Peugeot 405 Mi16 Buyer’s Guide, History & Specs

In the late eighties and early nineties Peugeot made some incredible cars, with one of them being the 405 Mi16. The Peugeot was so good in fact, that it has been compared to the likes of the BMW M3 and the Mercedes Benz 190E 2.3-16 despite being front-wheel drive.

Today, the Peugeot 405 Mi16 has become a real collector’s item and sourcing a good one is a real challenge. We have put together this “Peugeot 405 Mi16 buyer’s guide & history” article to help those who are looking to purchase one of these fantastic French cars.

In this buyer’s guide you will find all the information you need to know to make an informed purchase of a 405 Mi16.

Using This Peugeot 405 Mi16 Buyer’s Guide

We have broken this buyer’s guide up into several different sections that cover various different topics about the 405 Mi16. To begin with we will be looking at the history of the car and then we will go into the buyer’s guide section of the article. To finish off we will be looking at more general car buying advice (mileage vs condition, what to look for in a seller, how to get the best deal, etc.).

The History of the Peugeot 405 Mi16

Peugeot launched the 405 in July 1987 and it made its way to the United Kingdom and America the following year. When it launched, the compact sedan was an instant hit, winning the European Car of the Year award with the largest number of votes in the contest’s history.

Part of the reason why the car was such a hit was its styling. The car was styled by Pininfarina who also designed the Alfa Romeo 164 that launched around the same time. It also shared the bottom plate with the Citroën BX, however, it did not feature the hydropneumatic suspension of its French cousin.

While the 405 range was mostly filled with sensible family cars, there was one model that was a bit different. This car was of course the 405 Mi16 that was first introduced into the United Kingdom and other areas in July 1988.

The 405 Mi16 was made in very much the same way as the 205 GTi, but bigger and more comfortable. It featured an absolutely sublime 1.9-litre four-cylinder engine that produced as much as 158 horsepower (118 kW) at 6,400 rpm and 181 Nm (133 lb-ft) of torque at 5,000 rpm.

Unlike many other manufacturers at the time, Peugeot didn’t just pull a larger engine out of one of their other standard production cars and slap it in the 405. The lightweight aluminium engine was derived from a unit that had not only won the 1985 and 1986 World Rally Championships, but also the gruelling 1987 and 1988 Paris-Dakar events.

At low engine speeds, the Mi16’s power unit was known for its remarkably smooth and quiet operation. However, once the tach needle reached around 5,000 rpm the Mi16 came alive and a surge of power let drivers know that the car meant business.

The 405 Mi16’s engine was so good, that many of them were ripped out of the car and put in other vehicles, with the most notable being the 205 GTi. Later in the car’s life, the 1.9-litre power unit would be replaced with a 2.0-litre unit that was used in the 306 GTi.

Along with the incredible new 1.9-litre engine, the car was given anti-lock brakes as standard, stiffer suspension and five-spoke alloy wheels. The overall ride height was reduced by 10 mm at the front and 15 mm at the rear, and the alloy wheels were wrapped in ‘V’-rated 195/60 tyres.

While the Mi16 retained the conservative styling of the standard 405, it did feature a few exterior changes. There was a new raised spoiler on the boot, new front and rear bumpers with the former sporting rectangular fog lamps, and deep cladding at the side.

All the new styling cues came together to form a purposeful, sharp look, that gave a hint at what the car could do. The exterior changes were rounded off by an Mi16 boot badge and subtle pinstriping that ended with a ‘16v’ motive on the rear of each flank.

Altogether Peugeot produced 47,900 Mi16s between 1987 and 1992, with 1,046 of them being the four-wheel drive model that was launched in 1989.

The 405 Mi16 would be the last high-performance French car to be exported to the United States (although it looks like French manufacturers are returning in 2023). It was arguably one of Peugeot’s finest ever creations and it is now one of the most collectable French cars available today.

Peugeot 405 Mi16 Specifications

Model405 Mi16 & Mi16x4
Year of production1987 – 1994
LayoutFront-engine, front-wheel drive

(Four-wheel drive for Mi16x4)

EngineXU9 J4 – Fuel injection 16-valve DOHC
Cylinders 4
Capacity1.9 to 2.0-litres
AspirationNaturally aspirated


158 hp (118 kW) at 6,400 rpm
Torque181 Nm (133 lb-ft) at 5,000 rpm
Transmission5-speed manual
Brakes (front)Ventilated discs (266 mm)
Brakes (rear)Solid discs (250 mm)
Weight1,110 kg (2,447 lb)
0 – 100 km/h (62 mph)8.2 seconds
Top speed220 km/h (137 mph)

Peugeot 405 Mi16 & Mi16x4 Buying Guide

Credit: peterolthof –

Now that we have covered the history and specifications of the Peugeot 405 Mi16, let’s take a look at what you need to know about buying one.

