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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Guys,

Seriously contemplating buying a used (<7,000 miles) F430 Spider. My first Ferrari. Intend to drive (I mean DRIVE) the car. Maybe 7k -10k miles a year... and own the car for the rest of my life. Just curious what I am getting into from a cost of maintenance perspective... any advice from F430 owners?

What is regular scheduled maint? What can I expect in annual maint costs? Fluid Changes? Timing belts? Clutches? What does Ferrari recommend... and what do you ACTUALLY do for servicing your vehicle? What are ball park costs on these services? (Will need this data to get final approval from the CFO.. (a.k.a. the Mrs.).

thx,
coffeeis4closers
 

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I would tell you to check the buyer's guides but I don't think we've got one here for the F430. I'm sure some of the other members could lend a hand.
 

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Maintenance costs are not so bad as compared to Lamborghini's prices considering the same looks you get driving both, yet you get better performance from your Ferrari.

The main costs you have to worry about are the major services (15K,30K miles or every 3 years) because of the complexity of the work requiring hours since it is an engine out service. Depending on which shop you bring it to, either an independent or an official Ferrari dealer, this would cost around $6-8K in the USA.

Other than that, normal oil change which you can perform yourself, or have others do it for you for a couple of benjamins. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Monza. What does a 15K or 30K service entail? Fluid changes are simple, but what could an engine (or car) need at 15K miles that requires it to be completely removed from the vehicle? (Obviously my naivete as a first time Ferrari buyer are starting to show here...). I need an education.

Is there any documentation from Ferarri on what the regular service requirements are for the F430? What about a shop/service manual?


Cheers,
coffeeis4closers
 

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Thanks Monza. What does a 15K or 30K service entail? Fluid changes are simple, but what could an engine (or car) need at 15K miles that requires it to be completely removed from the vehicle? (Obviously my naivete as a first time Ferrari buyer are starting to show here...). I need an education.

Is there any documentation from Ferarri on what the regular service requirements are for the F430? What about a shop/service manual?


Cheers,
coffeeis4closers

These aren't BMW's. The raw, uncompromising engineering of Ferrari cars is focused on performance, and not longevity or ease of service. That's not to say that they are not durable and reliable, the quality alone adds to that, they are just designed and built with the expectation that the cars will be maticulously maintained and cared for by a qualified technician. The purchase of a Ferrari doesn't end when you sign the title. It will last the duration of your ownership.

As for taking the engine out, the cars that require that type of service, like my car, don't require real major engine maintenence or to be rebuilt, its just that the few parts you need to replace are in such an area that taking the engine out is the easiest way to get to them. On a 512TR, it is a major undertaking.

I'm doing an engine out service(cambelts) on mine right now and my car only has 7k miles on it. I'm a trained and experienced tech and don't recommend this to the average wrench, but I must say it has been nothing but a pleasure completely dismantling the whole rear of my car. Except for the harness(which was obviously designed by monkeys) everything is fairly straight forward. I am always apprehensive about messing with body panels. I know mechanics, but sheet medal(and fiberglass) are still foreign to me, but even the rear facia and decklid came off without a hitch. It is going very well.

I deffinately don't recommend buying any Ferrari of which you cannot or will not maintain it to the highest degree. They deserve it, and you deserve it too.

If you do decide to buy a 430, you will not regret it. I think Porsche's slogan is "No substitute", but really, that is the deffinition of a Ferrari. There are alot of amazing cars these days, so I and most on this site respect your interest in a genuine Ferrari.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks Firebanshee and Boxer. As soon as my paid membership posts I'll check out the documentation. I am approaching my first Ferrari with many of Firebanshee's points in mind... I guess these are both the reasons I am attracted to (and doing my homework on) my first Ferrari purchase. By way of background... my father is a VERY skilled machinist/engineer and performance auto enthusiast and I have learned what I can over the years from him (e.g. I can blueprint an engine and I have at my disposal milling machines, boring bars, hones, cnc machinery, etc.). Given my background, and the machine shop which I have access to I am not daunted by working on my own vehicle. I guess my question is really something deeper in the vain of my own education... WHAT is it exactly that would cause an engine to need the type of maintenance suggested in these threads? And would an F430 V8 truly require timing chain changes every 15k? While I respect that Ferraris are truly race cars that are used on public roads and will require attention and maintenance above the norm for this reason... I guess I would still expect more "longevity/durability" given what Honda and BMW get out of similarly complex variable timing OHC engines. Likewise, GM is generating alot of usable torque and horsepower from the LS7 (granted it is a much simpler OHV V8 design) yet Chevy does not even mention timing chain replacment in its sevice schedule. I am NOT trying to start a flame thread here. I am considering buying a Ferrari and I just want to be an informed buyer before I jump in (e.g. I consider myself financially succesful in life, but I do not have unlimited funds like many Ferrari owners so I'd like to know what I am getting into.) NOTE: I have built engines for my father that needed re-building after less than 2,000 rpms... (e.g. race prep dragster engines turn less than 2,000 rpms in their single pass in the qtr mile)... but this is a totally different ball of wax. Also - as I understand it, the F430 uses timing chains (the 360 Modena used belts)... so stretching in theory should not be as *much* of an issue. Any thoughts?

