Guide to buying a Rover 200MkII & 400MkI

When viewing a car it helps to go prepared. This guide will hopefully highlight some of the weaknesses of the car and prepare you what to look out for.

What model?

The Rover 200/400 model range caters for the majority of motorists. There are base spec models right up to high performance models. Take time to look at the different options, and engine sizes available across the range. This will help you decide what specification is best for you.


In general the bodywork on the Rover 200/400 range lasts very well due to them being galvanised on certain panels.

Areas to look out for are the rear wheel arches. These can start to rust from where the arch meets the sill, and starts to climb up the arch. Also rust can start occurring where the rear bumper meets the wheel arch.

For models which have the rear side spats fitted, then watch out for the sills rusting behind these.

The area around the top of the windscreen is also prone to rusting, normally due to a careless fitter of a replacement windscreen.

Panel fit on these vehicles is generally good. If poor fitting panels are noticed suspect accident damage at some point in its life.


The good news is that the Rover 200Mk2 and 400Mk1 are good solid cars and can be very reliable. Try to stick with vehicles which have a comprehensive history and have obviously been cared for.

Modification is popular for these vehicles so make sure the owner is being honest with you and not trying to hide a vehicle which has been ragged.

Remember the club is here to help keep the vehicles on the road, and the community forum is a great technical resource if you require any advice on your new purchase.

Engine and Gearbox

The K series engine (1.4 and 1.6 post 1996 - except Automatics) is a fairly good engine. These are known for headgasket failure if neglected. Make sure to check the coolant and oil for mayonnaise. Double-check when the owner last changed the coolant. Timing belt should be changed ever 60,000. Rover also recommend oil changes every 6,000 miles. Gearboxes are known for eating input shaft bearings. Noticable the gearbox is noisy on idle but goes quiet when the clutch is pressed.

The T series engine (2.0) is a solid lump. Headgaskets are known to weep from the right hand corner, this is normally not a concern. The PG1 gearbox oil seals are known to leak, so double-check the gearbox has oil in. On turbo models these are known for eating the differential bearings. These are commonly changed for gearboxes which don't have the torsen differential fitted, doublecheck the gearbox code. A slight oil weep is common on the right hand side of the engine from the headgasket.

The Honda engine (1.6 pre1996 and post 1996 Automatics) distributors are a common failure causing starting/running problems.

The XUD Engine (Diesel) is a Peugeot unit. The unit is indirect injection, and is fairly reliable.


  • Rear trailing arm bushes are known to wear - check for crack/tears in the rubber.

  • Rear exhaust boxes on the 1.4 K-Series models are known to rot from the inside.

  • Distributors are known to fail on the Honda engines.

  • Petrol tanks are known to leak at the seam, budget around £80 for a replacement.

  • Gearstick which feels like stirring porridge on the 2.0 models is common, this is easily fixed by replacing with a universal joint.

  • Poor fitting rear lights can cause boot leaks - fix is to seal with silicone or similar.