Citroen Berlingo

Perhaps 2x each year, my 2009 Citroen Berlingo simply refuses to start. Here’s the strange thing: if I wait 10 minutes or 30 minutes or a day, the car starts immediately and without any difficulty. The local Citroen/Peugeot dealer offered nothing.

Sacre Bleu! Sorry, I could not resist. We Americans have not seen new Citroen since the 1960’s or Peugeot since the late 80’s/early 90’s.

Does it crank over and not run (fuel delivery problem), or does literally nothing happen when you turn the key (electrical problem)?

Hello mleich, Thanks for the reply (merci beacoup?)
I’m living in Germany–lots Mercedes and BMWs, fewer Peugeots, and even fewer Citroens. Anyway, the battery seems quite powerful, it churns and churns the engine. I’m not a car guy, but your idea about a fuel problem might cause such irregular unreliability, yes? What might this be? Thanks.

I know nothing of modern Citroens (CV2 and old DLs are my limit) but maybe try to turn the key to the position before the start position. In most Fuel Injected cars, it causes the fuel pump to run for a second or two to pressurize the fuel line before you actually crank the car.
If that isn’t happening, it will be harder to start.
Even if it is happening, try turning the key to that position a couple of times to see if that helps. Maybe the pressure isn’t high enough to get it to start.

CITROEN…LOL…We USA’ers havent seen Citroens finest in a LONG TIME… I do know that Citroen is alive, modern, and doing well in Europe tho. But we here have little collective experience with the Citrus fruits

You may have a fueling issue…clogged fuel filter? Failing fuel pump? I would do a little listen for the fuel pump…when you turn your key to the run position…you should hear the fuel pump prime up…it may not run constant, just prime until it gets the signal to run bec the engine has started. Can you locate your fuel pump relay to make sure it is working and the fuel pump is priming properly? There are several things we can walk you thru to help diagnose this while you are at the fuel pump relay… In fact if you jumper terminals 87 and 30 at the relay w a piece of wire or paperclip… you will then be sending 12V constant to the fuel pump and it will run constant, if its working…it has no choice at that point. Do the test listen carefully for the pump to run with the key on.

Also loosen your gas cap as another test…maybe it is not venting properly…and making it hard for the fuel pump to pump fuel due to the vacuum that gets created with a failing gas cap…


When it fails to start, check to see if it’s getting spark…If it is, then it’s not getting fuel. Since it starts right up SOMETIMES, it’s probably a bad connection someplace in the fuel delivery system…

A few hours ago, I went out and loosened the gas cap, hopped into the car, it started. And from now on I will ALWAYS TURN THE KEY to the 1st position for a moment to warn the fuel pump that it’s on deck.

I am grateful for–and enormously impressed with–the obvious breadth of experience and informed advice in this community. Also, I want everyone to know that I bought my Citroen in Germany for the reasons non-car guys always and in any country purchase a car: it had room, an acceptable gas-mileage rating (pretty critical when gas is $8-gallon) and the purchase price was…right.

Thanks all. garachki

Well don’t get too excited yet…see if it will continue to start for you over the next few days…with a loose gas cap. Then for fun you could tighten the cap again and see what happens… If it does the same when your cap is tight, then your gas cap is faulty.

I’m also curious…when you loosened the cap…was it difficult to remove? Did you hear a big “whoosh” or sucking sound when you cracked the cap open?


Honda Blackbird: I did not hear any gas-cap ‘whoosh’ but I was not listening for it. A bit later, I WAS listening for the sound of the fuel pump–this was after I’d driven awhile and then returned home and read your good advice–and the sound was just as you described: a clear, 3 or 4-second ‘hummm’.

Setting the gas cap ‘loosely’ may not be do-able, for there is no intermediate position. The cap opens with the key, you turn it from the locked & closed position and then it’s in your hand. But I’ll see what I can do.

FYI: I wanted to add this, that my problem has had no discernible pattern. It has happened in April or July or December; it’s happened when the car has been sitting overnight or for several days; it’s happened after the car has been driven and then parked for 10-minutes.

Anyway, the fuel pump thing makes me think/hope: you have solved my problem. But I suspect that you will now tell me that confirmation comes only if my irregular-occurring problem does not re-occur. Anybody know how to prove a negative? g

Don’t worry about the gas cap being on or not…in your case just toss it in your car somewhere. As long as you didn’t super fill the tank…there will be no consequences to not having the cap on the tank.

Yeah this will take a little while to prove out…If she runs fine all week and starts as it should with no cap…then you found the issue…a non venting gas cap. If you find this isn’t the case we can cross that bridge when we get to it.


Not sure if this is your problem, but I’ve seen it where a clogged check valve related to emissions caused a similar issue, now that I think back a bit. It was the valve that routed the unspent gas back to the tank.
This was in a Subaru Impreza: The car would run fine for a while until it couldn’t overcome the vacuum in the tank. You’d have to open the gas cap to let it vent and everything would be fine for a while.
Not sure if Citroen has something similar, but it could be worth checking.

Yeah if its a newer car it will have it…we all gots it…

In fact I am such a relic that they may not even vent gas caps anymore and simply use the evap recovery solenoid and charcoal canister as the “gas cap vent” I am dating myself by simply referring to it or blaming it on the cap alone… Same test tho… cripes I forgot about this till you mentioned it… SO it could be the cap or the evap system…

Good call…I’m getting old man

LOL…yeah I saw that one… Guy was like…Oh yeah its a hybrid…does that matter? Oooof !

This no start could be the theft deterrent system killing the delivery of fuel. If you have 2 or more cars and keep the keys for these cars on the same key ring that can confuse the anti-theft systems. They will disable the car for a period of time 30 minutes or more before resetting and allowing the car to start. The OP should remove all keys from other cars from the key ring and see if it helps.

Another possible is the car might be parked on an incline and the sensor(s) that detect a rollover accident could be tripped or faulty. These sensors can also disable the fuel system causing a no start.

That’d be one hell of a hill…no? Key fob conflict shouldn’t happen at all