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Car Checkers Dodgy Inspection


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My sister bought a SKODA FABIA 1.2 (64), 07 plate. She had it inspected by car checkers who tell me they only can check things that are visible with the naked eye. It turns out it had an accident on the front where the powersteering components are. They told us it had an accident but that repairs were of a commercially acceptable standard.

 

 

Her power steering failed while driving having only had the car 6 weeks! An "independant" report commissioned by car checkers states the following, but really I dont understand all of this. I am particularly concerned that a Skoda dealer has given them info when its their policy not to (also they havent sourced the dealer in the report). Does anything appear to incorrect about their statements.

 

I have been told by my garage that screws absent from the wheel arch are part of the repair job (they are covering the area that was repaired). They also said the repair was of a very poor standard. Any info about this report or advice would be GREATLY appreciated.

 

Does anyone know how to attach pdf of the orignal report??

 

It is suggested that screws absent from the L/H front inner wheel arch moulding would have been justification for further investigation to have been recommended in the initial report and the steering pump damage could then have been indentified.

I have been instructed to investigate this claim.

 

 

1. WHEEL ARCH LINER

The L/H front inner wheel arch liner is constructed of a stiff moulded plastic material and is securely located into the folded flanges of the wing. Many of the fasteners are in place expect the 3 forward screw fixings clamping the liner to the wrap around front bumper section. The liner is of the type that folds under the front portion of the wing creating an additional closing panel from the elements.

Although it is possible the pull part of the liner away from the wing flange, it is not possible to get full access without removing further fasteners. Additionally, although the pump is partially visible, it appears to be in very good condition and would give no reason for further investigation. It is also possible to feel the casing by partially placing a hand into the opening and feeling around the casing, but again found no irregularities to suggest damage.

2. STEERING PUMP

The pump however, is also partially visible from the underside of the vehicle although shaded by the undershield that wraps around the front panel and around the underside of the L/H front chassis area. From this position, it is possible to see minor surface abrasions and minor undulations to the pump casing.

3. ELECTRONIC CONTROL UNIT

With assistance from the garage engineer (Mark) it was pointed out that duck tape and silicon had been used to repair the electronic control unit attached to the chassis leg and that the multi pin plugs had been damaged. The electronic control unit had a group of pins protruding from the underside of the unit. These were free standing with no plastic socket surrounding them (missing). However, with the cable counter part connection pushed over them, this could not have been seen and was only identified with the connection removed. This also includes a layer of white silicon sealant that covered the surface around the pins. The control unit also has a black pigment casing and black duck tape neatly applied to its underside seams. A small portion of the white silicon sealant is only partially visible with the plugs in place and appears remarkably like a small portion of white masking tape. It is not uncommon for manufactuerers to use black duck tape like this as additional protection against the elements therefore not causing immediate concern.

 

 

 

Further discussions with the local main Skoda dealer, minor surface damage

to the casing is insufficient to cause concern as the casing is reletively thin

and of a pressed steel material. Damage similar to this can be sustained during normal removal and replacement and not indicative of potential failure or

otherwise. This is providing the steering assistance is fully functional and the warning light exstinguishes on starting.

 

 

Rectification:

The steering pump will require replacement including the adjacent electronic control unit.

 

 

 

 

Conclusion:

In the engineer’s opinion, the fixing screws missing from the L/H front inner wheel arch liner is no indication that further damage should be suspected or investigated. The pump markings are equally not sufficient to warrant remedial attention. The steering was also believed to have been fully functional and the warning light extinguished on starting. This is sufficient evidence to indicate no pending problems. The only reported common failure of these pumps occurred between 2000 and 2003 models and since then, they have proved reasonably reliable, but not infallible.

The broken electrical connections cannot be seen until they are disconnected.

Furthermore, damage to the electronic control unit could only have shown a small white mark (now known to be silicon) could not have been considered detrimental as it is partially concealed by the black duck tape making its appearance very similar to that of white masking tape. It is not unusual to see masking tape in peculiar areas on repaired vehicles of this type. In the absence of any relevant electrical defects, it would not necessitate further attention.

The current fault with the power steering would not have been evident from a visual inspection

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JUST TO SURMISE: I BELIEVE CAR CHECKERS ARE LIABLE, THEY CHECKED THE CAR IT WAS BOUGHT FROM A PRIVATE DEALER. HOWEVER...

 

In the report before we bought the car they told us it had an accident but that repairs were of a commercially acceptable standard. They also put the extent and nature of the repairs is undefined... this i believe to be "unfair" under contract law (and it is certainly a pointless report).

 

 

Also (and this more more solid) surely missing screws should have been highlighted in the report? These are visible with the naked eye and cover up the botched repair!!

 

On their website they say "For people who are confident to carry out basic checks on cosmetic appearance and bodywork themselves but need Peace of Mind on mechanical, vehicle operations and previous accident damage checks" . They told me that they dont remove things and only do visual checks and that these screws dont warrent further investigation... I think they do because surely it is a reflection of the repair quality as it had to be removed to do the repair. They guy claims screws are cosmetic and now this "expert" reckons it didnt warrant fiurther investigation even though my garage said it did (given it had a knock and repair done there).

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What is the failure of the steering pump?

 

It could be that the belt has broken or the fluid is low, so you need to expand on that.

 

As they say beforehand and in their literature they do not remove anything in the examination, then they would be justified in not removing the wheelarch liner. So if the pump is not really visible without removal they can't report on it.

