There is very little that should go wrong on a 400/45/ZS if you look after it.
Since ownership of my 45 I have had to do very little in regards to reliability and faults. It has been my faithful old friend that starts on cold winter mornings and has been inexpensive to run.
The 400/45 is a very reliable car if it is looked after and maintained accordingly to time specification listed in the MG Rover owner’s handbook. In particular, the Rover diesel under the bonnet of my vehicle will run and run if serviced at the necessary date. Clinically if you are considering buying one of these vehicles, service history is important (as is any used car), but especially if you want to buy the KV6 six cylinder model that has expensive cam belt changes.
Before purchasing my 45 in January 2010 I had learnt to drive in my parents old Rover 400 baring the 1.4 16v 103bhp K series petrol unit. My grandfather purchased the car new in 1996 and it was passed down through the family to me. When I parted with the car it was showing 103,000 miles on the original head gasket (which plagued Rover K series engines). Apart from the usual oil and filter changes the car had only received two trailing arm bushes in its 13 year life, which is known common issue for this particular car and the Japanese variant that the 400/45/ZS is based on underneath (the Honda Civic).
Headgaskets a nightmare? Yeah, right.
A common problem that was shared with my old 400 was the heater fan that stopped working on positions 1 and 2. I am sure every owner would have had this issue but do not fear it is an inexpensive fix that will cost pence. Behind the dash of the 400/45/ZS is a resistor pack that tends to break causing these two fan settings to stop working. You can buy a new fan resistor pack on the internet for around £10 to £20. Another alternative widely regarded (and used by myself) is to solder in a new resistor from Maplins that costs very little indeed it.
Trouble-free Rover ownership? Almost.
Another small problem that also occurs is a small loss of power steering fluid from the reservoir due to a failed jubilee clips used to tighten the pipe leading from the plastic reservoir. Simply replace the jubilee clip and this will then cure the problem.
If your car is fitted with a sunroof check the front floor plan for signs of surface rust, as the drainage points of the sunroof are there and can corrode the floor. This was mentioned on my MOT in 2010 and has now been rectified with a liberal amount of K rust and protected with Hammerite Underbody Seal.
Apart from the under floor surface rust issue, fan resistor pack failure and faulty jubilee clips on the power steering fluid reservoir, there was one more problem that my car suffered. This was a small amount of power steering fluid to leak out of pump and connecting union that comes from the power steering fluid reservoir. The problem was a failed O ring in the union to pump thread which was leaking a small amount of fluid to seep out and down the engine causing the alternator belt to squeak constantly. I first replaced the O ring but this however did not stop the issue and continued to leak. So I went to my local auto part store and purchased some Loctite Flange Sealant and worked into the thread where the union will join the pump. Allow the sealant to set for around three hours on a warm day replace fluid and the problem should be remedied.
If you experience any more problems with you Rover 400/45 or MG ZS visit the MG Rover forum where many owners will be able to guide you through problems which they may have suffered in the past. Plus you are guaranteed a result from previous experience.
Today you still see many Rover 45s on the roads because of their great affordability (they can be picked up for less than £1000) and connected with low running costs they make sense to the budget buyer that is looking for something a little more upmarket.
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