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Porsche Battery Failure after 2.5 years
Jeff (Philly) - Thursday, 17 April, 2014, at 11:25:44 am
My battery died for no reason and I had driven the car the day before. My 2012 Boxster is in third year of warranty so after Porsche road side assistance gave me a jump I drove straight to the dealer without turning off the ignition. They tested it and found no shorts or anything except that the battery was dead. Then they told me that it wasn't covered by my warranty, the warranty on the battery is only one year. I was told I was already into $72 for the testing and a new battery (Interstate) was $215 plus installation. I was not really in a position to go shopping for a battery so I ended up paying $350 plus tax to get back on the road. I did call Pep Boys and their price for a replacement battery was $150.

They didn't say it outright but I gathered they didn't think much of the factory battery. This is my fourth Boxster and I never had a battery problem before.

The only good news was that I got my car washed.

Jeff Benson:

2016 Boxster, See it here: www.greatvalleyhouse.com/Boxster

First car: 1952 Hudson Hornet

First roadster: 1962 Austin Healy 3000 III

Still have: Computer free 1974 MGB

Previous Porsches since 1982: 924, 944, 944S, and four Boxsters; 97, 03, 08 & 2012
Re: Porsche Battery Failure after 2.5 years
TimD - Thursday, 17 April, 2014, at 11:50:00 am
The battery in my 12 Cayman was not a maintenance free one although it looked like one. There was a label over the caps and I didn't realize it until I read an article on one of my bulletin boards. I pulled of the label and found that the water levels were almost to the plates. Two trips to the dealer previously for service and they never looked at the fluid levels in the battery! It took 20 oz of distilled water to bring the water to the correct level.
A couple of data points..
MikenOH - Thursday, 17 April, 2014, at 1:16:39 pm
When we traded our '99' and '06', both had the original batteries in them that were roughly 6 years old when the cars were traded and nearly equal mileage(40K). Both cars were kept on trickle chargers most of the time.

Can't remember if the '99' had a maintenance free battery, but the '06' had one that had the same plastic tape of the cell caps as yours had, even though it needed water. I went through the manual and there was no mention of service the battery and when I asked the dealer at the time about it, the response was "maintenance free"--nice sad smiley.

Do you use a battery tender? I've been using them for years--miata/corvettes in addition to Porsches--and they have worked like a charm.

One last thing--the situation could be worse; our 08 E90 BMW has a battery closing in on 7 years old and when the car started turning over slowly during the winter, I started the search for a replacement battery for it.
Well, BMW--in their wisdom--has made the battery replacement more than just plug and play. The new battery needs to be registered in the car's ECU via a cable connection to reportedly tell the alternator that it is new (and don't overcharge it?). From the various BMW forums I went to, this is a step you need to do and if you don't the life of the battery may be compromised. The figure I heard from the dealer for the battery/ registration process was in the $450 range; here's a thread on how it works in a BMW:
Re: Porsche Battery Failure after 2.5 years
Jeff (Philly) - Thursday, 17 April, 2014, at 1:45:24 pm
I never looked at the battery to see if it was maintenance free or not. I took it in for service every year and assumed I did not have to worry about such things. In regards to using a battery maintainer, I use them on my 74 MGB and my lawn tractor but I drive the Boxster constantly (about every 2 or 3 days) so it is impractical.

I was also thinking that had I replaced the battery myself there might have been computer issues. I did notice that the clock was off by four hours when driving to the dealer so I guess it stopped.

When I had the problem it did try to turn over a few times and when I did that either the head lights or running lights would flash. I supposed that was supposed to tell me something.
Re: Porsche Battery Failure after 2.5 years
db997S - Thursday, 17 April, 2014, at 3:04:25 pm
My '09 997 has had the orginal batter since new (4 1/2 years). It's a daily driver (4 miles each way to work), so lots of short trips. On roadtrips, have day-time-running lights, i-Pod, blue tooth, radar detector and portable nav system all feeding off the battery at the sametime. After this long, cold winter, I decided to simply change it instead of having it die at the most inappropriate time. I've never had a battery die within four years, let alone after only 2 1/2. Before your battery goes off the one-year warranty, bring it to the shop and ask them to check the amps and volts to see if it's still strong. If not, then there has to be an issue with the car that they can hopefully find while you are still under the four-year warranty..
Good news update from Porsche NA. smiling smiley
Jeff (Philly) - Thursday, 17 April, 2014, at 5:16:11 pm
I decided to call Porsche Customer Service to discuss my battery problem and warranty. The lady was very knowledgeable and has convinced me that now that I am retired and driving less I need to use a battery maintainer. She said I should be driving on average 50 miles a day/6000 mile a year to keep the battery healthy. She asked me what I paid for the new battery and I gave the $350 figure I paid. She said "because I am a loyal customer driving my fourth Boxster" that she is sending me a $350 voucher, good for a year, that I can use on service, tech equipment or a Porsche battery maintainer.

