Home » This Design Flaw Made Porsche Cayenne Headlights So Easy To Steal, People Apparently Started Using Them To Grow Weed

This Design Flaw Made Porsche Cayenne Headlights So Easy To Steal, People Apparently Started Using Them To Grow Weed

Porsche Cayenne Headlight Theft Topshot 2
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“Psst, hey kid, wanna buy some Porsche Cayenne headlights?”… Alright, so you’re unlikely to be approached in a dark alley by someone with a bunch of xenon headlights under their trench coat, but headlight theft was a real problem on these Porsches thanks to an incredibly efficient yet flawed way of securing the headlights.

Porsche Cayenne

I’m assuming this is how it went: After decades of building sturdy cars in an inefficient manner, Porsche knew it needed to prioritize ease of assembly/repair. Not only would this save money, but Porsche was a very small carmaker and the first-generation Cayenne would sell in volumes never seen before. The faster Porsche could get them down the production line, the more Cayennes it could sell, and the stronger its recovery could be.

On most cars, replacing composite headlight assemblies is a bit of a fuss. Pull the arch liners, drop the bumper cover, find and remove the screws holding the headlight assembly to the car, find and remove screws holding headlights to brackets on certain models — it all adds up to a time-consuming process. Of course, Porsche is an engineering company first and foremost, so it came up with a clever solution to aid headlight installation when developing the 986 Boxster and 996 911. Instead of pesky bolts, Porsche used a little metal rod with a couple of bends in it to lock the headlights into place, and it used the same mechanism on the Cayenne.

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The problem with using a mechanism like this is that anything that can push the rods can remove the parts. While Porsche had little access panels in the radiator support cover for releasing Cayenne headlights the proper way, there’s also an improper way to remove Cayenne headlights without doing much if any damage: Just slide something long and thin into the gap below the headlight and push the locking cam. It could be a slim jim, or it could be a particularly long butter knife, or it could just be an extra large slap bracelet. Check out the video above for a better look at the design, or see the photo below if you want the basics (Image number two shows the bent rod that holds the light in):

Porsche Cayenne Headlight Theft 1

Unsurprisingly, thieves picked up on this fairly quickly. While headlight theft wasn’t a huge problem on early Boxsters due to the divisive look of the fried egg headlights and the vast majority of cars featuring conventional halogen lighting, Cayennes often featured expensive xenon headlights and these SUVs were comparatively everywhere. Porsche built 164,874 986 Boxsters between model years 1997 and 2005, but it built more than 250,000 Cayennes between 2003 and 2010. That’s a lot more headlights to steal and a lot of potential customers for replacement headlights. Not only were the pricey xenon units worth a mint on the second-hand market, they allegedly had other uses than illuminating the road ahead.

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Porsche Headlights To Grow Weed?

Weed, green, pot, bud, ganja, reefer, tree, herb, broccoli, freestyle jazz cabbage. Whatever you like to call it, it’s no surprise that cannabis is a popular recreational drug. It can allegedly turn a peanut butter and mayo sandwich into the food of the gods and make Dane Cook seem funny again. In most jurisdictions around the world, it’s also illegal to grow and fairly lucrative. Not the sort of crop you’d grow outdoors, then. However, growing cannabis indoors requires plenty of light and stolen xenon headlights would theoretically make not terrible free grow lights as they put out UV-rich beams and are fairly energy-efficient. In October of 2012, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported that thieves in Amsterdam had made off with 20 pairs of Cayenne and Panamera headlights in a single week, and noted that the thefts were suspected to have a connection to the cannabis trade. In December of the same year, British newspaper The Guardian claimed that the count had risen to 35 pairs of headlights in Amsterdam alone. That’s a lot of criming.

Po 03 Lage S1011

Thankfully, the second-hand value for older Porsche Cayenne headlights has waned, partly because the cost of new headlights has come down but mostly because so many have been consigned to junkyards. A brand new OE Valeo xenon headlight for a 2005 Cayenne costs $843 from FCP Euro, while used headlights go for between $300 and $400 on eBay. However, older Cayennes aren’t the only targets. As De Telegraaf noted, thieves moved on to Panameras, and even recent Porsches use a similarly-insecure headlight locking mechanism. If you own a newer Porsche and are afraid of having your headlights nicked, the best defense is likely secure indoor parking. That, and good insurance.

(Photo credits: Porsche, Угона.нет)

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Anoos
Anoos
2 months ago

Seems unlikely for that use. I would suspect the bicycle-crazed Dutch found an easy way to mess with motorists – and some of the most obnoxious ones.

