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Summary
  • The Porsche Cayenne got a 1.5 out of 5.0 reliability score on RepairPal, ranking the lowest among the 14 luxury midsize SUVs reviewed on the site.
  • It also has the tendency to require costly repairs more often than other SUVs in the same segment.
  • Some of the most commonly reported issues by Cayenne owners include cooling system problems (2004 model), drivetrain problems (2012 model), and engine problems (2011 model).

If you want a luxurious SUV that goes fast and handles well on and off the road, then the Porsche Cayenne is meant for you. It packs plenty of engine power and agility that are almost on par with that of a sports car. Its newest models come with cutting-edge infotainment and safety systems, while older units can prove good bargains. After all, CarEdge.com reports that it only depreciates by 53% after five years.

Are Porsche Cayenne Reliable SUVs?

The Porsche Cayenne is considered below average in terms of reliability. RepairPal gave a reliability rating of 1.5 out of 5.0 to the Porsche Cayenne, putting it dead last among 14 luxury midsize SUVs. The Cayenne has poor ownership costs, needing repairs more often than other SUVs. It also tends to develop serious problems that cost a lot to fix. Despite the vehicle’s low reliability score, many Cayenne drivers on forums have great reviews about their SUVs.

No matter the model year, your Cayenne can last well beyond its service life if you take good care of it. Follow the maintenance schedule and never disregard  Porsche Cayenne parts once they start acting up.

Top Porsche Cayenne Problems

The Porsche Cayenne has enjoyed continuous production since 2002 and is now in its third generation. However, some of its model years have turned out to be less reliable than others. Depending on the specific year, certain problems may show up with greater frequency.

A model year comparison by CarComplaints.com showed that the highest number of complaints went to the 2011 Porsche Cayenne. However, the site considered the 2004 Cayenne as the worst model year because it has problems that show up earlier than normal. Most of them deal serious damage that requires costly repairs.

Here are the most common Porsche Cayenne problems that your SUV may develop:

Cooling System Troubles

Like other first-generation Porsche Cayenne (2003-2010), the 2004 model year doesn’t lack engine power. Its powerful engine requires an efficient cooling system to keep it from overheating.

Unfortunately, some drivers of the 2004 Porsche Cayenne have complained that its plastic coolant pipes couldn’t handle high temperatures. These pipes are located over the starter, and they pass through the engine.

2004 Porsche Cayenne S from Wikimedia
Some drivers of the 2004 Porsche Cayenne have complained that its plastic coolant pipes couldn’t handle high temperatures. Image source: Wikimedia.

An extremely hot engine can melt the plastic and cause the pipe to fracture and leak. The ensuing coolant loss will make the engine much more likely to overheat and damage itself. And if the leaking coolant reaches the starter, it can damage the ignition part.

Replacing the plastic coolant pipes with heat-resistant aluminum pipes usually fixes this problem. If you’re planning to get a used Porsche Cayenne, always check its cooling system to see whether it has plastic or aluminum pipes.

Similar issues can crop up in other model years. Both the 2006 and 2013 Porsche Cayennes also received several complaints about their plastic coolant pipes melting and leaking coolant.

Drivetrain Problems

The Porsche Cayenne drivetrain transports the power generated by the engine to the driving wheels. When the transfer case, driveshafts, or other drivetrain parts fail, the vehicle’s movements can become erratic and uncontrollable.

Several drivers have reported that the 2012 Porsche Cayenne transfer case can break without warning. Replacing it is costly, and the new part may also break later on and another replacement.

Another possible problem seen in some units is the 2004 Porsche Cayenne driveshaft losing its center carrier bearing. It doesn’t matter if the rest of the driveshaft is fine; once the bearing goes, the entire part becomes useless and must get replaced.

Several owners of the 2008 Cayenne reported that the driveshaft failed with just 30,000 miles. This issue can make their SUVs dangerous to drive. Speeding up their vehicle caused the bad driveshaft to grind, shake, and squeal loudly. Most owners resolved the issue by replacing the faulty driveshaft.

Engine Problems

The Porsche Cayenne received an extensive redesign in 2011. As the first representative of a new generation, many of its units had problems with their engine and other crucial parts.

Several owners of the 2011 Porsche Cayenne have raised complaints about the engine dying while they were driving. Sometimes, the check engine light would illuminate to warn them that something had gone wrong. This is usually followed by the engine making loud noises for several minutes before it fails for good. If the engine dies before the driver could get the Cayenne out of traffic, the loss of power could lead to an accident.

Other engine problems can crop up in various Porsche Cayennes. Several owners of the 2010 model year have complained that the SUV’s engine often turned itself off abruptly. There was no warning whatsoever. Some of them also reported that the wheel locked up and moved uncontrollably.

Familiarize yourself with the problems that can show up in the Cayenne model year you own or plan to get. Read up on what parts are likely to fail early and the best way to handle them. With timely repairs and maintenance, you can improve your Porsche Cayenne’s reliability.

About The Author
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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