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Citroen Xsara Picasso (2000 - 2010)

5
reviewed by Anonymous on 22 February 2020
5
reviewed by Anonymous on 22 February 2020
4
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5
reviewed by PauliePower on 24 December 2015
3
reviewed by AlanH65 on 28 October 2015
5
reviewed by simonhickie on 21 June 2015
3
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4
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4

1.6 HDi FAP (110) Desire People Carrier

reviewed by Viktormildew on 15 March 2013
4
Overall rating
5
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5
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4
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5
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5
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5
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1
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4
Overall reliability

Trusty but now Rusty no corrosion problems for 12 years, not in my experience

A recent episode regarding my 54 plate Citroen Xsara Picasso ownership has prompted me to write this and share my experience. It could be seen as scare mongering but that isn’t my aim. I merely wish to show how a polite, sympathetic yet hand tied representative of Citroen UK offered to help me following my discovery of corrosion within the sills of my car. Every case viewed by Citroen UK will be judged in its own merit so some maybe lucky.

To save you reading through all of this I can give you the bottom line now. I have to say Citroen UK are/were willing to make a good will gesture contribution despite me not having had the scheduled anti corrosion inspections carried out, and despite it being the wrong type of corrosion. It was the type of offer, however, that would leave most people in this situation smarting, as I would still be left with a £1200 bill to have the work done. Given the age of the car ETC I would guess most people, like myself couldn’t justify spending that much on it. The offer was probably made as Citroen knew I couldn’t/ wouldn’t pay this but they are still seen to be the good guys because they acknowledged there was an issue in my case and are prepared to do something.

There have been a few emails between myself and Citroen UKs customer service department but most of the communication has been done by phone. Probably a misunderstanding on my behalf was one of these conversations where I believed I had an option on the type of repair as long as it would be carried out by a Citroen dealer, I thought I had to ask the dealer for a quote where the corrosion would be cut out and repaired, rather than replacing the full sills, which the dealer quoted for. 15th March that was corrected.
Even though I offered to sign a disclaimer because my choice of repair couldn’t be guaranteed by Citroen (isn’t that what body shops do all day, replace and repair damaged panels) they wouldn’t be prepared contribute anything towards the repair so that door closed and I either pay £1200 or go away and sort my own repair. Below is my story.

My case was a long shot, as well as making Citroen UK aware of a potential corrosion issue I was hoping for some form of good will gesture too, which in these times of austerity, was indeed always going to be a long shot.

I've owned Citroëns for a long time, my first car was a 1975 DS given to me by my Dad. I know the early cars suffered with corrosion (didn't most Marques of 70s and early 80s cars) but over time I've seen Citroen improve over the models I've owned from Series 1 and 2 CX, BX, AX, Xantia, XM, Xsara and Xsara Picasso. I still own a 1986 CX bought when it was 2 years old so around 25 years and I've just parted with a 1992 BX 19TGD I've owned for 9 years and it's still going strong 21 years on, replacing it with a 1998, that's a 15 year old Xantia 19TD with 8,500 miles on it. None of my Citroëns bought prior to my Xsara Picasso prepared me for this shock after only five and a half years of ownership.

Jan 2007 I bought a 54 plate Xsara Picasso with just 12,000 miles under its belt from a Citroen Main agent. It had a price of 9k in the window, the car was for my, replacing our 1997 AX 1.5D (Being a long time Citroen owner and seeing as we would be keeping the car for a good many years) I asked at the time if it was possible to have inside the sills filled with Waxoyl 'not literally' and was told "these have a 12 year anti corrosion warranty, you won't need to, and if you did, that could be detrimental to the properties of the anti corrosion system in place" So who wouldn't be impressed with that, Citroen were confident enough in their product to offer 12 corrosion free years. I have to be open from the start here, I've omitted to have the four year and every following second year dealer inspections carried out, this isn't to say the car hasn't been looked after, it lives outside and has been regularly washed ETC, checking the sill drain holes are clear and the underseal is intact. One reason I bought a newer car spending what to me was a lot of money, was to avoid this type of issue, being able to stay on top of the cars condition is half the battle.

I never thought there was (or would be) any cause for concern with rot, until last year during a conversation with a colleague. Their Picasso failed its MOT test due to corrosion, another colleague said theirs had to be welded in same area too, the sill panel under the front doors. I had a look at mine, there were no visible signs of a problem, the body protection ' factory underseal' was intact and there were no external signs of rust staining. All looked well until I tapped the panels and the area seemed thin and I could hear loose material bouncing around in the sill cavity.

Speaking to the dealer that sold the car to me, they said (standing by the terms of the warranty) I needed to have had an inspection at four years and every two years after that to qualify for the 12 year anti perforation, anti corrosion warranty. Ok I had to accept that part, the thing that unsettled me was how many of these (not particularly old and many the choice of taxi ranks and school run Mums) vehicles are rusting out in the same area, going by unnoticed, vehicles like mine could pass an MOT and be on the road, with a potentially dangerous fault.