Like the 205 GTi, the 405 Mi16 has a bit of a reputation for poor reliability and build quality, however, in truth the car was fairly well built. Yes, like many other French cars the interior is a bit flimsy and the paint is rubbish, but the mechanicals are pretty bombproof if the car has been maintained properly.

However, that is where the problem usually starts, maintenance. Many 405 Mi16s have made their way into the hands of people who couldn’t or wouldn’t maintain them properly. For this reason you need to be extra thorough when inspecting any 405 Mi16.

A good 405 Mi16 that has been maintained well shouldn’t cause too many problems and will provide many more years of motoring enjoyment. Let’s take a look at what to look out for on an Mi16.

Setting Up an Inspection

It is always a good idea to inspect any 405 Mi16 yourself or get a reliable third party to do so for you. Additionally, you may want to bring a friend or helper with you as they may be able to spot an issue you missed.

When you are arranging an inspection try to view the car in the morning when the engine is cold and the outside temperature is cooler. A pre-warmed engine can hide serious issues, so watch out for this when you are inspecting a 405 Mi16.

You should also try to avoid inspecting an Mi16 in the rain or when the exterior is wet. This is because water on the bodywork can hide a number serious issues from crash damage to problems with the paint and even rust.

How Much Should You Pay for a Peugeot 405 Mi16

We can’t give you an exact answer here as the price of a car depends on a number of factors from the condition to the location it is being sold and more. If you want to know how much you should pay for a 405 Mi16, we recommend that you check out local auction/classifieds websites or dealers to see what the prices are. You can then use these prices to determine how much money you need to spend.

Peugeot 405 Mi16 Inspection Guide

In the following section you will find everything you need to know about inspecting a Peugeot 405 Mi16.

VIN Check

It is important to check the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) as it can tell you quite a bit of information about the car. Enter the VIN into a check-up website or service to see what comes up. If you have your phone on you, you can do this while you are inspecting the car. The VIN can be found in the engine bay on the VIN plate.

Engine & Exhaust

The first thing to do here is to take a good general look at the engine bay – does it look like it has been maintained well? Are there any leaks or signs of overheating? Are any of the parts broken or modified?

A completely spotless engine bay can be a sign of a really fastidious owner who has maintained their car well, however, it may also be a sign that they are trying to cover something up like an oil leak.

Remember to check that the engine is cold. If it is not and the owner has not driven to the inspection point it may be a sign that they have pre-warmed the engine to cover up a problem.

Once you have done all that it is time to start checking the fluid levels. Make sure you do this both before and after a test drive to see if they are roughly the same height (a slight change is to be expected).

If the fluid levels are either too low or too high it indicates that the Mi16 you are looking at has been poorly maintained. Incorrect fluid levels will lead to premature component wear or possibly even total engine failure.

When Should the Oil & Oil Filter Be Changed on a 405 Mi16

Both the engine oil and oil filter need to be changed regularly on a Peugeot 405 Mi16 (or any car for that matter). Check the service history and with the owner to see when these two items were last replaced (if the owner did it themselves it may not be in the service history).

If the oil is not replaced frequently it can breakdown in the presence of contaminates and become diluted. Below you can find some information on when the oil and oil filter need to be changed on a 405 Mi16.

Engine Oil

It is generally recommended that you replace the engine oil every 9,000 km (6,000) miles or so if synthetic oils are being used. For those that don’t drive their Mi16 much oil changes should be every six to twelve months. You may come across an owner who changes their oil even more frequently, which can only be seen as a good thing.

Best Engine Oil for a Peugeot 405 Mi16

Pretty much any good 10W-40 fully synthetic engine oil will be okay in the Peugeot 405 Mi16. A good option is something like Fuchs Titan Race Pro 10W-40 synthetic engine oil. Generally, lighter weight engine oils are better in cooler temperatures, while heavier ones are better for hotter climates.

Oil Filter

When it comes to the oil filter it is recommended that you use a genuine one from Peugeot. A number of aftermarket options are available, but they can cause problems, so staying with the Peugeot one is probably a safer bet. It is generally a good idea to replace the oil filter with every oil change, but many people do it with every second change.

