36,000 for TS viariants
Its 72,000 miles for a V6 cambelt service but any owner with common sense never, ever lets it get above 60,000 miles between belt changes...
Service intervals are 12,000 mile otherwise
60,000 mile or 5 yrs for spark plugs
24,000 or two yrs for PAS fluid, Brake Fluid and gearbox fluid change.
Coolant change can be up to 5 yrs!... But any owner with common sense drains and replaces the coolant every three yrs along with a new thermostat as a matter of course.
Radiator can last up to seven years but every year needs inspecting for tell tale green fluff build up
Get in touch with the garage who performed it and ask them to check the records for water pump and all tensioner's and guide pulleys changed at the same time.
Regular oil changes and filter too( may sound strange but its a pig to get too and often lazy owners leave it unchanged every other oil change as a result so make sure the bill matches the service interval...
Spark plugs are expensive but last up to 60,000 but the same thing as above happens... The rear bank of three are often untouched due to the removal of the plenum chamber required.
Check the gearbox level, there is a dipstick at the rear of the gearbox above the differential housing... Difficult to get too but worth investigating... If the fluid is very black and low, walk away... It proves it has been unloved. It should be changed every two year and be mid brown at worst...
Look for recent clutch plate changes... They can last up to and beyond 90,000 miles or so but a nightmare and costly in labour to change.
Same with the starter motor.
As with all 156's make sure the suspension has no knocks or squeaks.
Have a good look at the air filter box... inspect the air box lid.... Is it sealed properly... If changed recently you should be able to unscrew the lid easily and inspect the filter... A sure sign of a well looked after 156.... The lid is also a weak link and screws can seize in so neglect can be an issue... A clean filter and no debris in the bottom centre of the air box is a very good sign. It means you will not have running issues with the MAF getting contaminated which again is a common bug bear of 156 owners.
Make sure it has two keys present and that the plippers on both work. Make sure that the check lights all extinguish after the car starts within a few seconds... Airbag , immobilizer and injector lights can be costly to sort with a culmination of many possible issues.
When firing her up listen to the engine carefully... It should be smooth and regular in revs and die down slowly as she warms up... Any loud ticking at first and it could be a lifter issue or even worse a loose/warn cam belt tensioner. It's a V6 so should be creamy smooth compared to a 4 cylinder engine... Light plumbs of grey smoke are common on start up due to the size of the exhaust and engine capacity but very dense white smoke is a sign the head gaskets are on their way out and blue/ black smoke are a sign of warn piston rings and over fueling respectively.
Get the engine hot so that the radiator fans kick in at least twice... On a test drive make a note of the temp gauge... It should hover above 85 when traveling within 5 miles or so and get to 91 when sitting at lights etc. where you will hear the fans kick in. This is normal... If the gauge doesn't get above 80+ within 10 miles then you have a sticky thermostat that needs addressing (not difficult to do and will pay for iteslf within a couple of weeks with saved fuel costs.
Right, now we get to the feel... Compare the performance to a Sapphire Cosworth and you won't be far away.... It should pull well in all gears and feel quick and meaty... These engines love to rev so make the most of it... If it hesitates to get above 5,000 rpm then the MAF could be on its way out!
It's an almost endless wave of torque, not like a diesel or turbo car that is all or nothing in comparison.
A V6 will tootle along at any speed happily in any gear really without any drive line shunting or complaint and the best thing is that when you are doing 30-40mph you can imagine opening the door and walking quicker, they are deceptively quick and you could theoretically loose your licence easily without realizing that you are at 100+mph when thinking you are doing 70mph!
That bad bit of owning a V6 is the fuel economy... 18- 22 mpg around the town but a respective 32 mpg on the motorways is possible... DO NOT BUY A V6 if you are concerned about fuel economy, that's not what they are about.
Other than that, the V6 variants are often far better built than the TS and JTD variants and looked after. The general fittings and bodywork seem to last longer in particular, the floor pan!
Get it on ramps and give the sills, inner sills and rear floor pan around the rear foot wells a good inspection, light surface rust is fine... If in doubt, ask to uncilp and unscrew the door sill protectors and lift the carpets to inspect further... You would be surprised but the body is galvanised and very few issues from rust from the outside... It is usually the demise of a 156 if it has had any internal leaks from air con units, wet carpets and sunroofs that rot from within that isn't galvanised properly so bear that in mind.
Parking dings are a baine of any alfa owner... It's inevitable! This is no reflection of the owner, its the way the bodywork is designed and careless other marque owners opening doors on them so take that on board.
Bodywork lasts and has no issues whatsover, same with interiors they still look good after 200,000 miles!
The engines are bullet proof with the cam belt/ plastic impellor type water pump and tensioner being the only weak link. Get that right and you have a damn good car
These engines aren't even run in until 100,000 miles so 180,000 is nothing.... Besides, most of the quirks and issues will usually have been addressed at that kind of mileage...
I would rather buy a 130,000 mile 156 V6 with everything that can go wrong changed than a 70,000 mile V6 that requires everything to be done!
You have to remember that many Alfa owners love their cars, it's not just a means to get from A to B with them and as a result, 95% are loved and cared for fastidiously. You are buying into an experience of a brand, not just buying a car so enjoy it. It should be perfect as a test drive. The sound OMG is intoxicating!
Is that comprehensive enough for you?