What the Heck is a PPI (Pre-Purchase Inspection)?

Posted by: on March 20, 2018

I’ve been hearing a lot of questions between members at ORPCA events, socials, auto-x, etc, about what to look for in this Porsche or that Porsche. Some have asked if they should spend the money to have a vehicle inspected before purchasing. So, let’s talk PPI’s (Pre-Purchase Inspections).

We all know that a Porsche is more than a vehicle, it’s an investment! And just like when buying a home, it’s highly recommended that you have a trained professional inspect the vehicle for any outstanding issues, deferred maintenance, or signs of tomfoolery. While I won’t cover every detail of a PPI, a general scope here will give you a solid idea as to the minimum of what you should expect to have covered:
— The Porsche specialist should drive the vehicle to check for any oddities during the road test (engine, transmission, brakes, wheel balance, alignment, etc.)
— With the vehicle on a lift, the technician should check for any fluid leaks (oil, gear/transmission, coolant if not aircooled, brake, power steering, etc.)
— Check for the conditions of fluids wherever possible
— Check for rubber related issues, often due to age; belts, mounts, seals, gaskets, boots, bushings, tire tread depth/condition/wear pattern/manufacture date
— Check outer brake pad depths at the minimum
— Check/test battery and charging system (i.e. alternator/generator)
— Check for any obvious signs of paint and/or body work
— Check other systems like lights, wipers, HVAC, radio, etc.
— Check electronic fault codes on ‘95+ vehicles (also check for signs of mechanical overrevs on 996/997’s, as well as camshaft deviation % on 986/996/997 due to a possible timing chain system issues)
— Compression test at the minimum on aircooled Porsches
— Check for any notorious and well-known issues specific to the exact model (this could even include cutting open the oil filter on an M96-engine’d 986/996/997 to check for metal and plastic debris from a failing IMS bearing or timing chain guide rails)

If the vehicle is a rare variant or special edition, making sure that the “numbers” (VIN, engine, etc.) match is very worthwhile, especially if you’re looking at spending top dollar for the vehicle.

Information gleaned from the PPI can help you budget for current and future repairs, as well as help you know if the vehicle asking price is fair, inflated, and/or should be adjusted based on PPI findings. After all, this is an investment you’re purchasing.

Please feel welcome to post here with any specific questions.

Jeremy Williams is the Oregon PCA Technical editor. He co-owns Matrix Integrated Inc. (Matrix Integrated Inc.) with his brother Justin. Jeremy can be reached at techeditor@oregonpca.org

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