Are there any potential problems that I should look for in a 2002 Rover 45 I've inherited?

I have recently inherited a 2002 Rover 45 with 38,000 miles, mostly short journeys. It has recently had a new cylinder head gasket fitted and new tyres and has a current MOT but no recorded service history although it is supposed to have been regularly serviced. What if anything should I be aware of?

Asked on 27 October 2010 by DB, Sheffield

Answered by Honest John
If it has had a new head gasket it must have had a new timing belt. Watch the coolant reservoir very carefully. Any loss, do not drive the car except to a garage. What happens is that the ‘O’ ring gaskets between the head and the heated inlet manifold fail and the coolant leaks. The engine has a very small coolant capacity, so soon overheats and the main head gasket fails.
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