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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is it ok to repair a 2CV frame?

A: Absolutely not! The frame gets its strength from the structure of folded sheet metal. The rust always starts from the inside. Once rust holes appear on the outside, the frame is unsafe to use! Any attempt to repair a rusted frame can only be a cosmetic fix - it will NOT bring back the strength. Remember: The frame is the backbone of the car. When this part is rusted away, you are an endangered species driving this car!

Learn more about the frame

Q: Can I import a 2CV from Europe myself?

A: Theoretically yes. If the car meets the requirements of DOT and EPA it may be imported. However, the authorities are not known to be helpful. Usually it turns out as a nightmare to go through the USDA, EPA and Customs inspections and paperwork. It is much less hassle and risk to purchase a 2CV that is already in the US. Just make sure that the car comes with all needed paperwork and was legally imported. There are shady elements who import and sell cars without the proper documents - leaving you with an expensive paperweight.
And remember: It is always highly recommended to inspect and test drive the car before you buy.

Q: Can I trust photos of the car I want to buy?

A: Never! Every car looks nice on a photo when it is waxed and buffed up. A photo showing the entire car will not reveal dings, dents, scratches or rust spots. The problems you can see on a photo are usually severe problems.
Always inspect the car yourself BEFORE you buy. You are the only judge if the car meets your expectations. Even a money back guarantee by the seller doesn't mean that you can really get your money back if you don't like the car. Read the fine print and be suspicious. A money back guarantee until you receive the car is worthless.

Q: Does the 2CV need leaded gas?

A: No, it never did. However, the 2CV needs high-octane fuel. The lead was mainly used for the octane rate. Today the oil companies use different additives to substitute lead for the octane rate.
The other reason for lead as an additive was that it operated as a mechanical buffer between the valves and the valve seats. This was very important in old motors with steel cylinder heads. To save money, the manufacturer milled the valve seats right into the cylinder heads. This way the valve seat can't be tempered. To avoid the valve migrating into the valve seat, the lead buffered the impact of the valve. The 2CV always had a aluminum cylinder head with tempered valve seats.

Learn more about the gas quality

Q: Is the 2CV really a death trap in case of an accident?

A: Actually the safety in a 2CV is quite good. Despite the look and flimsy structure of the car, the 2CV is surprisingly strong.
Modern cars mostly do the "Tank approach" - they are very heavy and create their safety by being solid. If you have an accident between these cars, it leads again to injuries. To avoid that problem, the manufacturers install electronic gimmicks and tons of airbags. What they all forget is that the most important piece of safety equipment is the one behind the wheel!
The 2CV is very lightweight and has an incredible suspension. In an accident the 2CV is just pushed away by the heavier vehicle. In a standard accident scenario you have a heavy car against another heavy car. All energy is transformed into deformation and injuries to the passengers. The 2CV however, just gives way by being pushed away. Just picture yourself hitting a concrete wall with your fist - this really hurts. Now do the same with a punching bag. The bag is soft and it gives way - nothing is damaged and no injuries occur.
The 2CV body shell was designed exceptionally strong with a minimum of material and weight. The passenger cabin has a rollover cage that holds the cabin in shape even in a rollover accident. The frame was designed to break in an accident. This directs the energy of the impact away from the passengers. The front end is pushed upwards to absorb the energy. Motor and transmission will not penetrate the passenger cabin. This is a factor that leads to injuries and death in other cars.
In over 50 years of use, accidents are unavoidable. Experience proofs that injuries or death are rare in 2CVs. The insurance companies in Europe rate the 2CV as a very safe car. In Finland the 2CV was rated the safest car ever.

Q: My transmission is stuck in 3rd gear. What can I do?

A: All 2CVs with a disc brake system may suffer from this. When Citroen converted their production lines from the old drum brake system to the later disc brake system, a disc on the main shaft gear assembly wasn't tightened with enough torque. This allows the disc to wind off this gear assembly when you back up with a high torque. The result is a transmission stuck in 3rd gear permanent. A specialist can repair this - otherwise you have to replace the transmission.

