Questions before i purchase my first ferrari

Discussion in 'California/Portofino' started by CptJoe1983, Aug 4, 2017.

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  1. CptJoe1983

    CptJoe1983 Rookie

    Aug 4, 2017
    1
    Three years ago I almost pulled the trigger on a f430 and now that I have a wife and child I am seriously considering a Ferrari California. As i started looking into them i started hearing about this DCT issue. My questions/concerns are mostly having to do with the reliability and how often the big ticket items like this transmission issue occuer. I currently have a Flying spur which i will be trading, so i am used to higher than normal maintenance cost. Also i have a independent mechanic here in my home town who has about 4 or 5 other Ferrari clients so i will most likely use him. So here we go:

    1) is the transmission sensor (dct) problem something that happens on all Californias? Is it pretty much guaranteed to happen eventually?

    2) is it a 1 time fix and its fixed forever type of thing or does it have to be replaced every few years?

    3) how much would one cost at an independent shop vs the dealership? My independent mechanic hourly rate is aboit half that of the dealerships. But only uses OEM parts.

    4) are there any other problems like this for the California? Suspension failures, engine problems, large electrical problems, etc.

    5) are there certain years i should avoid or aim for?

    6) how is it for daily driving? 2-5 short drives a week

    7) what do you think is the best things about the California?

    8) what do you find most annoying or least favorite part of owning a California?
     
  2. phanliu

    phanliu Formula Junior
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    Aug 21, 2015
    355
    Illinois
    Full Name:
    Noel
    Overall it's a very reliable car however DCT issues is one of the things you can't say - it may or may not happen to you. Know a few guys with the Cali 30 and no issues and some with the 2011s had some problems.

    Are you looking for the previous gen Cali or the Cali T? Heard the Cali Ts are quite reliable but again there are sample variances.

    Good Luck with your search - If it's your first Ferrari try to get your hands on the Cali T - much better than the previous gen.
     
  3. tomc

    tomc F1 World Champ

    Apr 13, 2014
    10,539
    DFW, Texas
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    Tom C
    Honestly, major mechanical issues seem rare, but if you are worried, get the warranty.

    As for the other questions...

    - It's a great car for short to medium drives. I've not done a really long haul on it though. I have a cranky back, & after 2 hours, it's usually time for me to pull over and stretch. However, despite that, my wife & I've put almost 9 K miles on our 2011 Cali in 15 months. The longest trip we have taken was 500 miles, split over 2 days. It's a great GT. Reasonable sized trunk for weekend trips with the missus. The best things would be that the car looks, handles, sounds great, especially with the top down. Cruising at 85+ mph, the car seems happier than putting around in traffic at 40 mph. It's exotic, but practical, and I can enjoy the car with my wife.

    Worst? Nav is useless. But, iPhone and Waze solve that. Cruise control is unnecessarily fiddly. So, I never use it.

    IMO, the best fun to dollar bet is a certified -2013 from an authorized F-car dealer.

    Best of luck, in your search...T
     
  4. MDEL

    MDEL Formula 3
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    Feb 24, 2016
    1,431
    Southern Europe
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    Mario
    1) is the transmission sensor (dct) problem something that happens on all Californias? Is it pretty much guaranteed to happen eventually?

    DCT problems caused by faulty sensors have a bigger incidence on Calis up to 2012 but they can happen also to earlier models. I had such a problem on a 2010 and it was repaired under the extension warranty. If there isn't such a warranty, the cost o the repair could be around 10.000 $.

    2) is it a 1 time fix and its fixed forever type of thing or does it have to be replaced every few years?
    If it happens once and is repaired nothing is guaranteed that it won't happen again. Here on FC there are stories related by owners who had the DCT substituted or repaired three times.

    3) how much would one cost at an independent shop vs the dealership? My independent mechanic hourly rate is aboit half that of the dealerships. But only uses OEM parts.

    Independent mechanics repairing modern Ferraris are a rarity. If there is a DCT problem the correct diagnose through data reading has to be done at a Ferrari dealer and as far as I know the sensors and the substitution DCT parts are difficult to purchase by independent persons.

    4) are there any other problems like this for the California? Suspension failures, engine problems, large electrical problems, etc.

    As far as I know the DCT can be one of the major problems but others have been reported like for instance on the electric roof and electronic systems. In general terms the Cali is reliable and great fun.

    5) are there certain years i should avoid or aim for?

    See 2)

    6) how is it for daily driving? 2-5 short drives a week

    You can daily drive a Cali without any problem and is no doubt the most versatile Ferrari.

    7) what do you think is the best things about the California?

    It transforms from a coupé into a convertible in 14 seconds, is fast and not difficult to drive, has a very nice sound and wherever you go people turn around.

    8) what do you find most annoying or least favorite part of owning a California?

    The Cali is a very balanced car and versatile so in the Ferrari universe one of the less annoying. However owning a Ferrari is a bit different from owning other more vulgar sports cars. Repairs can be extremely expensive because the factory warranties are only 3 years and once they're finished and for peace of mind normally you tend to purchase a warranty extension.
     
  5. ejf2461

    ejf2461 Rookie

    Jan 15, 2017
    37
    Indianapolis
    Owned half a dozen prancing horses over the years and IMHO the California is the best buy & most reliable Ferrari you can get. When I unload my current 355 Spider I plan to find a California T. I have a bunch of friends who drive California's daily and if you invest in the newest one you can afford and purchase the Ferrari Warranty you should be exempt from the typical Ferrari Ownership Wallet Shock for maintenance. Best of Luck!
     