Inspecting the Oil

Checking the Oil itself is an important thing to do. If you notice any metallic particles or grit on the dipstick move onto another Mi16 as the one you are looking at is probably not worth your time. Additionally, watch out for a frothy dipstick as it may indicate a failed head gasket or other overheating problems.

405 Mi16 Oil Leaks

When you are inspecting a Peugeot 405 Mi16, remember to keep an eye out for any oil leaks. Expect to see some oil leakage around the cylinder head and sump, but if you notice any big puddles of oil underneath the car then walk away. Don’t forget to check for oil leaks both before and after a test drive.

Timing Belt and Service on a 405 Mi16

It is incredibly important that you check that the timing belt has been replaced at or before the recommended service interval. If the timing belt snaps it can lead to some very expensive bills, so make sure it has been done.

The timing belt should be replaced every 58,000 km (36,000 miles) or every four years. While you are replacing the timing belt the water pump, alternator belt and coolant should also be replaced.

Some owners like the replace the timing belt even earlier, especially if they are doing a lot of stop start journeys or enthusiastic driving. You can replace the timing belt yourself, but if you are not very mechanically inclined it is better to get it done by an experienced mechanic or Peugeot specialist.

If the car is subjected to more intensive use (a lot of stop-star driving, short journeys, enthusiastic driving), you may want to look at changing the timing belt sooner. If the timing belt is not changed, you run the risk of severely damaging the engine if the belt breaks.

If this work has not been carried out, you should either move onto another 405 Mi16 or try to get a large discount and get it done immediately.

Checking the Cooling System on a Peugeot 405 Mi16

An overheating 405 Mi16 can be an absolute nightmare, so make sure you inspect as much of the cooling system as you can. The cooling system includes the following components/items.

  • Radiator – removes heat from the water/coolant
  • Thermostat – sends water/coolant that is hotter than the target temperature to the radiator to be cooled
  • Water Pump – belt that is driven from a pulley. Pushes water/coolant through the engine
  • Overflow or Expansion bottle – removes air from the system and provides a filling point
  • Coolant Lines – hoses that allow water/coolant to remain contained as it moves through the engine/cooling system

A failure in any one of these components can cause the car to overheat and may even lead to total engine failure.

We recommend that you check the cooling system both before and after a test drive. The reason for this is that as the engine starts to heat up more problems may become apparent. In addition to this, if the coolant height changes drastically you know that there is a problem with the car (a small change is to be expected however).

If you notice that the expansion tank is warped or cracked on the 405 Mi16 you are looking at it may be a sign that the vehicle has overheated in the past.

What Are the Signs of an Overheating Mi16?

If you notice any of the problems below it may indicate that the Mi16 you are inspecting/test driving is overheating or suffering from a blown head gasket (quite a common issue on these cars).

  • Engine oil that smells of coolant
  • Sweet exhaust smell
  • Coolant leaking externally from below the exhaust manifold
  • White smoke from the exhaust pipe (especially if you see lots of it)
  • Bubbles in the radiator or coolant overflow tank
  • Oil that is white and milky
  • Fouled spark plugs
  • Low cooling system integrity

If the temperature gauge is on the low side it may indicate a problem with the thermostat, while if it is on the higher side it indicates that the car may be overheating. However, don’t trust the cooling gauge completely as they can often be quite temperamental, especially on older cars such as the 405 Mi16.

Spark Plugs

If you can, try to get a look at the spark plugs. The appearance of spark plugs can tell you a lot about an engine and how it is running. Take a look at this guide for more information on spark plug analysis. We have listed the recommended spark plugs for each engine below:

What Spark Plugs Does a 405 Mi16 Need?

Here are a couple of options from NGK that come recommended for the Mi16.

  • BKR6ES
Checking the Exhaust System on a Peugeot 405 Mi16

Remember to check as much of the exhaust system as you can. While there are no specific problems with the exhaust on a 405 Mi16, there are a few general things to watch out for.

  • Black sooty stains – Indicates a leak which may require expensive repairs
  • Corrosion – May or may not be a problem, but keep an eye out for it (especially if the car has lived in places like the UK where they salt their roads). Any signs of significant corrosion are a major problem and you should probably walk away from the vehicle. Rust on the exhaust may also be caused by accident damage
  • Cracks or accident damage – Usually a sign of a careless owner
  • Dodgy repairs – Cheap exhaust repairs are a major issue, and they can often be a nightmare to put right.
Starting Up a Peugeot 405 Mi16

Get the owner/seller to start the Mi16 so you can check what is coming out the back of the exhaust. Additionally, if they rev the car hard then you know to walk away and move onto another 405 Mi16.