Learn more about this

Q: I have no users manual. What are all these switches and lights for?

A: You can find the complete 2CV Users Manual in english on our website. All pages were programmed in HTML, not just a quick scan - so they are easy to read and print.

Go to the Users Manual

Q: Where can I get technical support for my 2CV?

A: Unfortunately Citroen has no dealer network in the US. So you have to rely on local Citroen clubs or mechanics who are willing to learn something new. If you are skilled, you can do a lot yourself. A good repair manual is the "Haynes Manual".
To learn about the technical background you can read the technical articles on our website. These articles contain lots of valuable information for repairs and maintenance. It always pays to know the technical background. If you work on your own 2CV you will find the information very helpful. In case you have to take your 2CV to a mechanic, you can evaluate what they do - and if they do the job right.

Go to Technical articles

Q: Is it ok to use DOT brake fluid in my 2CV with disc brakes?

A: Absolutely not!!!! Citroen used LHM as brake fluid in all 2CVs with disc brake system. This fluid is a hydraulic mineral oil. DOT brake fluid is based on a total different chemical substance. Each fluid dissolves the O-rings and gaskets of the other system. Even a little amount of DOT brake fluid destroys the entire LHM brake system - no exception!
Most mechanics don't know about the difference - so chances are that a 2CV you buy has the wrong brake fluid in the system. This always results in a very expensive repair.

Learn more about this problem

Q: I plan to purchase a 2CV. What are the catches?

A: There are many traps for a novice 2CV buyer. The biggest problem is rust. Usually repairs are done quick and dirty in a "Band Aid" way. Mechanics cut corners in so called "restorations" in many ways. So beware - a dishonest restoration will cost you big bucks at a later time.

Learn more about the typical cheesy jobs

Q: I plan to take my 2CV on a long trip. Is the car safe for long distances?

A: Don't worry - just drive. The 2CV was made for being use. It is absolutely safe to travel long distances. If the car is well maintained it will take you anywhere without any problem. Even if you discover a mechanical glitch - in almost every case the 2CV will bring you back home, where you can fix it. The 2CV is such a basic car; there is simply not much that can go wrong. Every modern car is different. If you have a minor problem in a modern car, some computer decides it's time to leave you stranded in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere. Not so the 2CV if you treat it well, it will never let you down.
When it comes to a convenient ride - the 2CV offers unbeatable seat comfort. After a long journey in most modern cars you feel tortured from a hard seat and a stiff suspension. Doing the same trip in a 2CV, you arrive fresh at your destination. It is so amazing how much you can get out of so little.

Q: Which frame is better, the genuine frame or a galvanized frame?

A: The frame is a very important and safety relevant part in the 2CV - after all it's the backbone of the car. All galvanized frames are aftermarket parts. So quite often they are built in a backyard production facility. We have seen products that are very unreliable and unsafe and we have seen very well designed frames. So it very much depends on the manufacturer. In general, most aftermarket frames were illegal. The 2CV had gotten the type approval in every country where it was sold with the genuine frame. This frame was designed to carry the weight of the car and break in the right spot in case of an accident. (See: Is the 2CV really a death trap in case of an accident?) Only the genuine frame guarantees this. The only problem with the genuine frame was the vulnerability for rust. Once the frame was treated proper with grease this didn't matter anymore.
However, the genuine frame was now discontinued from Citroen. This means that any new frame must be an aftermarket frame. The important thing to ask for is the written Citroen approval for the frame you intend to use. Only this guarantees that the frame is legal to use and that it complies with the original Citroen specifications for stability and safety. Only a very few manufacturers received this approval so far. When a frame is used for a restoration that hasn't got this approval, you take the risk that the frame doesn't break where and when it is supposed to. This may be fatal for the passengers. Most restorers use these frames simply because they are cheaper.
So don't be blinded by a nice and shiny galvanized frame, ask if the frame was designed due to the original specifications and if it is approved by Citroen.

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