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Running at low mileage - anything to watch?
So, I've put my 20 year-old M49 into 'retirement', and am only using it occasionally for certain purposes, and because it's kinda fun and likeable - its engine is much more willing at low revs than my fancy turbocharged new one. Over the winter I've only averaged about 10 miles per week in it, really just to give it an airing and keep the battery charged. I'll probably do a bit more when the weather's nice, but it still will be pretty low mileage. So, my question is: are there any specific maintenance issues to watch out for on really low mileage vehicles? Do belts etc. deteriorate more quickly when not used that much? e.g. the cambelt was changed 5.5 years and 64,000 miles ago (recommended at 75,000 - 80,000 under 'normal' conditions) - should that be a concern?
Work van:     2020 1.5 BlueHDi 100 Enterprise Berlingo
Spare van:    2001 1.9 600d Berlingo
Is it a " keeper " ?  If so I'd get the timing belt, pump and alternator belt renewed, this way you'll have peace of mind all the way through the rest of your ownership and get the pleasure of the new belts too.

I think the main thing for me would be to keep changing the oil on a regular interval but based on time rather than mileage especially if you end up doing lots of short runs where the engine doesn't get fully up to temperature, such runs make the oil work a lot harder.

Other things are likely to be proactive maintenance such as new coolant, visually checking coolant hoses for deterioration and possibly the use of " super " diesel to help keep all clean and in good order internally.

My best tip is to keep the vehicle rolling regularly to keep it alive.
[-] The following 1 user says Thank You to geoff for this post:
  • notsofast
Thanks, that's helpful. I had been wondering about oil intervals, and the 'super' diesel sounds like a good idea. Yes, the idea is to keep it - I know I'll only regret it if I get rid of it, even though financially it would be more 'sensible' (I guess I'm a bit sentimental, and I always regretted getting rid of my old Fiat Panda 20 years ago, despite the fact it wasn't really a very good car - just a flimsy tin can really).
Work van:     2020 1.5 BlueHDi 100 Enterprise Berlingo
Spare van:    2001 1.9 600d Berlingo
I will probably only do 3-4K a year in my van, I plan to change the oil and filter every year anyway as I would have to do it if I did 'normal' mileage so it makes no difference... if that makes sense?
My van: 2008 Berlingo 1.6 HDi Enterprise - a bit ratty!
I agree with Ratty - as a general principle I would work out how often in terms of time all the serviceable parts need changing when doing average mileage, and change them all at those periods regardless of actual miles done.

Also keep an eye on your tyres - my 17 yr old one bought in 2019 had age related cracks as an advisory - and hard working rubber things such as bushes. All rubber will  eventually perish, and plastics do too especially in UV light such as sunlight.

There have been a few odd mentions on here recently about light clusters which seem to get brittle with age.

If you don't have a garage for it, consider a cover for it in between runs.

One last tip - consider buying a set of spares of all sorts while they're still available, especially body, trim (inc wheel trims & mirror shrouds) and light clusters, and also underfloor mechanical items. It's probably the silly little things which cost peanuts now which will become irreplaceable first.
Current: 2003 1.4i MS MPV - Lucifer Red
Prev: 2003 1.6 MS Desire - Blingo Blue
Thanks. Perishing rubber is something I've thought about - I've noticed if I don't open the doors regularly, the rubber seal seems to start sticking, though this might also just be age. All the tyres were changed last month due to uneven wear caused by a damaged tracking rod (?) (which also seemed to make the steering feel a bit loose). I'm hoping parts won't become a big issue, seeing as the M49 was pretty popular and robust so I'm guessing a few will hang around.
Work van:     2020 1.5 BlueHDi 100 Enterprise Berlingo
Spare van:    2001 1.9 600d Berlingo
Door seals - lightly wipe some silicone grease over contact surfaces and tell your wife to save her clothes !

Tyres - general advice here, run them two or three psi over door pillar pressure and they will last longer and not scrub the edges so much. Helps with higher mileage cars.

Spares - service type parts won't be an issue. Scrapyard parts will thin out but genuine spares like light clusters will end up on ebay for reasonable prices.
Thanks. I think I'm going to replace the driver's door seal as it's coming away from the bodywork and letting water into the cabin.  I've read that trying to re-attach seals with a bit of glue isn't a good idea.....

I've noticed with tyre pressures that garages always inflate much more than the reading on my footpump - not sure if that's cos they actually are overinflating slightly, or just that my pump is inaccurate....?
Work van:     2020 1.5 BlueHDi 100 Enterprise Berlingo
Spare van:    2001 1.9 600d Berlingo
That egr thing fitted on dw8 especially with short trips. Just taking head off my sister's car and so much oily black gunk in everything from where that stainless pipe recirculates the exhaust into the engine. Surprised it could even run.
The local garage replaced the EGR a couple of years ago, as a valve was sticking (if I remember correctly). I think they gave me the option of somehow disconnecting it and running the van without it - they said some folks choose that option - but I said to keep one, as I thought it's part of the design and maybe it's necessary to have one to keep emissions low for the MOT?
Work van:     2020 1.5 BlueHDi 100 Enterprise Berlingo
Spare van:    2001 1.9 600d Berlingo

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