What's causing our Citroen C1 diesel to keep breaking down?

We have a 2007 Citroen C1 diesel and the mileage is 2100. We bought the car new from the Citroen dealer in Perth and we have had, throughout its life, occasional problems when, after say 50 miles, the engine misses a beat, which becomes worse until the car comes to an eventual halt, during which time the engine emission control warning lamp shows. After a short period we restart the engine again and proceed with the journey, the warning lamp eventually going out. On each occasion, I have taken the car back to the Perth depot, but they have been unable to give me a satisfactory explanation as to the cause. Can you give us a reason for this trouble?

Asked on 4 September 2011 by TW, Pitlochry

Answered by Honest John
This is due to the car's extremely low mileage of around 500 a year, which implies only one or two fuel fills a year. The biodiesel element of current diesel fuel is hygroscopic and the moisture it absorbs will, over time, emulsify into globules that temporarily block the fuel filter. Residual engine heat then melts the globules and you are able to continue on your way until the next globule blocks the fuel system.
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