Pricewatch: Readers’ queries
Unusual noise from a car engine and the vexed task of getting hold of medical records are exercising readers’ minds
Opel says irregular noise is ‘characteristic’ of a specific Zafira model
Exhausted by Opel’s response to engine noise
A reader called Donal bought a 2011 Vauxhall Zafira in the North in early 2012. “About a year later, I noticed an irregular sound coming from the engine,” he writes. “At times, the sound is extremely noticeable. If you heard it, you’d think there was something wrong with the engine. As the car was only two years old, with less than 20,000 miles on the clock, I was very concerned,” he says.
“As a result, I brought the car to Opel so they could investigate (under the car’s warranty). They did so and informed me that my car had indeed an irregular sound in its engine. They went on to further explain that this particular Zafira model has a certain issue with its engine that causes this noise. In other words, they have had similar cases to mine.”
Opel replaced a pipe in the engine with the aim of eliminating the erratic noise, but it was not successful, and the noise remains.
“Since then I have been in contact with Opel many times in an attempt to get them to take responsibility; all I want is a commitment that they will rid the car’s engine of this noise, which I believe significantly devalues the car.
“However, Opel have refused to provide me with such a commitment. Instead, they insist that the noise is ‘characteristic’ of this specific Zafira model, and is in no way detrimental to the car’s performance.”
The company has offered him an extension to the car’s warranty until the end of 2014 as a sign of their certainty that the noise will have no negative effect on the car’s performance, but the offer brings him no closer to getting Opel to agree to eliminate the noise. “Opel have informed me there is nothing more that they’re willing to do.”
We contacted Opel and were told that the company was “liaising with this customer directly”. A spokeswoman said the sound was “characteristic of the engine and is not a manufacturing fault or defect. As a gesture of goodwill to our customers, we honour Vauxhall warranties in the Republic of Ireland, and in this case we have made an offer to the customer that will alleviate any of his concerns.”
However, the customer’s concerns are not alleviated, and he has pointed out that the problem is not so much with the car today but the knock-on effects when he goes to sell it. We put this to Opel and got a more in-depth response.
A spokeswoman said that a full inspection of the car had been carried out by Opel Ireland’s technical field engineer, and no manufacturing defect with the vehicle had been found.