WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Check the oil level on Twin Spark engines as they can drink the stuff; it’s caused by gummed-up oil control rings allowing oil to be burnt and a litre every 300 miles isn’t unheard of. Any 156 lacking a sound maintenance history is best avoided, while some service items on the 2.5 V6 (such as plugs and oil filter) are fiddly to reach, so ensure they’ve not been ignored. As for the other engines, later 2.0-litre JTS motors can be troublesome and suffer from premature camshaft wear and failure of coil packs and injectors. Diesels are generally reliable but check for exhaust smoke/poor running caused by turbo and EGR valve issues.
NEW BELTS PLEASE
Regular cambelt changes are crucial and four-cylinder engines need a fresh one at 36k miles (revised from 72k by Alfa); it’s worth changing the valve-timing variator at the same time as they can get rattily. V6s need a fresh belt at around 60,000 miles (it’s a trickier, more expensive job) along with a new water pump, which is prone to impeller break-up. A corroded and leaking radiator is common, too, and front bumper removal is needed to replace it. Flat spots or lumpy running is likely down to a faulty airflow meter, while failed lambda sensors will illuminate dash warning lights.