Thanks again. P.S. I am thinking of black with tan leather.
 

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The reason I am changing my belts and tensioners is because it is better to change a belt before it snaps, or jumps cog due to tensioner failure or fatigue, resulting in valve and piston contact, or basically CEF. I trust that the engineers know the intervals pretty well, and they even revise them as time goes on and they learn more about the car.

As for how long the cam belts actually last is something I don't ever want to find out.:D Although 3-years or 3,000 miles does seem a little extreme.

As for the 430, I don't believe a 430 requires as much service per mile as my car, a 512TR, and as boxer said, the motor doesn't require removal for any normal service interval, which is the bulk of the cost for people who cannot perform the service themselves.

Anyway, lets get to the meat and potatoes of why Ferraris are generally more maintenance intensive.

First of all, they are expensive and depriciation is always a concern. The more you keep it tip top, the more value it will hold. Documentation is key here, even if you do the work yourself, keep all receipts and a dated log of what you do to the car.

Secondly, some of the service intervals are not to blame for costs, but the parts themselves are very expensive, and a the little things can add up to a staggering bill.

Third, alot of Ferraris are older, because people love them, and don't care how old they are. Well, time is one of the harshest elements on a car. Rubber components have a very short bench life, even if they are never used.
Even though all cars need rubber components replaced from time to time, they don't cost as much as Ferrari parts, and just because a car is older and less valuable, maintenance costs never really go down.

The real reason though, that Ferraris have the rigoris service schedule, is their inherent designs. Companies like Honda and BMW sell so many cars, and have so much money, resources, and employees, that they can afford to spend as much money as they wish to test, study, and refine their parts and munufacturing abilities. These companies have to invest in their reliability. They sell cars based on it, and owe their sucess to it, and the billions of people who buy these cars rely on them to get to work, and pick up the kids, and get where they need to be, ect.....

On the other hand you have Ferrari. A company who was in financial despair for the greater part of the 20th century. Fiat could barely even afford to keep Ferrari S.p.A. afloat. All their money was invested back into their racing division, Scuderia F1, the most expensive race team on the planet. But, Ferrari has to invest in racing. They sell cars based on it, and owe their sucess to it, and the few people lucky enough to buy one, rely on them to be the fastest cars, the most beautiful cars, and the most exiting cars, ect....

There are no flaws in the way that Ferraris are made. Just different intentions.

With that said, the Ferraris of late are getting better and better as Ferrari becomes more and more successful and invests into their manufacturing processes, which they have done much of in the last 8 or so years.

Just buy the car.:D The first time you hear that engine start to breath heavily like a wild bull, snorting through its nostrels, readying itself for that impending burst of power, you will forget all about service this and maintenance that. I gaurantee it.
 

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Firebanshee, that was a beautiful story, and you hit the nail right on the head.
Couldn't agree more. I really enjoy reading all of Firebanshees posts, they are so well thought out, incredibly informative, very well written and a pleasure to read.
 

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Hi coffeeis4closers,

I understand your concerns and coming from a similar financial background where money does not grow on trees (well not the ones in my garden anyway), I'd like to make a couple of comments.

1. Forums like these will give you a tremendous amount of information and if you do the research you can get a very good estimate of cost of ownership. Use the FerrariLife documentation, it is excellent.
2. Ferrari's are works of art. They're not that fragile anymore and they can be used everyday, but it requires commitment in terms of servicing, and if something breaks it's an expensive repair usually. Like Firebanshee said, Ferrari are trying to build something special in a tiny factory. You can't compare an F430 which sells around 8,000 in its lifetime to, say, a BMW M3 which will sell 100,000. The amount of investment in the M3 is much larger but the return is also much higher. It is not just Ferrari, of course. Lamborghinis, Zondas, Aston Martins, and so on - all these cars require special attention.
3. Although Ferrari maintenance is not for the faint-hearted, it is NOT the major component of ownership cost. It is surprising to me that people keep on focusing on things like the cost of a service but forget about depreciation. If you buy a BMW M6 in the UK, you will write off around 35% of the value of the car in 1 year. Similarly, if you buy a new Ferrari V12, be prepared to lose half your money in 2 years' time. That is the price of owning the latest and greatest.

The car you are thinking of buying is the F430. If you are worried about servicing cost, I think you haven't done the math correctly. At the moment the 360 Modena is close to bottoming out in depreciation and you will lose far less money if you buy a 360 and drive it for 3 years than if you buy an F430 for 3 years. Use that 'saving' to justify the servicing cost and you'll be laughing! Seriously, as a fresh first-time Ferrari owner myself (a 2000 550 Maranello), I recommend you step into a model which is not currently produced (360 is a suggestion but there are plenty of other candidates) to give yourself a chance to enjoy it. You can't buy a latest model Ferrari whilst worrying about the cost of a service or you're likely to get hurt.

