smoke. Lots of it!
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Re: 147 2.0
The most important thing is not to go into it with your eyes closed expecting either plain sailing or lots of problems. If there is anything that my 2.5 years of Alfa ownership has taught me, it is that generally the negatives are outweighed by the positives, but there are negatives!
Searching the forum as suggested by others is a good way of gauging reliability but bear in mind that a lot of people post on here because they have specific problems and that isn't necessarily a measure of the rate of failure for all the cars on the road. It can however be a good guide to the type of problems experienced.
I don't think an Alfa Romeo service history is necessary, but a full history is essential. You need to know what has been done already, particularly with regard to Cam Belts.
There are also clearly a number of common problems/factors that tend to get a lot of press on the forum and you will certainly see lots of posts on the standard Twin Spark problems/features i.e belt change intervals, expected oil consumption rates, keeping oil topped up etc. The key to good performance is clearly good regular maintenance and this is backed up by the 147 feature in Used Car Magazine a couple of years back which stressed this strongly.
Servicing costs needn't be expensive but parts can be.
Lots of people accept that the 147 will have a crashy ride with 17 inch alloys. Those who want a more comfortable ride should apparently go for 16s. I myself am thinking of downsizing for that reason because I do high miles on rubbish motorway surfaces.
I have to say that I am personally at a bit of a low ebb in my Alfa experience because of the money I've shelled out recently. My car has now done 109K and is converted to run on LPG which has been a great success. However, I do 120 miles a day and it has cost me £1200 in the last two months for new brake pads, cambelt, service, aux belts & tensioners and most significantly a new power steering pump (amongst other things). I accept that this is by no means a typical state of affairs and unlikely to be the experience of other owners and I also appreciate that I've now topped 100K miles and things are going to need replacing. However there are some things that fail too easily and too soon and that is why I am becoming more inclined to disagree when people say that modern Alfas are now as reliable as German engineered cars. Generally I think that the engineering/build quality for models in the early 2000s, particularly the 147, may have improved but is worse than it should be.
I'm also not going to list all the daft failures I've had (including door handle that snapped, second CAT that had to be replaced, windscreen not stuck in correctly by factory, wiper arms breaking.....) because I don't think they are all typical failures (some are more common than others) but I would hate to think that someone would buy an Alfa without expecting higher that average costs.
There are plenty of 147s to choose from out there so don't feel like you need to rush the choice. Take your time to make sure everything is right.
I bought the car expecting some problems. I've subsequently had problems but on the whole I still enjoy the ownership experience.
Ultimately, when she runs well and is fresh from a clean she makes me grin like an idiot. I park her next to a GTV Cup at work and I like to look at the rest of the carpark in the morning which is full of blue oval cars and boring rep mobiles.
I hope this doesn't sound too negative and my intention is certainly not to put you off buying a 147 because I know other people who have had 1/10th the issues I have had. All in all, I don't regret buying my 147 but I would be lying if I said that it hadn't been an expensive passion.
Who needs holidays anyway?
60% of the time it works everytime.