When the key is turned in the ignition the car should jump into life. If it hesitates or fails to start completely then there is a problem, which may be something like a bad battery or something much more serious.

What is the Correct Idle Speed for a 405 Mi16?

Once the 405 Mi16 you are inspecting has warmed up properly, the idle speed should be around 875 rpm (plus or minus 50 rpm). When you turn on all of the electronics, lights, AC, etc. the idle speed will probably increase, but the car should not stall or run roughly.

Poor idle isn’t the end of the world, but it can indicate a larger issue at play. If the Mi16 you are inspecting is idling poorly, use that to get a discount if you intend to purchase the car.

Smoke from a Peugeot 405 Mi16

Lots of smoke or vapour is always a sign of trouble so keep an eye out for it. Expect a little bit of vapour from the exhaust on engine start-up, but it shouldn’t be too much and it should eventually go away. Here are what the different colours of smoke indicate:

White smoke – This is usually caused by water in the cylinders and could indicate a blown head gasket. If the smoke smells sweet, it is probably coolant.

Blue smoke – Can be caused by wear to the pistons, piston rings, and/or worn valve seals. To check for blue smoke, ask a friend to follow you while drive the vehicle and take it through the rev range. Alternatively, get the owner to drive the car for a bit and watch out the back. Blue smoke on start-up and overrun is a sign that the car has been thrashed.

Black smoke – Usually occurs when the engine is running too rich (burning too much fuel). The first things you should check is the air-filter and other intake components.

Crank/Big End Bearing & Other Problems

A loud knocking noise could be a sign of a failing/failed big end bearing, which will be expensive to get fixed. We would pass on the vehicle if it has this problem, unless you can get the car at an incredible price and know a good Peugeot specialist who can do the job (or someone competent at least).

Remember to check the brackets/clips and wiring around the engine bay as if it is not stock it may be a sign that the car’s engine has been removed at some point. The engine mounts can corrode and break as well, so try to get a look at those to make sure they are in good condition. \

A clicking/tapping sound is usually caused be worn tappets/lifters, however, it can sometimes be a lot more serious. A tapping noise on start-up is most likely caused by faulty non-return valves in the head (there is two of them).

During a Test Drive

Always let a car warm up properly before giving it some revs. Once the Mi16 is up to temperature, check that it accelerates smoothly and that there is no hesitation or bucking. If there is it could be a whole load of different problems, so proceed with caution. Keep an ear out for any strange noises such as banging, knocking or tapping and check for any smoke.

Engine Swaps & Rebuilds

The Peugeot 405 Mi16 is a pretty old car now and as such many of them have had their engines rebuilt. There is nothing wrong with this as long as it has been done by a competent Peugeot specialist. Try to find out who did the work and if they have a poor reputation don’t purchase the car.

It is usually better to buy an Mi16 with a rebuilt engine that has a few more k’s on it. For example, a rebuild that has already travelled 10,000 km is a safer bet than one that has only travelled a few hundred kilometres.

Engine swaps aren’t that common on these cars as the 158 horsepower 1.9-litre power unit was (and still is) pretty special. It is far more common for the engine to be swapped out of the car and into something like the 205 GTi (more on that later).

Compression Testing a Peugeot 405 Mi16

A compression test is by no means necessary, but it is a good way to find out the health of a 405 Mi16’s engine.

Compression readings for an Mi16 should be around 180 – 220 psi. However, the most important thing with a compression test is that the numbers between the cylinders don’t deviate too much (all within 10% of each other).

Even if you do not intend to do a compression test, we recommend that you ask the owner/seller if you can get one done. If they refuse it may be a sign that they are trying to cover something up.

Transmission & Differential

It is important to note that the transmission in the Mi16x4 is different to that of the front-wheel drive car. When an Mi16’s transmission take the car through all of the gears at both low and high engine speeds and listen/feel for any grinding, whirring or clunking.

The standard Mi16’s manual transmission is pretty problem free, but worn synchros can occur, especially with spirited driving. Sloppy/loose shifting is usually caused by worn gear linkages. New ones are available are available and they are fairly easy to fit.

When it comes to the Mi16x4, if there is any internal damage to the transmission, such as broken teeth, it will be super expensive to fix. Problems usually with the Mi16x4’s transmission usually manifest at the rear wheels.

Additionally, if the rear-differential needs to be repaired or replaced expect to have your wallet emptied. If you have any doubt about the transmission/differential, take the car to a specialist.

