In terms of the exterior, Coupe models are subject to roof problems like the paint discolouring or fading and models with a polycarbonate sunroof, the polycarbonate can fade and crack.
Convertible ForTwo’s have been prone to their roofs shrinking and this leads to the roof itself lifting at the front which can lead to water leaking into the cabin.
Models from 2008 – 2009 can be prone to overcharging their headlights which shortens the lifespan of the light itself.
The body work is mainly all plastic and therefore pretty resilient and relatively easy to repair however, as the ForTwo does spend the majority of their lives in crowded areas, they can be susceptible to some abuse so be sure to check for accident damage and dodgy repair work.
Inside, Faulty Temperature Control Modules can tamper with the Air Conditioning’s cooling and the blower for the Heater is also known to fail.
There are also many of reports of various electronic gremlins surfacing so if buying one, make sure to check and test every button, does everything work as it should?
Mechanically both the turbo and naturally aspirated petrol engines, which are made by Mitsubishi, are fairly reliable and low maintenance however oil changes are made interesting by the absence of a traditional drain plug. A vacuum oil extraction device is required which while not being complicated, can make changing the oil difficult for those of you playing with these at home.
It’s the same story with the Mercedes diesel engine. These are generally reliable but can have complications with clogged up inlet systems a EGR valves. Although that is the case for almost all modern diesels to be fair.
There are plenty of examples of petrol and diesel engined ForTwo’s that are still going strong after relatively high km’s but those examples have been well serviced. Examples that have had timing chain complications or even worse, catastrophic engine failures are generally always a result of lack of servicing. Which is hard to understand as they are quite possibly one of the cheapest cars around in terms of servicing and maintenance.
Transmission issues are by far the weakest link and most common complaint. Even when they are working correctly, many owners complain about them. When they’re not working properly, they have reverse gear selection issues, harsh or slow shifting complications or just no drive at all. Sometimes resolving this can require a simple lube, adjustment and a relearn procedure or a clutch actuator or the actual clutch itself. And in some cases, in the space of a few months, all of the above.
Although the ForTwo is considered to be fairly reliable overall, the list of small annoying mechanical issues they can suffer from can become very long.