What has caused a major engine failure in my Fiat 500 Multijet diesel?

In 2008 I went to a Fiat dealership and, with the help of the car salesman, configured a 500 Multijet diesel to my 'needs' and to a very high spec. Having spent my life savings on the car, I was told it would last me a very long time. My car was registered in October 2008, so it was less than five years old when disaster struck at less than 14,000 miles. Travelling down a country lane, the engine just started to rev really loudly and fast and was running on its own engine oil, which has bled into other parts of the engine. The diagnostic people state that it needs a new engine and that the injectors have blown, plus the turbo etc. I phoned Fiat customer services but they just say that it's out of warranty and declined to help me.

Asked on 30 November 2013 by SW, via email

Answered by Honest John
500 diesels are not good for short runs from cold or town use. All owners of Fiat 500 Multijet diesels need to watch out for the dashboard 'oil exhausted' warning light (see pages 94/95 of the drivers manual). This warns that the oil has become degraded from excessive fuel oil and needs to be changed. If the car does a lot of short runs from cold, extra fuel pumped into the engine to create the heat to regenerate the diesel particulate filter may not be combusting and instead finds its way into the sump. If the sump level rises significantly as a result, the engine will start running on its sump oil and, if it cannot be stalled against the brakes, it will over-rev and blow up. As soon as Fiat 500 diesel owners notice the oil 'oil exhausted' warning they need to visit their dealer have an oil change (because the sump oil is contaminated with diesel) and have the DPF regenerated.
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