Checking the Clutch on an Mi16

Below you can find some ways to check the condition of the clutch on a Peugeot 405 Mi16:

Clutch Engagement – The first step is to make sure the engagement is good. To do this put the Mi16 you are inspecting into gear on a level surface and let the clutch out slowly. It should engage around 7 to 10 cm (2.5 to 4 inches) from the floor. Engagement that is early or too late indicates a problem.

Clutch Slippage – The way to check for this is to shift into a gear that is too high for the speed you are going. Once you have done this, plant your foot on the throttle and watch the revs. If the engine speed goes up but the car doesn’t accelerate the clutch is slipping. Here are some things that can cause slippage

  • Worn clutch
  • Clutch covered in oil
  • Clutch cable is too tight and is not releasing properly

Clutch Drag – Get the Mi16 on a flat surface and press the clutch pedal to the floor (do this while you are stationary). Rev the 405 hard (once it is warm) and see If it moves. If the car does move, the clutch is not disengaging when you shift and parts will wear prematurely.

If the clutch is knackered in a Mi16x4 expect to pay some serious money to get it replaced (well into the four figures). While the clutch is identical to the two-wheel drive model, the prop, subframe and transfer box all have to be removed before the gearbox can come off.

405 Mi16 Body & Exterior

Bodywork problems can be a real nightmare to fix, so take your time going over the exterior of any Mi16 you are thinking of buying.


While Peugeot was pretty good at rust proofing their cars in the late eighties and early nineties, you do have to be mindful of the problem. A 405 Mi16 is more likely to suffer from rust if it has experienced one or more of the following:

  • Spent time in countries or areas that salt their roads
  • Spent time in countries or areas with very harsh winters
  • Lived by the sea for significant periods of time
  • Always been kept outside (never garaged)
  • Accident damage (stone chips or more significant damage)

Rust isn’t an instant dismissal, but it is always a larger problem than it first appears. If the Mi16 you are looking at is suffering from major rust issues then move onto another car as the one you are looking at is probably not worth your time and money.

Where Does Rust Usually Occur on an Mi16?

The main areas to check for rust are as follows (however, it can also occur in other places as well, just less common):

  • Front lower cross-member
  • Boot floor
  • Roof ahead of the sunroof
  • Wheel arches
  • Inside the wheel wells
  • Bottom corners of the door frames
  • Around the windows
Rust Repairs

While you are inspecting the bodywork, you should also keep an eye out for rust repairs. Look for any areas that may have been resprayed or repaired and check the service history. Additionally, check with the owner, however, remember that they may not be 100% honest with you.

Use a magnet on steel sections of the car or a coating gauge thickness tool such as this one to find any areas that may have been repaired.

Accident Damage on a 405 Mi16

Crash damage should be one of your biggest areas of concern for a 405 Mi16. Many owners and sellers will lie about the severity of an incident or say that their car hasn’t been in an accident at all. If they do mention that the car has been in an accident, assume the worst and hope for the best. Here are some things you should watch out for:

  • Bent or broken parts underneath the car – Check to see if everything is straight underneath the vehicle and watch out for any replaced parts. Take a good look at all the suspension, steering and exhaust components for damage.
  • Rust in strange locations – Could be a sign that the Mi16 you are looking at has been in an crash or has some other sort of issue.
  • Paint runs or overspray – Sometimes a factory issue but can also be a sign of a respray due to crash damage.
  • Missing badges or trim – Can be due to repair work (body shop couldn’t find replacements) or a number of other things (stolen, etc.).
  • Misaligned panels or large panel gaps – Check that the bonnet lines up correctly and fits as it should. Additionally, check the bonnet catches as if they look new the car has probably been in an accident. You should also check the doors, tailgate and the lights for any damage or signs of past damage. If the panels are uneven it could suggest an accident has occurred.
  • Doors that drop or don’t close properly – If the doors drop or don’t open/close properly the 405 Mi16 you are inspecting may have been in a crash. Alternatively, the hinges on Mi16s wear quite quickly, so a car with this problem may just need new ones (not too expensive).
  • Inconsistencies such as waving, rippling or different coloured panels – Indicates a respray which may have been conducted as a result of accident damage or rust.
  • If the bonnet/hood looks like it is popped when it is not – This may indicate that the Mi16 you are looking at has been crashed into something (even a light knock can cause this problem).

Accident damage isn’t always a dismissal, but like rust the problem is usually bigger than it first appears. If there are any signs of serious present or past accident damage then you should move onto another 405 Mi16.

