A PIWIS is the factory developed diagnostic and repair tool. It stands for Porsche Integrated Workshop Information System. Porsche dealer technicians use this tool to perform a multitude of diagnostic and repair functions on your car. There are 3 generations of testers, the original which I believe can handle cars up to the 2014 model year, the Piwis II which handles cars up to and including the 2017 model year and the current PIWIS III which handles all cars including the 2020 model year. Naturally if your car is under warranty, then you don’t need this tool. Let the dealer handle any issues that come up. However, if you have a Porsche which is off warranty, watch out, your dealer charges crazy high hourly rates, mine is currently at $269 an hour, and also charges you parts at full retail. Go to a dealer for a brake job, and he will quote you $4000. You can do it yourself for $600, $900 with factory parts. Need an O2 sensor changed? There are 4 on a Porsche and the dealer will quote you $1200 for one, and then will recommend that they be changed in pairs so now you are looking at $2,400. A quick lookup on Rockauto.com shows you can buy a Bosch OEM O2 sensor for $60. Luckily, the 02 sensor change does not require a PIWIS but the rear rotors do as many have discovered here after doing their brakes. As many of you have noted, you can only lease a PIWIS from Porsche if you are a member of their PPN. Porsche Partner Network. Your local shop can apply to become a member and then pay $18,000 for his tester for the first year and $12,000 a year after that. Very few shops will pay that to repair only one model of car. Luckily our friends in China have cloned the PIWIS. It’s a little buggy and wont update since you aren’t connected to the PPN but the Chinese have disabled the function which tells the interface tool to check with the factory to see if it is legit. What is it, it’s basically a pc with some added software and a special interface between the car and the PC The PIWIS II is a Vista based ( yikes) windows pc The Chinese have improved on it, adding an SSD and some have updated the OS to Windows 7 but I don’t recommend that version. The PIWIS III I haven’t seen yet so I don’t know if it is still a windows pc. Both version have a multimeter function built in but the Chinese version of the PIWIS II doesn’t ship with those cables. The PIWIS III has a built in multimeter and oscilloscope and the cables are included. You see the interface online for the PIWIS II for $369 but that doesn’t include the necessary software. Buy the entire device for $769 which includes a pc, software, interface and car connect cables. A Piwis III sells for $1999 down from $6500 last year. Look at this web site as an example of how sophisticated the clone market is. You can’t tell the difference between a factory tool and a clone. Now why do you or your mechanic need one? Well here’s what you can do without one
Change spark plugs and ignition coils. (The engine module is self calibrating and will learn new parts automatically)
Change front rotors and pads
Change washers, wipers window motors, door locks
Change most engine sensors
Change your own oil (but you won’t be able to reset the service interval)
Change differential oil
Change battery (But you won’t be able to tell the car you changed it)
Here are some basic things that you can do that require a PIWIS
Change the rear rotors
Change any suspension parts
Change seat motors
Change any control modules (There are 27 of them) All need to be coded with the VIN of the car
Change the battery and record the change with the gateway module
Reset the service interval
Change the PDK oil (you can actually do the PDK fluid change without the PIWIIS , well a simple fluid change, you might need it if you replace the PDK filter. the reason you might want a PIWIS for the fluid change is to monitor oil temperature. The V8 needs the oil to be a certain temperature for all the oil in the cooler to drain. The v6 wants a certain temperature to be hit behold you check the level in the top up procedure. In both cases you could likely run the car for ten miles to achieve the temperature).
Change headlight components that aren’t bulbs
Change clock spring ( will require codes which only the dealer can get but you can buy from the Chinese
Most importantly, as many of you have discovered, it is nearly impossible to diagnose repair issues without one. The Durametric device just doesn’t come close to providing the information you need and many of the error code labels it provides are simply wrong and will lead you changing parts that don’t need changing. At $769 which is less than 3 hours labor, you can see everything a dealer can see about your car. I have a 2 and I’m going to a 3. If anyone is interested, I can try to post a video of the PIWIS II. It has a simulation mode for training purposes which is helpful. There are 4 programs in the PIWIS, the diagnostic, which is the main program for service, a wiring diagram program, a fault finding program which I haven’t found to be useful running offline and the multimeter function.
If you can share one with a buddy or some Porsche meetup groups that would be ideal. My recommendation, don’t let anyone do repairs on your car that doesn’t have one.
Here are some basic pictures
This is a Porsche PIWIS II which was originally on a Panasonic toughbook shown here
This is the unit going into the diagnostic program and it shows a picture of the interface.