Don't be put off by the reviews, I agree the servicing and level of service from Alfa Dealers is Non Existent however my father has owned a 156 2.5 V6 for over three years it had done 169,000 miles when he had brought it with full service history the car has now done 204,000 miles (yes that's right) on the original engine and box. It uses no oil and the only problems he has had is with Airbag light coming on, vacuum hose to brake master cylinder and exhaust. Not bad. Just a word of warning I wouldn't use the main dealers find yourself a competent and confident mechanic or garage who will do the work for you. My dad has offered the car to me, would love it, but need to persuade partner.
Never, EVER use an Alfa dealer. There are dozens of Alfa specialists around the country who love your car as much as you. They are cheaper, more experienced and have full access to genuine Alfa parts. Main Dealers are just an incredibly expensive waste of time.
All Alfa owners suffer the same diabolical dealer network-however, there are a number of independent specialists listed in some car magazines (Auto Italia lists loads of them) who will charge half main dealer prices & do twice the job, and with no headaches! Still, it's a small price to pay for being different from the herd-I wouldn't drive anything else.
I've been having problems with the oil in my Alfa 147 - I think it might be a faulty warning lamp... can you direct me to these independent websites for more information?
Alfa make a point of pointing out to the owner of these cars that the oil should be checked at least once a week. If you rely on the warning light the engine will be ruined by the time it comes on (Low oil pressure). If you rely on this light you are lazy for not checking and have yourself to blame. As for the clutch, 55,000 miles is not too bad if you do a lot of town driving, or are the type that keeps in gear at traffic light or rocks backwards and forwards on the clutch.
I have had many Alfa's and if they are looked after correctly they are just as reliable as any other make. I do agree the dealers are not too good though.
Having to check the oil every week is simply unacceptable, in a mass-produced saloon car. This is 2006, not 1956. It is simply very poor design/manufacturing and there's no excuse for it, especially as the TS motor has been around for years. Even the French cars despite their failings don't get this bad!
Everyone should be checking the oil no matter what car you drive. I have always checked oil levels at least once a week and always after a long run. It's a small price to pay for such an individual and rewarding car. If you wait for the oil light to come on your asking for trouble in any car. It's a "warning" light... not a reminder to top up light!
Reading all the woes on Alfa's, here is another sound, I am on my 3d Alfa, 1st was a 155 TS, never a glitch! 2nd a 146 TI, tensioner broke after 8000 km (warranty), 3d a 156 selespeed, no glitch (106.000 km now). Does not use any oil to mention of... belts renewed at 50k and 100k... engine is superb, just a minor throttle remap and a V6 intake pipe, strut-brace, 17in alloys. I love the damn thing!!
I have a Suzuki Grand Vitara. It's 9 years old now and has 100k on the clock. It does not use any fluids between its 6 monthly services (that cost AUD $300). I have had it for 45k and all it's needed more than basic servicing has been a clutch and brake pads.
My story is pretty typical for that marque, and most others from cheap asian factories.
I would love to have a sporty car like an Alfa, I have always loved the look and I have driven a couple... I just can get past the reliability and dreadful failures that leave you by the roadside. How can a cheap car manufacturer make such a inexpensive car, so reliable and the masters of the creative art (Alfa, Fiat and many of the europeans) can't build their own designs. Why don't they design the cars but get a team of Suzuki or Toyota type engineers to tell them all the things wrong with the design, fix those bits then get the cars made in an asian factory. Everyone would own an Alfa if it was not for these horror stories.