6 Big Citroen & Peugeot PureTech Engine Problems (1.2 PureTech)

If you’re buying a modern petrol Citroen or a Peugeot chances are, it’s fitted with the PureTech engine. While they are good engine, we’ve heard some horror stories about timing belt tears and even engine failures. We consulted our local Citroen dealership here in Croatia and learned everything we needed to write this.

Proper research is something that every car buyer should do. It doesn’t matter if you buy a new or a used vehicle, every model has some problems. Some of them more, while some of them to a lesser extent. And your task is to find the one that has the least issues. This is why we are here to help you out.

First, we are going to discuss the basic specs of the PureTech engine, then we are going to elaborate on the PureTech engine problems and also the applications of this engine. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the article.

Basic Citroen/Peugeot Puretech Engine Specs

The PureTech engine is a PSA engine that has been in production for a while now. These engines were introduced in 2012 and they are still widely used in many Citroen, Peugeot, Opel/Vauxhall, Jeep, and even in the Toyota Aygo.

Nevertheless, this PureTech family of engines carries the codename EB. All of these engines are inline-3 and their displacement ranges from 1.0L to 1.2L. They are naturally aspirated or turbocharged and designed to deliver decent power with relatively small displacement. So, let’s cover the common specs of this family of engines in detail.

  • Engine Configuration: inline-3
  • Displacement: 1.0L or 1.2L
  • Bore Size: 71 – 75 mm
  • Piston Stroke: 84.1 – 90.5 mm
  • Head Design: DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
  • Variable Valve Timing: Yes
  • Turbocharger: Yes on some versions
  • Direct Injection: Yes
  • Fuel Type: Gas
  • Horsepower: 68 – 155 hp
  • Torque Output: 95 – 250 N-m (70 – 184 lb-ft)

Common PureTech Engine Problems

Now let’s briefly list the common PureTech engine problems. Even though there are more than a few variations of this engine, they actually share all the same issues. So, it doesn’t matter if you buy a 1.0L or a 1.2L, the problems are the same for both.

Common Citroën and Peugeot PureTech engine problems include:

  • Timing Belt Problems
  • Low Oil Pressure
  • Engine Failure
  • Requires Exact Oil
  • Turbocharger Failures
  • Spark Plug Failures
  • Blown Head Gasket
  • Accessory Belt Failures

Now that we learned more about the common PureTech engine problems, we can move on and learn more about how and when these problems appear.

Knowing this information is pretty crucial when it comes to this engine because this can be very expensive to fix some of these problems. So, let’s elaborate on these issues and learn more about when and how they appear.

Timing Belt Problems

The biggest problem with this PureTech engine is the timing belt. This engine is one of a kind when it comes to its timing design. If you Google “PureTech timing belt problems” you’ll find numerous owners reporting issues.

This engine uses a timing belt that is lubricated. Usually, timing belts run dry, while timing chains are oiled. But this engine uses a wet timing belt.

And this causes many of the problems in the PureTech engine and frankly, it ruins its reliability score.

This timing belt is prone to cracking and if it cracks and is not detected on time, will result in permanent engine damage.

The valves and the pistons will collide and this will lead to a situation known as a bent valve. The only way around this problem will be to rebuild the engine and this can often be expensive.

This is why the timing belt should be inspected through the oil cap hole. Just remove the oil cap and inspect the belt for cracks. If there are cracks, you should immediately replace it.

Some people even measure the thickness of the timing belt since a worn-out timing belt will shrink in size.

Luckily, PSA did change the belt manufacturer and on newer engines after this problem is not that common occurrence.

Low Oil Pressure

Another common problem on the PureTech engines is the low oil pressure. This is a problem that a lot of owners face. They decide to turn on the engine and they get a low oil pressure warning. So, what does this mean?

Well, this means that there is not enough oil pressure buildup in the engine. This problem is closely related to the timing belt issue that we previously covered.

What happens is that the debris from the timing belt collects in the oil pan and the oil sump collects this dirty oil.

The dirt from the oil is then collected on the filter of the oil sump and this creates a blockage. This blockage will prevent oil from flowing into the engine.

There will not be enough oil in the engine and a low oil pressure warning will appear. So, be definitely aware of this problem.