In a nutshell: Ferrari ownership is worth every penny. But make sure you spend your pennies wisely.

[Edit: Sorry, I did not see your comment about owning the car for the rest of your life. If you're serious about this, you can consider two options:

1. Wait two to three years and buy the F430 of your dreams but have the first 3 years of driving for free (compared to buying now)
2. Accept the current price, don't think about depreciation, and just look at the running cost. The F430 won't be much more expensive than the 360 to run.

However, you have to consider you will not see the car in the same light after owning it for a couple of years. You might be lusting after the successor....]


Onno



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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks JazzyO and Firebanshee. Great comments and feedback. Given all my analysis and your feedback, I am actually thinking that I will wait a few years until the F430 Spider is out of production and the cost of ownership falls to current 360 Modena levels. When does the production run on F430s come to an end? (I have been told that they have already taken all orders on the vehicle and are not making any more... but will be the final year of delivery and replacement by the succesor model?)

I take Firebanshee's view on getting to know the machine through performing your own maintenance... even if I were the Sultan of Brunei... I'd still go this route. I just consider it a rite of manhood... though shalt know your machine.

I am likely (and somewhat capable) of most of the repairs I see... but still need to do more reserach into Ferarri error codes, computer diagnostics and programming, and OBD I and/or OBD II. I hate to think that Ferarri dealerships/techs would have a monopoly on servicing the vehicle andx that I cold not perform upgrades/fixes. Not saying I would always do it on my own... but nice to know that I have the option of doing it myself. Any of you guys use computer analysis tools on your F430? If so which ones?

Cheers,
coffeeis4closers
 

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Just buy the car.:D The first time you hear that engine start to breath heavily like a wild bull, snorting through its nostrels, readying itself for that impending burst of power, you will forget all about service this and maintenance that. I gaurantee it.
Great story, couldn't agree more, spent a memorable 30 seconds with a 430 in a tunnel last weekend.... made me miss the next exit I was supposed to take...

BTW "wild bull" is supposed to be used for the "other" cars... might "wild horse" be a good alternative...;)
 

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It's all about your situation - C4Cs (your name is way too long! ;))

For instance, even if I had the knowledge, I simply have no way of working on my 550. I'm never in the country, and I don't own a garage!

I think Firebanshee and d1ablo have got a point, but you just need to make sure that it doesn't end in tears. Make sure you can afford it, and THEN don't think about it.

Also, if you're new to this kind of car, a 360 Modena will blow your socks off just as much as F430.


Onno



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In my opinion and from my experience, the costs of Ferrari servicing are overblown and shrouded in myth. This is the kind of myth perpetuated by people who can't afford a Ferrari - they will say "I'd buy one, but the maintenance costs are so high..." - not true!!

In the UK there are many independent specialists who will perform all major work at a fraction of Ferrari's official prices, and using only original parts.

From my experience Ferraris are not expensive to run, at least if you don't pile on the miles too fast. On the other hand they can be VERY expensive when they go wrong. Replacing the manifolds on my old F355 cost me 5000 Euros, and that's because I went to Italy to do the job (in Switzerland where I live it would have cost twice as much).

However, the F355 is "old technology": keep in mind that Ferraris are getting more and more reliable, and that today's models should run as reliably as any German car. I drove my 550 for years without any problems, the only expenses being the year service ($500 per year, as much as for a BMW 3-series!) fuel and tires (the 550 shreds a set of new tires in as little as 4000 Km if you drive it hard). Consider also the depreciation effect, which makes Ferraris effectively some of the most cost-effective cars you can drive (if you buy them used). I sold my 550 for pretty much what I paid for it, and if I calculate my total running costs they have been a lot lower than they would have been with any "normal" car subject to massive depreciation.

I am now looking for a 575FHP or for a 360CS, or I may wait it out until the F430 finally comes down in price. Only one thing is for sure: once you've had a Ferrari, you will never want to be without one.
 

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Wow, I thought I was the only crazy person. I have been thinking of buying a Ferrari F430 after driving one with the World Class Driving test drives. It was an awesome car. I bought my first spider Wednesday. The dealer said 360 need to have the belts changed and you have to take the engine out to do it. The 430 has a change. A race car driver Theys Didier, that paced us at the World Class Driving experience said the 430 transmission and engine at 30% better than the 360. He said to buy a 430. After driving Corvettes, BMW's and Mercedes with no real issues, low cost maintenance, and excellent durability it was hard to pull the trigger to buy the Ferrari. I hope it is as exciting as I think. New Clutch every 10K seems extreme but the dealer said expect it. What the heck, I can always sell it if the upkeep costs are not worth it. I will get the car in 2 weeks.
 
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