How about that?. cool smiley
Very nice! ...
Pedro (Odessa, FL) - Thursday, 17 April, 2014, at 6:24:58 pm
... that's savvy customer service.
It may make you into a 5-time Boxster owner some day winking smiley
Happy Boxstering,

Pedro Bonilla
1998 Boxster 986 - 311,000+ miles: [www.PedrosGarage.com]
PCA National Club Racing Scrutineer - PCA National HPDE Instructor - PCA Technical Committee (Boxster/Cayman)

Racecar spelled backwards is Racecar

"Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting" ... Steve McQueen as Michael Delaney in "LeMans"

"If you wait, all that happens is that you get older"... Mario Andretti

"Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose" ... Ayrton Senna
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/17/2014 06:35PM by Jeff (Philly). (view changes)
If you go that route, you'll find
Guenter in Ontario - Thursday, 17 April, 2014, at 7:10:17 pm
that not only will you like the look of those vents, but the performance and handling has improved with the 981.
Jeff (Philly)

Jeff, If you go that route, give me a shout. I just love your Chocolate Treat.
I would like to pass it on to someone who really wants it rather than the dealer. My warranty expires in Sept 2015 so I would make a move around then. Maybe I will configure and order my next car from the factory, probably some version of metallic brown. So far the newer brownish colors I've seen on the Porsche web site are not as good as the Macadamia Metallic. My car currently has 8300 miles on it, it might make 10,000 by summer 2015. Just barely broken in.
Porsche browns
Guenter in Ontario - Friday, 18 April, 2014, at 7:22:38 pm
When you're looking at the colours on the website, 2D is a pretty poor representation. If you can see the 3D, they look closer to the real thing.

From the pictures of your car, I know it's a really rich looking combination that you have. Have you seen a Mahogany metallic on an actual car? I've seen one at the dealer. I have a feeling you'd like that. (The actual colour looks much better than even the 3D rendering on the website.)

Weather's getting nice. It would be worth a topless trip to check one out at a dealer that has one in stock. winking smiley
Here's an interesting brown that caught my eye:
jg wnc - Saturday, 19 April, 2014, at 3:12:36 pm

Cognac Metallic is a Panamera color. I'd love to see one in the flesh, but none at the dealers in ATL.
Wondering what you think of the colour.

Besides, you don't want to sell your car with less than 10K miles on it. That could lead to battery problems. winking smiley
Shows it never hurts to ask.
Guenter in Ontario - Thursday, 17 April, 2014, at 7:08:00 pm
My experience in dealing with Porsche has been the same, although I've never had to call Porsche Canada.

Of course I haven't had any problems aside from the paint finish coming off the climate control of my '06 Boxster.

Good to hear it worked out for you.
If you drive ...
Pedro (Odessa, FL) - Friday, 18 April, 2014, at 8:06:29 am
... 50 miles every day = 18,250 miles/year
50 miles every weekday = 13,000 miles/year
She was not a math major winking smiley
Happy Boxstering

Pedro Bonilla
1998 Boxster 986 - 311,000+ miles: [www.PedrosGarage.com]
PCA National Club Racing Scrutineer - PCA National HPDE Instructor - PCA Technical Committee (Boxster/Cayman)

Racecar spelled backwards is Racecar

"Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting" ... Steve McQueen as Michael Delaney in "LeMans"

"If you wait, all that happens is that you get older"... Mario Andretti

"Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose" ... Ayrton Senna
That ...
Pedro (Odessa, FL) - Friday, 18 April, 2014, at 4:18:13 pm
... makes more sense.
When I see numbers that are out-of-whack it bothers me.
Must be the OCD and the Engineer in me.
Happy Boxstering,