Engine Failure

Engine failures were also noted on the PureTech engines. These failures are pretty common in the early model years of the PureTech engine.

As we noted previously, this engine uses a wet timing belt that can fail and cause debris to fall down in the oil pan.

Then this debris gets picked up and once the wet sump cannot take oil it will cause oil starvation in the engine.

In this case, engine internals will suffer. The bearings will wear out and also the piston rings. Complete engine failure in these cases is unavoidable.

Requires Exact Oil

The PureTech engine is also very sensitive to engine oil. These engines do not like to run with viscosities that are not recommended by the factory. The entire timing belt issue is commonly addressed to the fact that 3rd party service centers or the owners themselves fill up the engine with the wrong engine oil that eventually destroys the timing belt.

If you add the wrong oil, the timing belt will suffer and start to shred much quicker compared to normal.

Also, other problems might arise. So, always stick to the factory-recommended engine oil in order to avoid problems down the line.

Turbocharger Failures

Turbocharger failures were also noted on the turbo applications of this engine. These turbos are very sensitive to oil.

Oil lubricates them and also cools them down and if you don’t replace the oil on time, the turbo will blow and fail.

Oil leaks from the turbo will be present once this problem occurs. This is why you should do preventive oil changes on this engine at 7,000 km in order to avoid issues that can potentially damage the turbo as well as the engine.

Spark Plug Failures

Next on our list of PureTech engine problems is the spark plug failures. Spark plugs tend to fail on these engines and cause problems on these direct injection engines.

Luckily, these components are easily replaceable and you can replace them in half an hour at home.

Some symptoms associated with this problem include check engine light, engine misfires, rough idle, poor engine work, and low engine performance. Replacing these components should not cost you more than 50 euros.

Blown Head Gasket

Head gaskets on these engines can also fail and cause problems. The head gasket as you probably know is the component that is located between the cylinder head and the engine block.

The head gasket basically seals the head with the block, and on many of these early engines, the head gasket can fail and cause the engine to overheat.

Once the engine overheats, you will have to refurbish the cylinder head or possibly get a new cylinder head. And this is an expensive problem to fix.

Accessory Belt Failures

Accessory belt failures are also common PureTech engine problems. The accessory belt is the belt that powers your accessories.

Accessories include the alternator and water pump. Whenever the belt starts failing, it will start to crack, similar to the timing belt.

Many people reported that they had to replace these belts early on because of poor build quality. Instead of lasting more than 80,000 kilometers, they replaced the belt at 40,000.

High Fuel Consumption & Carbon Deposits

Another thing to add to our list of PureTech engine problems is the high fuel consumption. This is generally not a problem but it can be a headache for a lot of people. Carbon deposits that form due to common short trips are a bigger issue. Read our guide on engine carbon deposits to learn more.

Even though quite small, this engine is not one of the most fuel-efficient engines around. Especially the turbocharged ones that produce a lot of power. Sometimes low displacement does not equal low fuel consumption.

Which Models Have The PureTech Engine?

Now let’s see which models have the PureTech engine.

Peugeot Models: 108, 208, 2008, 301, 308 II, 408 II, 3008, 5008 and Rifter.

Citroen Models: C1 II, C3 III, C3/C4 Aircross, C3-XR, C4 Cactus, C4 Picasso, C5 Aircross.

DS Models: DS3, DS3 Crossback, DS 4S, DS 7 Crossback.

Opel/Vauxall Models: Mokka, Grandland, Crossland, Corsa F, Combo E.

Other Makes: Jeep Avenger, MPM Erelis, Toyota Aygo, Toyota ProAce City.


What Are The Common PureTech Engine Problems?

Common problems with this engine include premature timing belt failures. The timing belt starts to crack prematurely and starts to fail, contaminants fall into the oil pan and prevent oil flow. This can end up in an engine disaster. Other problems include turbo failures, head gasket failures, and accessory belt failures.

Is The PureTech Engine Reliable?

The newer PureTech engines are pretty reliable. We would advise that you still be careful with the timing belt condition and monitor if the timing belt has developed some cracking. If it has cracks, fix it as soon as possible.

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