Additionally, if the owner is not forthcoming with information about the accident, then it is probably better to pass on the car (However, remember that it may have been a previous owner and the current one is not sure what happened or what got repaired).

Paintwork, Scratches & Dents

By now, many of the 405 Mi16’s that are still on the road will have pretty tired paintwork. If the Mi16 you are looking at has been stored in a garage for the majority of its life the paint should still be good, however, it is rare to find a 30 year old car stored this way for its entire life.

The body panels on the 405 Mi16 are thin and can dent easy. Dents can be repaired, but sometimes it is expensive to do so. Remember to check the condition of the window, door, and sunroof seals to make sure they are still good. If they are not water may be able to make its way into the cabin.

Suspension & Steering

Get down and inspect as many of the suspension and steering components as you possibly can – Do they look in good condition or are they well past their use by date? Is there any corrosion? Is the suspension or steering original or is it modified?

All these things are important to take note of because replacing suspension and steering components can get expensive quick. Wear in the lower arm bushes and rod ends is common, so keep an eye out for that.

While you are at the front of the car, push down on the suspension. The front suspension should be hard, and you should have to use a bit of force to push it down. If it moves easily or bounces to much on return, then the suspension is probably a bit worn.

Below we have listed some of the tell-tale signs of tired suspension:

  • Delayed or longer stopping distances
  • Uneven tyre wear
  • Excessive tyre bounce after hitting a bump
  • Leaking fluid on the exterior of the shock/strut
  • Sagging rear suspension – usually caused by bad bushings in the rear
  • Knocking or creaking sounds during a test drive (don’t forget to drive in a tight figure 8)
  • Dipping and swerving when the brakes are applied
  • Excessive Rear-end squat during acceleration
  • Tipping during turns
  • High speed instability
  • Excessive vibration coming through the steering wheel (could indicate alignment issues or failed ball joints)

Creaks and cracks from the rear trailing arm bearings are a sign of an incoming wallet wounding experience, so make sure they are in good working order. If you can get the car up on a jack, give each wheel a good wiggle to check for any play.

Wheel Alignment

Don’t forget to check that the 405 Mi16 you are looking at drives straight without wheel corrections. If you do have to correct the steering wheel it indicates that the wheel alignment is out. Alternatively, it may be a sign of other issues such as accident damage.

405 Mi16 Brakes

While you are inspecting the suspension and steering components remember to check the condition of the brakes. The brakes on the 405 Mi16 should be more than adequate for road use, so if they feel week or spongy there is an issue.

There are a few problems with the brakes on earlier models of the Mi16. The original ABS system was ECU controlled and it relies on solenoid operated valves that distribute pressure from the ABS pump to each corner. The ABS pump and master cylinder are very expensive to replace (into the four figures as parts are very difficult to source), so be mindful if this when inspecting earlier Mi16s. Later model Mi16s feature a conventional master cylinder and vacuum servo, with the ABS as a separate system.

When it comes to general brake problems, we have created a quick list of things to check for on an Mi16 below:

  • Condition of the pads
  • Pitted, scored or grooved discs
  • Corrosion
  • Modifications
  • Any leaks in the brake lines (get a helper to press on the brake pedal while you inspect the lines)
  • Fluid level in the brake fluid reservoir
  • Brake fluid changes every 12 – 24 months
While You Are Test Driving an Mi16

Remember to test the brakes on an Mi16 under both light and hard braking conditions to make sure they are working as intended. If the car pulls to one side it may have a sticking/seized caliper. This usually happens if the car has been left unused for a long period of time. Another sign of this problem is a loud thud when you pull away for the first time.

If the steering wheel judders or shakes when the brakes are applied it is usually a sign of warped discs. This often first becomes noticeable under high speed braking conditions.

Listen out for any loud bangs, knocks or other strange noises when the brakes are applied as it indicates a problem (may also be caused by another area of the car such as the suspension system).

Wheels & Tyres

If the wheels are curbed or scuffed it is a sign of a careless owner. While repairing wheels is doable, it is an annoying problem to get fixed and you should get a discount if you still want to purchase the car.

Remember to check If the car is fitted with the original wheels that came with it. If it is not ask the owner if they have the originals. Do this even if you like the aftermarket wheels as owning the originals will only add value to the car if you decide to sell it down the track.

