Alfa Romeo 147 Engine Bay
Alfa 147 power steering pipes can corrode through under hanger
Alfa 147 rear arm and hub bushes need regular relpacement
Alfa 147 front upper wishbones can wear
Alfa 147 Car Of the Year Award
First: General car buying advice
When looking at an Alfa Romeo 147, check the panel gaps to make sure they are all even as accident damage can show up in the poor fit of panels, check the trims around windows and doors for overspray as this is also an area where accident damage will show up, another tell tail is paint chipped off various panel fastenings or nuts and bolts. It is also advisable to check the colour match between panels as this is another area that garages make mistakes. Once you have established if the has been involved in an accident it is up to you if you buy the car.
Alfa 147s are reliable cars if serviced well, however, as with all vehicles, there are a number of points to be aware of when purchasing. The engines in Alfa Romeos use oil and if when you check the oil there is little or none in the sump this is an indication that the car has been neglected it is probably best to walk away at this point. The cam belts (Cam Belt Change Offer) should have been replaced at the 72,000 mile service, however since 13th November 2006 Alfa Romeo recommend that the belts should be replaced at 36,000 miles. There can sometimes be a rattle from the 4 cylinder engines that makes them sound like a diesel, this is the cam variator and should be replaced when doing the cam belt, the diesel engines are very reliable with no real weak points, the V6 engines should also have had their cambelt changed at 72,000 (although we recommend 60,000 miles in this case) and it is advisable to replace the water pump while doing this as the impellers are made of plastic and have a tendency to crack. The spark plugs last 60,000 miles but cost around £10 each, remember a twin spark has 8 spark plugs so this can add up on the 60,000-mile service, when road testing any of the cars if you feel it lacks the power it may need an air flow meter (MAF Diagnosis Guide) these cost around £120 each.
Clutches and gearboxes are very reliable, a worn clutch will tend to bite at the top of its travel and as they are self-adjusting a high biting point signifies that a new clutch will be needed soon, gearboxes are generally trouble-free but do check that all gears engage smoothly without crunching, On selespeed cars make sure that you check that all of the different ways of changing gear are used i.e. the paddles, the gear knob and city mode.
The power steering pipes can corrode through where the metal clips hold them to the body(image).
The suspension has a number of areas to check these are the upper wishbone (Upper Wishbone Replacement Guide) which can have play at either end and may manifest itself as a creak coming from behind the dash these cost about £30 each, the rear suspension rear arm bushes (Rear Radius Arm Replacement Guide) wear as do the bushes in the rear hub, again these are not expensive the bush costs £5 and the arm costs £27 there will often be uneven tyre wear associated with worn suspension bushes and this is usually on the inner edge of the tyre. There may also be creaks coming from the front anti-roll bar on older cars and to rectify this you will need a new anti roll bar at about £60 for the part.
With Alfa Romeo 147s there are no issues with rust as the cars have all been galvanised from the factory, and all the interior trim is very hard-wearing. The interior electrics are also generally very reliable but it is worth checking that everything works when you test the car, i.e. check the fan, electric mirrors, electric windows, lighter, radio, climate control, windscreen wipers, windscreen washers, lights, sunroof, boot release, petrol flap release, rear window wiper. It is also important to check that the various electronic systems on the car are in good working order, when you start the car three important systems are checked by the car these all have a warning light that illuminates on startup going out a few seconds later if the light does NOT come on or stays on there is a fault with that system that needs to be repaired. These systems are airbag, ABS and engine management. The airbag light is a little man with a large balloon in front of him that is situated on the bottom left between the rev counter and speedo. The ABS light is a circle with ABS written in the centre which is again between the two instruments and the fuel injection light is in the top right of the rev counter and looks like a yellow engine, remember they come on for a few seconds and then switch off anything else signifies a faulty system. The display in the centre of the dash should also give a warning of any faults. The 147 also has a CAN line that connects the various computers round the car any faults on any of the monitored systems are indicated by a flashing odometer, so if the mileage is flashing there could be a fault with anything from the driver's door to the fuel tank sender!!!! This is a basic guide to buying an Alfa 147 it is worth once you have got this far getting a specialist on the marque to check the car over for you, most of the UK specialists will do this for a very reasonable fee especially if you can get the vendor to take the car to them.
I hope you enjoy your new purchase and it gives you many years of trouble-free motoring.