Problems With Dacia Cars? (5 Most-Common Issues)

The Dacia car brand was born back in the 60s with a clear goal to produce reliable cars that are both modern and affordable. Renault then took it over and the brand started an aggressive push into the European market.

Dacia cars were known to be reasonably reliable throughout Europe and this has not changed too much nowadays. However, when a brand starts to mass produce its product, you’ll find that there are often many complaints.

In this article, we’re looking at the various issues that have clouded Dacia cars and how to tackle some of them.

1. Faulty Catalytic Converter

Problems with a faulty catalytic converter can be traced mainly to the Dacia Duster throughout its history. It starts off with a sluggish engine and reduced acceleration and quickly worsens.

A catalytic converter is one of the most important components in a car’s exhaust system. It basically protects the car and engine from contaminants and air pollution.

This component safely converts dangerous pollutants, such as unburned gas and nitrogen oxide, into harmless substances. This makes it great for the environment and other parts of the engine.

In the Dacia Duster, many owners have had issues with the catalytic converter wherein it fails to work properly. This leaves owners with problems such as dark exhaust fumes and weird smells coming from the exhaust.

A lot of the symptoms on the Dacia Duster start off with the “check engine” light coming on even when the car has had a service. This will usually indicate something wrong with the exhaust system.

Catalytic converters are designed to last around 10 years in a car, but this is with regular maintenance. An experienced mechanic will be able to diagnose and maybe replace the part if needed.

Most cases with the catalytic converter on the Dacia Duster were due to a faulty fuel filter. However, a replacement catalytic converter can set you back around $1,000.

2. Problems With Rusting

The Dacia Duster and Dacia Sandero have also been plagued by complaints of rusting and thin paint. As a result, the company had to extend its warranty to 7 years instead of the original 5 years.

Upon further investigation, the problem was traced back to the company’s India car factory. The factory was not getting the correct paint mixture for spraying the cars.

Wet areas are not good for car paint and promote rusting. This was a big problem for Dacia and Renault cars made in Romania and sold in the UK.

Rusting on the Dacia Sandero and Dacia Duster can take months to repair if the problem is not identified early on.

Models between 2013 and 2016 were the most affected by rusting issues and spent months in the service garage.

Another issue why rusting takes so long to be repaired is the lack of necessary parts in certain Dacia dealerships. This can be addressed by making sure there are enough dealerships and mechanics in your area.

Many owners around the world noted that rusting and corrosion issues in Dacia cars only occur in certain locations. Dacia manufacturers in Germany, France, and Spain did not have as many complaints about much older cars.

3. Too Many ECU Faults

Your car’s ECU (Electronic Control Unit) basically deals with all things electronic in the car. This ranges from the engine management system all the way to the different sensors in the car.

Dacia Sandero is known to have a lot of faults with its ECU and engine management systems. These often show up as check engine lights to warn the driver that there might be something wrong.

The Dacia Duster has also had problems where the electric system seemed to be acting up out of nowhere. Mechanics can spend days trying to test and diagnose where the problem is coming from.

Another unfortunate issue is when the ECU parts are replaced and the symptoms still remain. This is common with the Dacia Dokker, where a replacement ECU seems to be incompatible with the model.

A concerning symptom is when the car has idling problems because of the ECU. The idling is seen to be erratic and not smooth on the Dacia Duster, which can be due to a defect in the ECU.

If your Dacia car starts showing signs of not being able to idle, it would be a good idea to take it to a mechanic. The problem can often worsen and lead to bigger problems that can cost a lot of money.

Observing the check engine light on the dashboard can also help ascertain the severity of the problem. A steady light indicates the problem is not serious enough for a stop, whereas a continuous blinking means the car has to be checked immediately.

Owners are advised to check the behavior of their Dacia car before and after the symptoms and problems occur. They’ll often see changes in how the car starts, the exhaust fumes, idling and starting the car.

All these symptoms might point to a faulty ECU in the Dacia car. A visit to the mechanic or dealership should be in line in order to diagnose the issue.

You may also like our article about problems of French cars.

4. Poor Interior Material Quality

Dacia has come a long way in redesigning its models both inside and outside and has been successful for the most part. Unfortunately, the quality does not translate to all their models.

Some Dacia Duster owners have complained about the quality of materials used in the car’s interior. Several owners noticed that the material would come undone, and the fabric stretched.

The headrest clippings and material were most vulnerable to damage, as shown by other owners. It seems like the headrest plastic clipping was of low-quality and did not last very long.

Going through various Dacia dealerships to fix the seat covers and headrest took a long time. This was due to the technician’s fault and the lack of parts in certain Dacia dealership locations.

The primary complaint from owners was that the whole interior seat cover was of low quality. This is because the damage was bad both in the front and rear seats of the car.

Going through the dealership to fix the worn out or damaged seat cover usually took from 2 to 5 months. This could be due to a backlog of cars to be fixed or a lack of parts.

Most Dacia dealerships will offer their customer a courtesy car in order for them to get around while their car is being fixed. However, some dealerships will want to charge the customer for the courtesy car.

It is not a big surprise to find that many Dacia models have poor build quality. This is a way to keep most of their lineup affordable while also providing value.

5. Clogged-Up Diesel Particulate Filter

A Diesel Particulate Filter basically cleans your engine from the inside out to remove emissions and buildup. This can be found mainly in diesel vehicles and has had a problem with some Dacia models.

This filter will get rid of the remaining soot before it blows out of the exhaust and requires regular cleaning. Diesel Particulate Filters essentially use passive regeneration and active regeneration on diesel cars.

Dacia Sandero cars have had an issue where the Diesel Particulate Filter was clogged up and Dacia refused to repair the car. Several owners even complained that their car was still under warranty when the issue occurred.

A Diesel Particulate Filter unit should last for the lifetime of the car if the car is well-maintained. The unit can also be cleaned instead of replaced if it starts showing problems.

It is also important to note that some of the symptoms of a failing Diesel Particulate Filter might be similar to ECU problems. This is why mechanics will want to check and test both systems.

Problems with the Diesel Particulate Filter will take quite some time to solve or for replacing certain parts. Owners are advised to seek alternative means of transport while the car is being fixed.

Make sure to also read our article about problems with SEAT cars.

General Pros and Cons for Dacia Cars

Here are some general pros and cons of Dacia cars:


  • Modern exterior designs
  • Spacious interior
  • Affordable models
  • Available Internationally


  • Faulty Catalytic Converter
  • Problems With Rusting
  • Too Many ECU Faults
  • Poor Interior Material Quality
  • Clogged-Up Diesel Particulate Filter

What Do The Reviews Say?

The joy of the Duster is the way it seriously over-delivers on the underpromising price. Renault has been very disciplined in keeping Dacia’s costs down.

The Dacia Duster offers such excellent value for money, you have to wonder why you’d ever spend the extra on a more expensive model.

It’s not the most inspiring car to drive, and the interior is lacking in sparkle, but in just about every other respect the Duster is able to hold its own in an increasingly competitive market.

Please make sure to also read our article about problems with Renault cars.

What’s The Resale Value of Dacia Cars?

Here are resale values for some popular Dacia cars.

Model Mileage (miles) Price ($)
2016 DACIA DUSTER 47,224 13,451
2014 DACIA DUSTER 52,195 10,865
2019 DACIA LODGY  61,018 13,441
2016 DACIA SANDERO 69,593 10,244


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