Citroen Berlingo Problems: Are They Reliable?

The Citroen Berlingo is one of three small vans produced by Citroen since 1996 and it is one of the best selling vans in Europe. Amazingly, the 1996 third-generation model was the winner of the prestigious International Van of the Year Award. You might be thinking that this indicates that the Citroen Berlingo is reliable but according to WhatCar, Citroen finished only 27th in their most recent reliability survey. As you would expect this means that there are some Citroen Berlingo problems.

The good news is that Fleet News put Citroen Berlingo 5th in their reliability survey in 2014 and 2018 based on evidence gathered from the biggest fleet owners across the country. Since businesses have high expectations for reliability it seems that they have given a well-earned seal of approval to the Citroen Berlingo as a reliable van. 

Are Citroen Berlingos Reliable?

The Citroen Berlingo may have earned international awards and it has the support from fleets across the country but do owners think they are reliable? Opinions are certainly mixed but overall, you will find plenty of owners of fairly high mileage Berlingo vans that have had very little trouble with their vehicles.

The fact that you can still see older generation Berlingos on the road and their popularity on the second-hand market suggests that they have a decent build quality, The third generation of Berlingos, brought out in 2018 improved on earlier models. This eliminated the turbo problems experienced on those first-generation vans and this has increased the reliability although you will still come across some common Citroen Berlingo problems.

Citroen Berlingo Common Problems

While reliability is pretty good overall there are some common Citroen Berlingo problems. First-generation models suffered from the failure of the turbo on their diesel engines, but this has been fixed on later models. 

The most common problem reported by owners and garages on the Berlingo is an issue with water getting into the fuse box. Fortunately, this is a relatively low-cost repair.

Other common problems include steering alignment and noisy suspension. Electrical problems are often reported including failure of the infotainment system and headlights or electric windows not working.

Of course, you always expect some wear and tear, especially on vans that are stopping and starting as they do deliveries. 

Let’s take a look into some of the most common Citroen Berlingo problems. 

Citroen Berlingo 1.6HDi problems

I have heard some horror stories about the Citroen Berlingo 1.6HDi engine. The problem lies with the engine requiring lots of preventative maintenance. This engine requires owners to use high-grade engine oil. 

Failure to follow this advice led to the failure of the turbo in many instances. This problem was not isolated to Citroen and was a symptom of manufacturers aiming for the balance between fuel economy and low emissions. 

If you are looking to buy a used 1.6HDi model, then it would be wise to check for a full service history. Vans over with 100,000 miles on the clock may well have required a replacement turbo since this is one of the most common Citroen Berlingo problems. 

Citroen Berlingo door lock problems

Door lock problems are a common issue on many vans. With the Berlingo, it appears to be mainly an electrical wiring issue that affects the central locking. You know there is an issue when the key fob gets the lights to flash but does not lock or unlock the driver’s door. 

This problem should be an easy fix, but many owners report a head-scratching issue where they and the garage cannot find the exact cause. It is wise to check for broken wires in the wiring harness that runs in the rubber gaiter between the driver’s door and the car body to solve the problem. 

Citroen Berlingo radio problems

Electrical wiring issues are common on many vans, but the Berlingo has its own specific issue with the infotainment system or radio. Whether the radio doesn’t play at all, cannot be tuned or maybe it will beep intermittently, the problem seems to be with the electrical system. 

One tip from owners is that there are 2 fuses that connect to the radio system. One operates the lights, and one operates the sound. If you have problems, you need to check and replace both to fix the problem. 

Citroen Berlingo rear axle problems

Generally, you will spot a rear axle problem early as the signs are visible and likely to be picked up at an MOT. The trouble with the rear axle on the Berlingo is that sometimes it isn’t clear there is a problem until you hear a banging noise. 

Unfortunately, this lack of warning stops any preventative work from being carried out and instead you will have to get a replacement. What causes the problem? Suspicions suggest that the design of the pivot and needle bearings is not substantial enough to cope with usual wear and tear making this another regular one of Citroen Berlingo problems. 

Citroen Berlingo problems starting

Starting issues are common Citroen Berlingo problems. Once you have eliminated the obvious cause of a dead battery you will have to look further as there is not one single issue that causes starting problems.

If you hear a clicking sound when you try and start the van, then it is likely to be a starter motor problem. Vans often fail at under 100,000 miles due to the stop-start nature of their use. 

If you don’t hear a clicking, then the other issue is likely to be a clogged fuel filter. You might notice a drop in performance or have intermittent issues with starting. It’s always worth cleaning the filter before jumping to the conclusion that you need a new fuel pump. 

Citroen Berlingo gear selector problems

If you are unable to select certain gears in a Berlingo then it is almost certainly going to be a linkage problem. Once the linkage has become detached you will be stuck in gear and unable to change. 

Fortunately, this is an inexpensive repair and does not involve too much work. By depressing the clutch, you should be able to get the selector arm back into the ball joint and then replace any worn parts. 

What Is the Best Year for Citroen Berlingos in Terms of Reliability?

Whilst the early models of the Berlingo Van won awards for their ingenuity as small vans that drove like cars, they suffered from reliability issues relating to the turbo engine. The 2018 reboot solved those issues and had a good impact, making one of the best years for Citroen Berlingo reliability.

The 2018 models seem to have increased the reliability and performance without losing the distinctive style that the original Berlingo was acclaimed for. 2020 saw the introduction of an electric model that has already won awards. It will take a few years to judge their reliability but if the owners are as pleased as they were with the third generation then they may take the lead. 

How Many Miles Can a Citroen Berlingos Last?

To find the simple answer you just need to look around the UK roads. You will see some first-generation models still pootling about happily and its not uncommon for Citroen Berlingos to last well over 150,000 miles and some with even more. 

You can expect to replace the brake discs at 60,000 miles and if that has been done along with regular servicing then there is no reason why the Berlingo can’t reach a good mileage and still be going strong beyond 100,000 miles.