  • Amount of tread
  • Uneven wear (Can be a sign of alignment or suspension issues)
  • Brand (they should be from a good or well-reviewed brand)

Interior & Electronics

The interior trim on a 405 Mi16 isn’t its biggest strength. It is plasticky and with 30 years of sunlight shining down on it expect to find the odd broken or worn trim piece. Rattles and creaks are also common, and don’t be surprised if the car has had a replacement dashboard at some point.

Wear on the seats is common and it can be a pain to get them reupholstered as the original seat material is hard to find.  Remember to check that the seats are secure during both acceleration and braking as it is incredibly dangerous if they move and will be an MOT/WOF failure.

Interior trim pieces and materials can be quite hard to find and expensive to buy, so make sure that the interior is up to a standard you are happy with.

Don’t forget to check the steering wheel shifter, carpets and pedals for wear as they can indicate how far the Mi16 you are looking at has travelled. If these items are heavily worn than it may be a sign that the car’s odometer has been wound back.

When it comes to the electronics make sure that all the switches, knobs and buttons work as intended. If there are no warning lights on the dashboard when you start the Mi16 up it may indicate that the owner/seller has disconnected them to hide a problem. Don’t forget to get out of the car and check that the lights and indicators work as well.

If there is no cold air coming out of the air conditioning system do not let the owner convince you that it just needs a re-gas. While a re-gas will usually fix air conditioning issues, the problem may be something much more serious and expensive.

General Car Buying Advice for a Peugeot 405 Mi16

How to Get a Great Deal on an Mi16

This information applies to both dealers and private sealers. Knowledge is power and it can save you a lot of money when purchasing a vehicle.

  1. Research, research, research – Prior to starting your search for a 405 Mi16, figure out what specs and condition you are happy with. Do you want a low mileage example or are you happy with a car that has travelled far? Are modifications okay or do you want a stock model.
  2. Shop around – It is always best to shop around a bit before you make a purchase. This is a bit difficult with the 405 Mi16 as there aren’t many left, but don’t limit yourself to one seller or area.
  3. Test drive multiple cars – If you can, try and test drive a few different Mi16s. Once again this is difficult as there aren’t many left and finding one for sale will be difficult.
  4. Adjust your attitude – Never rush into a purchase. If you are desperate to buy a car you are more likely to get ripped off. Take your time when looking for a 405 Mi16 for sale and only go for promising looking cars.
  5. Use any issues with the car to your advantage – Take a mental note of any issues you find with the vehicle. When it comes to discussing the price, use these problems to try and drive down the price. For example, if the car needs new tyres or brake pads make a point of it and try to get the seller to reduce the price.
  6. Don’t trust the owner – While some owners/sellers are honest about their cars, many will lie to get a quick sale. Take in what the owner has to say but back it up with a thorough inspection.
  7. Go between sellers/dealers – If you are looking at multiple Mi16s, let the owner/seller know. This way they will know that you have other options and they may try to undercut the price.
  8. Be prepared to walk away – If you are not happy with the deal, simply walk away. You may miss out on the car or the seller may get back to you with a better offer.

Mileage vs Condition 

Mileage vs condition is always a hot topic for debate, but we feel that it is always better to buy on condition and then on mileage. Lots of owners make the mistake of believing that they are preserving their car by not driving it. In reality, this is completely false and not driving a vehicle can actually do more damage than good.

Short distance trips are not kind to the engine in a 405 Mi16 as it does not have time to warm up properly and get lubricated.

Rubber seals and plastic parts will fail regardless of mileage and can even deteriorate quicker on cars that don’t get used often. Letting a car sit will not prevent rust or stop the electronics from failing.

Mileage will never decrease with age, so go out and drive your car!   

Service History and Other Documentation

It is incredibly important to check any vehicle’s service history and any additional paperwork that goes along with it. The service history will give you a good idea of how the Mi16 you are inspecting has been maintained. In addition to this, receipts and paperwork for modifications can help you determine whether they have been done by an experienced tuner or a bad one.

If the owner can’t or won’t let you see the service history, you should probably pass on the vehicle. A complete service history will only add value to any Peugeot 405 Mi16 and will make it easier to sell the car in the future.

Additionally, you can check websites such as CarFax (USA) and CarJam (NZ) for more information about the car you are thinking of purchasing. These sort of websites can be incredibly useful, but there is usually a cost associated with them.

