Citroën C5 - a reader’s experience

Here's the experience of one Dog & Lemon Guide reader, Laurence Scott, who reported the following after buying a Citroën C5:

“I wish I had seen your article before I purchased the first piece of junk. You would think in this day and age that you can buy a car and live happily ever after (WRONG).The problems with the first car (a C5 Manual Wagon) were as follows:

  • Faulty door locks (would not open with remote)
  • 10 sets of headlamp globes replaced within 2 years.
  • 3 sets of stop lamps replaced.
  • Oil-level indicator was completely unreliable.
  • The dashboard would suddenly display an anti-pollution fault warning. The car would then start running on 3 cylinders with the engine icons flashing and service lamp on. The car would also belch out clouds of white smoke.
  • Car pulled to left (unable to have aligned) and ruined 3 sets of tyres
  • Seat height adjustment in wrong position (every time anyone sat on drivers seat the seat would go down) the fix for this was to turn the handle upside down!
  • Gear shifter knob had to be replaced 3 times as the chrome would blister.
  • Faulty indicator stalk
  • Trim falling off.
  • Catalytic converter replaced as it had a rattle in it.
  • Windows would not go up.

Please note that most of the above faults had not been rectified by the time I got rid of the car at 66,000km.
And the list goes on - however the dealer always loaned me a vehicle when mine was in their shop (30 different times). The C3s that were loaned to me also had numerous faults like a gearbox that would go into snow mode and sports mode at the same, causing the car to stall. This was great fun when driving thru a busy intersection.
The second car was a C5 Wagon (Auto)  which lost power one day. I drove the car straight to the dealer and they plugged the car into the diagnostics unit. The faults that came up on the computer were engine management fault - transmission fault. I asked the mechanic on duty what he thought the problem may be - his answer was he would have to contact Citroën. I made many calls to the dealer and to Ateco after my visit (they would not return my calls).

The transmission on this car also had a mind of its own (the transmission would change up and down at the wrong time). For example, going through a roundabout the transmission would stay in 4th gear and the car would start to labour.

Ateco, who are the importers of Citroën, offered no backup service and should be run out of the country. They also are the importers for Alfa Romeo (I don’t think any one should own one of these either).

I forgot to mention the handbrake failed on the first car and the car rolled down a driveway and smashed into a wall. I was told that I didn’t engage the handbrake properly!! 3 weeks later Citroën recalled all C5s to have the handbrakes replaced. They would not offer any compensation or fix the damage caused by this faulty handbrake.

So there you have it – the moral of this story is never, never buy Citroën.”