult is the timing belt etc. change for the shade tree mechanic/weekend bodger? Specialized tools?
The only special tool that you really need is the tool that holds the balance shaft belt in place to loosen and tighten it. They are available fairly inexpensively, but it is not something that you can get at the parts store for rent – special to these cars. There is a lot of debate on a tensioning tool and whether it is critical, but there is plenty of information out there on how to get proper tension without the tool.
How challenging is the timing belt, etc replacement for the average shade tree mechanic/weekend bodger?