Otter
Otter
2 months ago

It requires a TOOL?! Barbaric. Watch and learn, Germans:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32k-0z_WIMU

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
2 months ago

I totally forgot about this! I remember seeing Cayennes (and also certain Audi’s) that were new at the time missing a headlight or two with no other damage to the vehicle. I mostly saw it happening at the nicer malls in NJ

AngryBob_VA
AngryBob_VA
2 months ago

Grow lights are quite expensive. So I heard…

outofstep
outofstep
2 months ago

This was also a thing on early 00 Maximas when they started coming with HIDs. A single screwdriver could remove them. I remember passing a dealership one morning and seeing no less than a dozen Maximas without headlights.

JDE
JDE
2 months ago

well, let’s please tell the cat thieves these are easier and faster to steal and quit saying the market is losing value.

mabus
mabus
2 months ago

“make Dane Cook seem funny again” Again? Again? Such an assertion assumes that he was ever funny. Which, AFAIK the internet tells me, was never.

scottingham
scottingham
2 months ago
Reply to  mabus

One of the early red flags of one of the worst roommates I ever had was a Dane Cook DVD…

I should have run the moment I saw that.

Boeman
Boeman
2 months ago

Here in the Netherlands it also involves the Panamera’s. One owner has built a metal box with three walls at the end of his driveway; he parks the front of his panamera in the box.
https://www.porscheforum.nl/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=37796

Malibu
Malibu
2 months ago

This is the only time I’ve ever been happy to have the pov-spec halogens on my ’04 Cayenne S. Thanks for being cheap, first owner!

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago
Reply to  Malibu

Yeah, well with a butter knife and just a few minutes you can apparently upgrade!

Lokki
Lokki
2 months ago
Reply to  Malibu

Psssst! Wanna upgrade?

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
2 months ago

A possible solution would be a plug that goes into the factory access hole and holds the cam lever in the installed position. The plug would replace the flip out cover that’s in there now. Removing the plug would allow access to the retainer in the same way the flip cover does.

It would be nicer for Porsche to design a plug for this spot so that rotating it with a wrench on top, right there on the surface directly under the hood, would operate the headlight retention lever without the need to remove and reinstall it.

It looks like the odd hood pins shown at the end of the Russian(?) video may be another solution to this problem but I’m not sure as I don’t speak the language.

UsernameTaken
UsernameTaken
2 months ago

I’m a laser lettuce man myself

mabus
mabus
2 months ago
Reply to  UsernameTaken

You should try the “Yar’s Revenge” strain.

LTDScott
LTDScott
2 months ago

Huh, so this is what the Kia Boyz used to be into.

Prelude2Evil
Prelude2Evil
2 months ago

Freestyle Jazz Cabbage™️ is the name of the band I’m never gonna start.

Data
Data
2 months ago
Reply to  Prelude2Evil

For some reason, I can see this being a Nissan model name/trim. Is that odd?
Come on down to Lucky Eddie’s Nissan Emporium and buy a new Nissan Freestyle Jazz Cabbage today. We finance anyone! Bad credit, slow credit, no credit we tote the note! With payment terms up to 84 months, we can get you a payment that fits your budget today!

TinyScorpion
TinyScorpion
2 months ago

Porsche book times are usually significantly off, but by underestimation. Interesting to see one place where they’re significantly off by overestimation. I wanna say they’re usually like .5 per side. If you can pop that out in less than a tenth, which is a reasonable theft time, I’d be surprised if it takes the full other 24 minutes to install a new one.

theotherotter
theotherotter
2 months ago

As the owner of an air-cooled 911, I can confirm that this practice falls into a long tradition of questionable headlamp retention practices at Porsche.

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
2 months ago

Oh come on. Nothing can make Dane Cook seem funny again.

stefthepef
stefthepef
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

…and why y’all gotta ruin mayonnaise with peanut butter? Just get a spoon, man.

BloggyMcBlogBlog
BloggyMcBlogBlog
2 months ago

“Psst, hey kid, wanna buy some Porsche Cayenne headlights?” is what Jason used to say all the time before he became an automotive journalist.

Data
Data
2 months ago

We all know Jason’s an ass man. It would have been taillights.

Turkina
Turkina
2 months ago
Reply to  Data

Jason made his fortune discovering how to swipe Cadillac XLR taillights. I’m sure the seniors would have noticed the yellow Beetle cruising around the retirement communities, but somehow that never was mentioned in the police reports.

Data
Data
2 months ago
Reply to  Turkina

The air cooled Beetle makes to much noise. He would have performed his heist in the Chang-li. As a plus, nobody would be able to identify what it was. Was it a golf cart, Fisher-Price Power Wheels, Little Tikes Cozy Coupe? Nobody knows, but it has a flashy Fashion sticker on the side and a bull bar.

Turkina
Turkina
2 months ago
Reply to  Data

Ah, but this was before he became a journalist! He had the Beetle, and I think maybe the P1800 back then.

NOBRKES
NOBRKES
2 months ago

New Beetle’s are very easy to remove also, although idk if they are THAT easy.

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