Pedro Bonilla
1998 Boxster 986 - 311,000+ miles: [www.PedrosGarage.com]
PCA National Club Racing Scrutineer - PCA National HPDE Instructor - PCA Technical Committee (Boxster/Cayman)

Racecar spelled backwards is Racecar

"Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting" ... Steve McQueen as Michael Delaney in "LeMans"

"If you wait, all that happens is that you get older"... Mario Andretti

"Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose" ... Ayrton Senna
It may well be your low usage but....
grant - Friday, 18 April, 2014, at 8:24:28 am
I dont accept that answer or those numbers at all. The key is to have a few long trips to fully charge the battery. 50 miles /day is vastly more than i put on any of my cars thee days and my batteries last a long time. But i avoid short trips and try to do a 60 mile round trip at least once a week. The track car gets that every two-four weeks off season, and the battery is fine.

If your battery is losing a full charge in less than 2-3 weeks, something else is wrong.



Jeff got me thinking. What to do with an aging batteries?
Bobtesa - Thursday, 17 April, 2014, at 8:08:20 pm
My 2008 bought in the Spring 2009 has a 5 year old battery. I use a trickle charger and keep the distilled water at the correct level. However,

What do others do as they approach the reasonable limits of a battery? Replace it a year or maybe two early just to be safe? Or, wait until it goes out?

Are batteries all or none, or do they give some warning so you aren't stuck in a lurch?

Can I install a new battery myself in my Boxster? I know in other cars its simple, but do I need to reset something the in CPU when a new battery is connected? If not, what about this: I can buy a new battery and keep it in the truck with some distilled water and a few tools. Then whenever and where ever the battery goes out, I can pop a new one in. I wouldn't do that with a newer battery, but with a 5 year old battery, is this a reasonable strategy?

1999 Arctic Sivler/black/black (sold)
2008s Silver/black/black - so predictable
2011 Outback
8/24/2011 first Grandson
The Porsche NA lady said that the newer cars with more electronic stuff were more demanding on the battery. For my model year (2012) she said life expectancy is 2-3 years (Wow). I had a 2008 and never had a problem so I wouldn't do any prep work on the possibility of your battery dying, just deal with it when and if it happens. The 800-Porsche road side assistance was on site in less than 15 minutes to get me started, then you can go get help from Porsche, Pep Boys or whatever.

I do not know what the computer impact is so maybe someone else can comment on that like Pedro.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/17/2014 08:29PM by Jeff (Philly). (view changes)
We were on a weekend get-away. I had noticed the car turning over a little slower in the mornings for a couple of days. Just thought maybe it was because it was getting colder out. Then on the Saturday morning, the engine turned over reeaaaallllly slowly and just caught. After starting it, we all drove to a Tim's for breakfast and I parked the car nose pointing down hill - just in case. When I came out. The engine just tried to turn once and that was it.

So, I did up my seatbelt, turned the ignition on, pushed in the clutch with the shifter in 2nd gear and let the car roll down the short hill. Popped the clutch and had the car running. (I'd love to see someone try that with PDK.) Then I drove over to the nearest Canadian Tire Store and fortunately they had a battery that fit my Boxster. Here's the link to the replacement. A few of the pictures aren't showing up any more, but there's enough so you get the idea.

From what I've been told, with the 981's you now have to program the car to recognize the new battery so it doesn't get over charged. I'll have to see if I can find out if you could put a new battery in and at least be able to start the car and then have a mechanic do the recognition part with their computer.
It sounds like I should get a little warning with slow start ups, so I can wail to till the battery gets close to gone and have time to replace it. Hopefully, with a 2008 I can to it myself w/o having to talk to the cpu.
It sounds like I should get a little warning with slow start ups, so I can wail to till the battery gets close to gone and have time to replace it. Hopefully, with a 2008 I can to it myself w/o having to talk to the cpu.