Questions That You Should Ask the Seller/Owner 

  • How often do you drive the car?
  • When was the last service and who was it serviced by?
  • How much oil does it use?
  • What oil do you use in the car?
  • What parts have been replaced (engine, catalytic converter, etc.)?
  • When were the coils, spark plugs, leads changed?
  • What’s the compression like?
  • What modifications have been made to the vehicle?
  • Has the vehicle overheated at any point?
  • Has the car been in any major or minor accidents? Is so, what repairs were made?
  • Is there any money owing on the car?
  • Have you got any information on the previous owners and how they treated the vehicle?
  • Is there any rust?
  • Has rust been removed at any point?
  • Has the car been used for track use at any point?
  • When were the brake pads replaced and have the calipers seized at any point in time?
  • Where do you store/park the car usually?

There are loads more questions you can ask the seller, but we feel these are some of the most important.

Things That Would Make Us Walk Away from a 405 Mi16

Here are some things that would make as walk away from a Peugeot 405 Mi16. While you may be happy with a vehicle with these problems, we are not.

  • Overheating problems
  • Significant Crash Damage
  • Money owing on the car
  • Stanced
  • Modifications with no paperwork or carried out by a poorly reviewed tuner
  • Excessive amounts of power
  • Bad compression
  • Bad resprays
  • Significant rust problems
  • Engine swaps with non-standard engines
  • Significant track use
  • Major engine or transmission issues
  • Owner who is not forthcoming with information (could be trying to hide something)

Notes on the Owner 

The owner is one of the most important things to think about when viewing any vehicle. You need to ask them plenty of questions when inspecting their Peugeot 405 Mi16 (however, don’t trust their answers completely). Remember, it is your problem if you wind up buying an absolute lemon. Here are some things to watch out for.

  • How long have they owned the vehicle? If it is less than 6 months it tends to suggest that the car needs major work done to it that they can’t afford. It also could be a sign that they deal cars as well.
  • Do they thrash the car when it is cold or continually launch the vehicle? If so, you are better to walk away.
  • Why are they selling the vehicle? Could be a genuine reason or they may be trying to offload their problem onto an unsuspecting buyer.
  • What sort of area do they live in? Is it a good area or a complete dump?
  • How do they respond when you ask them simple questions?
  • Do they know anything about the Peugeot 405 Mi16 and the model they are selling?
  • What can they tell you about previous owners?
  • Do they have lots of cars on their drive? If they do it may mean they are a dealer.
  • What is their reaction when you ask them about money owing on the car? Tell them you are going to do a check and see how they respond.
  • What is their reaction to you asking for details for HPi check?
  • How do they react if you ask to do a compression test on the vehicle?
  • How do they respond when you ask them to show you the service history and paperwork for the car?

If you get a bad feeling about the owner, you are better off moving onto another Mi16.

Where Did All the Peugeot 405 Mi16s Go?

We’ve touched on it a bit, but there is a significant shortage of Peugeot 405 Mi16s out in the wild. Only 10 of them were registered in the United Kingdom in 2019; one 1.9-litre car, six 2.0-litres and three 4×4 models. In other countries, the number of Mi16s on the road is even less and in many places there are no road worthy ones at all.

The two main reasons for this Mi16 shortage are that many weren’t looked after properly, and many had their engines stripped for use in other cars/projects. Lots of 205 GTi owners “upgraded” their cars with the fantastic 1.9-litre engine to improve performance.


  • Ben

    From his early days playing the original Gran Turismo and with his Hot Wheels car set, Ben has had a long interest in all things automotive. His first foray into the world of automotive journalism was way back in 2009 and since then he has only grown more interested in the industry. Ben also runs and heads up the video production side of Garage Dreams, focusing on small informative documentaries about some of the world's most legendary cars.

4 thoughts on “Peugeot 405 Mi16 Buyer’s Guide, History & Specs”

  1. I have a Peugeot 405 Mi 16, which as been up the ground for some years due to faulty ECU, now, I wish fix it please which type oil can I use for the gear (transmission fluid), also how do I buy another ECU?

  2. Thanks very much for the great article!. I have my original silver exterior with anthracite interior 1989 (mfg for USA in 1988) Peugeot 405Mi16 (engine code XU9J4) that I purchased new in February 1990 during the Chicago Auto Show from Jordan Aaron of Imperial Motors in Wilmette, Illinois, USA. moved with me to Rhode Island, USA. Still a wonderful joy to drive!

    • Hi Lionel, thanks for taking the time to comment. Sounds like a superb car you have – we would love to see some photos if you’d consider sharing with us? Just email (we can post them to the guide if you like, obfuscating any private info e.g. licence plate number).

      Thank you for the correction suggestion as well.

  3. A correction in the above article: the Peugeot 405Mi16 is a lightweight magnesium alloy engine not a lightweight aluminum engine. Thanks!


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