 

This is similar to the MoT examination where the examiner is not allowed to remove any parts, consequently cars that have side skirts could have completely rusted through sills, and even be in a dangerous condition, but the examiner would not see this unless the rust extended past the skirts.

 

If they were meticulous however then they should have noted 'fixing screw missing'.

 

Manufacturers do use duck tape as a means of further protection and use silicone grease and sealer on electrical connections to protect them from the elements.

 

Although mechanics are usually pretty good judges of repair work, they are not really qualified to give a binding judgement on the quality of bodywork repairs. You would need to take it to a body repair shop to be certain that is is 'not' of commercial acceptance.

 

Is the seller the previous owner? and if so how long have they owned the car?

 

If the seller is not the previous owner, then ring them and ask what damage was done to the car and did the insurance pay for repair.

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Its a 1 year old car and there were 3 screws missing. The engineer at the garage said he should have seen them given a repair had been done there??? Its a 1 year old car so no rust....

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So what are you actually asking here.

 

Do you believe that the vehicle inspector is liable for the steering pump, are you wanting them to pay for repairs, or are you just worried that they never reported three screws were missing.

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So what are you actually asking here.

 

Do you believe that the vehicle inspector is liable for the steering pump, are you wanting them to pay for repairs, or are you just worried that they never reported three screws were missing.

 

 

Yeah I think the inspectors are liable. If we knew screws were missing from the repair we would have asked more questions or got a mechanic to look further. Also i cant see how they can say in their report that the repair was commercially acceptable when it wasnt, even if their report says they dont know the full extent of the repairs, why say it in the report? Its a redundant statement.

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They gave it a visual inspection only so could not comment on the steering pump in any way mechanically. It was not until six weeks later that it failed.

How did it fail

 

Three screw missing from the wheel arch liner had no effect on the car or the pump. Yes maybe he should have written down 3 screws missing, but that is all he would have been able to say.

 

He noticed that there was some repaired damage and judged from what he could see that it had been repaired to an acceptable standard commercially.

I don't see what else he could say from what was visible. If he hadn't reported it at all and you found it then there would be reason to complain.

 

Your beef is with the seller, not the inspector. You need to go back to the dealer that sold it and ask them to replace the pump.

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I think the original poster is suggesting that although the inspection was 'visual ' he should have noticed that screws were missing from the inner wheel arch and concluded that possibly some repair work had been done so that should have prompted him to investigate further ( after having suspicions aroused by the missing screws ) and so would have possibly found the fault with the streering ?

Either way your contract is with teh supplier of the goods

Edited by Skatts
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I think the original poster is suggesting that although the inspection was 'visual ' he should have noticed that screws were missing from the inner wheel arch and concluded that possibly some repair work had been done so that should have prompted him to investigate further ( after having suspicions aroused by the missing screws ) and so would have possibly found the fault with the streering ?

Either way your contract is with teh supplier of the goods

 

It was a visual inspection only so even if he did notice three srews missing he wouldn't have removed anything to check and a visual check of the steering pump would not give an indication of its mechanical condition.

The pump did continue working for six more weeks after inspection.

 

The op isn't giving much detail and hasn't said how the pump failed. It can be not working because the fluid has dropped because of a leek in a boot on the rack or something similar.

 

When you buy things in a boot sale you can't tell just by looking at it that it is broken or will break in six weeks time.

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  • 1 month later...
It was a visual inspection only so even if he did notice three srews missing he wouldn't have removed anything to check and a visual check of the steering pump would not give an indication of its mechanical condition.

The pump did continue working for six more weeks after inspection.

 

The op isn't giving much detail and hasn't said how the pump failed. It can be not working because the fluid has dropped because of a leek in a boot on the rack or something similar.

 

When you buy things in a boot sale you can't tell just by looking at it that it is broken or will break in six weeks time.

 

 

Sorry to bring this up again but I just cant see how a company can say the repair was commercially acceptable if they only did a visual check! That statement made us buy the car!!!

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Sorry to bring this up again but I just cant see how a company can say the repair was commercially acceptable if they only did a visual check! That statement made us buy the car!!!

 

Who is saying it is NOT commercially acceptable?

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You can always test this in court if the inspectors are liable, but you could lose?

Anyway I pressume it has been repaired and the car is now working ok?

If you have any other major problems then reject the car.

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Show me a car that doesn't have screws missing from the wheel arch liner. They are normally plastic screws held by plastic captive nuts and normally when removing a liner one or more gets ruined.

peter123 you complain that the company only did a visual check of an accident repair, but if you think about it, what other type of check is there?

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  • 3 weeks later...
Show me a car that doesn't have screws missing from the wheel arch liner. They are normally plastic screws held by plastic captive nuts and normally when removing a liner one or more gets ruined.

peter123 you complain that the company only did a visual check of an accident repair, but if you think about it, what other type of check is there?

 

 

This may be but then as the solicitor (a friend of my father's) said to me screws are screws, and what is the point of a visual check if they dont point out there are missing screws.

 

Apparantly screws missing from a plastic covering on an area known by the inspector to have had accident damage/repair should have been included on this report. He said it is really that simple.

 

I need some more information from this company but then he said he will take it on and get his own "report"... he is a family friend so will do it for free (we just have to pay for the report-which will probably cost a bomb).

 

I think my old man is doing it for principle more than the money though!

 

Anyway thanks for the advice everyone...

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