  6. anunakki

    anunakki Four Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Oct 8, 2005
    42,256
    Las Vegas Nevada
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    Jerry
    I just crossed 30k miles and not a single problem.
     
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  8. RickLederman

    RickLederman F1 Rookie
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    Sep 18, 2007
    2,764
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    Rick Lederman
    Joe, Ferrari recently announced the ability of getting warranty on any Ferrari after an initial inspection. You absolutely want to do that! My '14 FF warranty is about to go away and I'm buying two years worth. I did that with at least one of my Cali's and my first FF as I remember.
     
  9. SKIndy

    SKIndy Rookie

    Apr 8, 2017
    5
    Joe. I just purchased a 2013 California '30'. I heard about the dct concerns but . I haven't heard of the same concerns on the 30 cars from 2013-14. I think they sound much better than the 2015+ turbos that I drove when shopping. I love my cali. It fits my 6 and 8yo kids perfectly. I drove it 200miles to Chicago for the aforementioned inspection service and 'new power warranty' and haven't had any issues. It is a very comfortable daily driver and perfect for a Chilpotle run with my little man with the top down. Importantly 2013 is the first year w Bluetooth streaming audio. Honestly the only bad thing about it is that people think you're super rich. Mine was considerably less than a loaded tesla or Mercedes convertible s class and imho much cooler.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  10. tomc

    tomc F1 World Champ

    Apr 13, 2014
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    Tom C

    Def on the coolness factor.

    But. You are rich! If not in a monetary sense, in an experiential sense. You're doing something that millions dream about - you own and drive a Ferrari!
    T
     
  11. MDEL

    MDEL Formula 3
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    Feb 24, 2016
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    Mario
    Absolutely Tom well said. I agree with what Skinny mentioned and the other day I went with my brother for lunch to a very nice restaurant overlooking the Atlantic and always when I go there the parking attendant tells me to park the Ferrari in a privileged place. When we got out I gave him a good tip and my brother said "Tomorrow I'm coming back here for lunch with my wife but driving a normal car so don't forget to get me a good parking place". The guy looked at him and said "Don't worry I have other customers that do exactly the same as you do and when they are fed up of driving their Ferraris they come here with normal cars pretending to be poor men".
     
  12. Brian L

    Brian L Formula 3
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    Jun 17, 2015
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    You might try wrapping the shields (and even horses) in body color to hide them. Get a black or carbon center cap set. That yellow is a thing people see and say WHOA !
     
  13. LARRYH

    LARRYH F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Jun 3, 2011
    3,693
    virginia usa
    I agree with those that have said the Cali is the easiest of the Ferraris I have owned for daily driving .. I owned two Californias and drove each of them daily for .. Regarding the best years to get If you are talking cali I think the best were 2013 and 2014 they were end of production and generally had more options ... The best would be an HS (handling special) available in 2013 2014.
    another point is in shopping for a used Ferrari do not underestimate the the value of. options .... Ferraris are one car where the original purchaser could EASILY add options increasing the new cost by 1/3 or so.....
     
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  15. Dutchman

    Dutchman F1 Veteran
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    Dec 4, 2002
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    Ton
    I have driven over 12.000 km (7500 M) in my 2009 California this year, in all Western European weather conditions. It never missed a beat.
    They are fantastic Ferrari's.
     
    tomc likes this.
  16. 4th_gear

    4th_gear F1 Rookie
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    Jan 18, 2013
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    #14 4th_gear, Oct 12, 2017 at 11:49 AM
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017 at 11:56 AM
    No, no and no, DCT failures do not happen very often and they are not bound to happen. From all accounts, earlier DCTs may have had wiring/sensor failures due to unfortunate routing of wires inside the DCT. Later cars tend not to have these issues, perhaps due to lessons learned,

    Earlier failures required DCT swaps but dealers are now trained to perform DCT rebuilds so repair costs have come down.

    As the DCT uses wet clutches, mechanical failures would be very rare and is why DCTs were designed to last the life of the car.

    While some independents can probably swap a DCT for you, dealers now also have trained master mechanics to locally service the Getrag DCT like other people service conventional automatic transmissions. However, Getrag DCT training is very expensive and independents do not service the same number of Fcars as dealers so they would not have the same experience doing the work and would find it painful to train and equip their mechanics for the work.

    Roof failures do happen to some cars but are not catastrophic. The original engine mounts are known to prematurely fail, mine did. Fuel pumps can get a bit noisy but are easily sorted and not a reliability issue. No engine issues - engine is super. Batteries often fail at the initial new car delivery probably due to long boat ride, and fail if car not used regularly enough or driven on longer drives or not connected to battery tender when not driven.

    As with most cars, later year models are better. If you prefer a more punchy, better handling Cali, pick the California 30 with HS option.

    Great for DD so long as you have proper parking when you reach "Point B". You should also do regular drives that are longer than 1 hour. These cars were designed to be used, not posed. Short drives kill batteries in any modern car.

    The whole package. It is F1-tech fast, hardtop convertible, beautiful Pininfarina styling, great sound, enough trunk space for cross-country trips for two.

    Poorly-informed comments from people who either do not own the car or do not understand the car, especially given how successfully the car sold and how important the California was to Ferrari's well-being.
     
    tomc likes this.

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