I'd say if the car seems a little slow in starting a couple of times, just go and get a new battery.
Re: Porsche Battery Failure after 2.5 years
San Rensho - Friday, 18 April, 2014, at 12:04:48 am
I'm sorry, but what's the big deal. Dead battery, pep boys has a Bosch perfect replacement for about $100. There,was that so hard?
I have the service records for my Boxster, and the battery was replaced in November 2011. The original in service date for the car was April 2010. I don't know the detailed history as to how often the car was driven, but it was kept in Scottsdale so there was no seasonal storage. If I can get a replacement for $100 to $150,I think I'll replace the battery before storing the car in 2015 just to be safe. This has been a useful topic for the new Boxster owner.
Ignoring the bad battery out of the box, so so speak, the problem is a new car gets started and driven for just sometimes just seconds as it is moved around the lot or from the lot to the showroom or back to the lot again. Even if it gets taken for a test drive the odds are the drive doesn't last long enough to recharge the battery. This is wear and tear on the battery.

Second the replacement battery can die at any time. I had an Interstate battery installed in the 996 -- to replace an Interstate that was in the car would I bought it (used) -- and it lasted only 7 months. This replacement battery was covered by a battery warranty and was replaced at no charge.

Third, if you lock the car the power drain is very low. On the order of several 10s of milliamps.

What often happens is the owner starts the engine but doesn't drive the car very long. The starting depletes the battery. Not much but some. Then the car sits and while the power drain is low it is not zero. Then the engine gets started again and again the car doesn't get driven very long. A few of these then the car gets driven long enough the battery gets recharged, topped up. But the damage has been done.

Repeat the above a few more times and the battery is close to its end.

I dislike battery maintainers. I dislike having to do anything special with a car when I end a trip or before I begin a trip. But if one can't drive the car very often or can't (or won't) drive the car long enough to replenish the battery after an engine start, then a good battery maintainer will help keep the battery alive longer than it would live otherwise. It might not have the the same lifetime as a battery in a car that is used regularly nd driven a good amount of time per start but it will last longer.

If one doesn't want the hassle of a battery maintainer and can't use the car often and keep the battery up then budget for a new battery every so often. I remember years ago shortly after I bought my 2002 Boxster new I had a chance to buy a very nice very low miles 968. The owner (a woman) didn't drive the car very much and the battery would be die. The dealer replaced the battery for her free of charge every time but the salesman pleaded with me to express an interest in the car as he thought the owner might be agreeable to selling after the umpteenth battery replacement. I was tempted but was reluctant to buy a 968 and subject it to the winters there in the mid-west.
I have had pretty good luck with my batteries on my 02 S
jg wnc - Friday, 18 April, 2014, at 1:25:48 pm
OEM batter lasted until 1/19/2007 - just a bit of 5 years. The car was a daily driver at the time and got plenty of time to warm up and charge the battery.

I replaced it with an Optima red top battery at that time which is showing no signs of losing its oomph. The cost of the battery at that time was $154.95, plus I had to buy the mounting plate. Since 2008, I have been working from home, so the car is only averaging 5-6k miles per year, so I keep it on a maintainer most of the time. I am not sure what an Optima costs now, but I would not hesitate to buy another one.
Re: Porsche Battery Failure after 2.5 years
KevinR-MedinaOhio - Saturday, 19 April, 2014, at 10:42:34 am
According to traffic on the other P-car boards, the default battery (Molle?) is not that great, and certainly not maintenance free. When I started having troubles with it last year, I popped the covers on it and found the cells almost try. I put water in them, but by then it was too late. It completely died just before I was to leave for Porsches to Ohio, and I missed the event. angry smiley

I replaced it w/ an Interstate ($150), bought a Load Tester ($55 from Amazon; best investment ever), and life is again good.

Driving a new-to-me '09S in Aqua Blue Metallic. It does .5 past light speed. I made the Kessel run in less than 12-parsecs.
Motto: If you have your top up, that storm outside had better have a name!
Motto 2: Having the top up on a convertible is an oxymoron. Don't be a (oxy)moron.
It tested well on a load test. I figured it was wise to not press my luck. I replaced it with the same. Always use the P battery maintainer.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/20/2014 10:12PM by Tony in Whittier. (view changes)
Re: Porsche Battery Failure after 2.5 years
Jim in Iowa - Sunday, 20 April, 2014, at 7:01:18 pm
In the owners pack for the 2014, there's a sheet specifically recommending the use of a battery maintainer (the Porsche-branded version of a CTEK 3300).

Battery maintainers are far more particular about state of charge than the car itself. After returning from the Keystone Parade, with three stops for gas and food, almost 900 miles, the battery maintainer though the battery still needed a top-off.

Parasitic loads are higher than ever, a good maintainer is the way to go.
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