Contacting Citroen UKs customer service, the original reply was the scripted" sorry inspections not done so we won't recognise the claim", I repeated my concern to them and said I would have one of their (main agent) dealers, carry out a corrosion inspection as if it was in line with inspection schedule and report back the findings, the inspection was done, and guess what? Nothing was seen to cause concern, so even if these routine inspections were carried out, no fault would have been found until some date well in the future, no doubt when the corrosion ruptured the body seal.

I showed the dealer my reason for thinking there was an unseen problem, they were surprised as modern Citroen cars don't suffer from corrosion, and do they? From there the dealer and I went back to Citroen UK with the findings. Citroen UK customer services said if I paid to have underseal removed to see what lies beneath they would re examine my situation.

Two weeks ago this was carried out and on 22nd FEB 2013 I was told by Citroen UK they wouldn't be doing anything to help me. Two reasons, I hadn't had the scheduled inspections done (these would have been worthless anyways) and the warranty is against perforation from the inside out, this is what I thought was wrong with mine yet I'm told by a Citroen customer care manager:-

'The warranty department has reviewed the pictures and there conclusion is that even if there was no damage to the sill, the tiniest of imperceptible of the paint surface could allow moisture to penetrate within the sill. From the evidence that has been presented it shows the corrosion is not caused by inside - outwards.'

Looking at this from the, 'I'm up to date with my scheduled inspection' scenario one would think all would be well, Citroen UKs reply shows they may still not do anything.

I have attached a few pictures I've been sent by the dealer, they have the ones of the car before the underseal was removed and there wasn't any rust staining at all underneath the car.
The corrosion has to be from the inside out, despite the corrosion being hidden by the seemingly ‘intact’ underseal, it isn't corroding from inside out, they're saying it has rusted between the underseal and the metal and that isn't the same.
From the off it appears, the materials used as protection in that area, wouldn't be up to the job and were destined to fail.







The corrosion is between the sill and the underseal ( the underseal that hides this very well, no external signs under visible inspection) and not from the inside of the sill, yet it has a hole in both sills with no evidence of rust staining on the outside of the underseal. This hasn't happened overnight and has been quietly rusting undetected for a few years now; maybe a few of the last ones are just starting, so nowhere near the 12 years that Citroen boast.

There could be many other cars out there in this condition unbeknown to their owners and my bringing this to light, could devalue cars and leave them on trade forecourts longer but I'd rather people be physically safe than sorry and at least know there could be a hidden problem, maybe dealers will check them out before selling them on so they aren't selling an un roadworthy vehicle.

I have visited (today Saturday 23rd Feb 2103) four local used car dealers. Three of those had Xsara Picassos with a similar condition to my car before the underseal was stripped and a forth dealer had two with the same defect and a third car not on sale. On that one the front of the sills looked like the bulbous bow of a ship. I managed to get a picture of one of the cars but I didn't want raise attention to what I was doing, I don't think the traders would be too pleased as generally the Picasso has been and is a good selling car. Why are so many cars failing in this area if it isn't a design, material choice or manufacturing fault?


This one has a small blister on it, the rest of the sill is crunchy, there is no rust staining on it so it appears, to the eye to be sealed to the outside world. The camera didn't pick up the other examples but the sills were softer to the touch.

This isn't through bitterness, I still like the cars, I just question, the warranty and the marketing hype... how can Citroen boast their cars will get to 12 years without the worry of perforation corrosion, it’s still happening. I and other owners of Xsara Picassos will continue sufferance of perforation corrosion it's just not the version Citroen accept.

How many people out there, unlike me have paid for the inspections and will be told sorry, it's the wrong type of corrosion. At least Citroen UK are aware of this now and others enquiring will get a faster response. Money will continue to be paid for inspections, the cars will continue to corrode but maybe it's the 'wrong type of corrosion' to be covered by the warranty. In my case the money I didn't spend on the inspections, can be put to the cars repair that in Citroëns boast, I shouldn't have been facing for another four years at least.

It may be worth owners removing and re placing the underseal on their cars for peace of mind if nothing else. This may save someone the trouble of replacing the sill or patching up their car instead. Maybe a service bulletin will go out and save others some heartache.

I asked a couple of questions that haven’t been answered

Would you know how many claims have been made by Citroen Xsara Picasso owners against Citroen UKs 12 year anti corrosion warranty?

Would you know if any Citroen Xsara Picasso owners have successfully had repair work done under the Citroen UK 12 year anti corrosion warranty? Hopefully you shouldn't get many yes answers because the product doesn't corrode inside this time period, does it?

I still love my current Citroëns but I will think twice about buying such a young or even a new one again.

repeat of the story here with pictures
http://www.frenchcarforum.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=43785

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