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howcanshe

2006 Vauxhall Astra issue/ small claims costs?

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It's my 1st post, I've been a lurker for a long time but now need some serious advise :(

 

Approximately 18 months ago I bought a second hand Vauxhall Astra. The car was a 2006 model and still had some manufacturers warranty on it.

 

My car has run well from the day that I got it and I have been very happy with it, I have kept the car maintained to the highest standards although I have not used Vauxhall for any servicing. Last year whilst the car was still under warranty my oil light came on, when I checked the level the oil was fine.

 

I took my car to Vauxhall who gave the car a clean bill of health. (I have the job card from the garage for this)

 

Then last month whilst travelling home my oil light came one. I pulled over and checked that my car had sufficient oil, the oil was halfway up the dipstick so I turned the engine on again. The light went out and I continued my journey, about ten minutes later there was a loud bang and my car broke down, I had to be towed from the motorway and then have the car towed from the depot to the nearest Vauxhall dealer. This cost me £150 and £100 respectively.

 

I was obviously very unhappy that my car had broken down so contacted GM head office who told me that the dealer I had towed it to would investigate it for me, they have came back and said that the issue was due to the car being run with no oil.

They also state that I had to pay for their time investigating the problem.

 

They then also claimed that the works will cost me apx £4000 as I need a complete new engine and turbo. The car is 3 years and 3 months old so according to GM I am out of warranty, the car has only covered about 38,000 miles. Even though I am technically out of warranty I believe a car should last more than 38,000 miles.

 

I am very disappointed that my car has not lasted as long as I anticipated, when I informed GM of this they claimed that the damage was caused by no oil and that I was negligent.

 

I know that I have looked after the car and immediately before the incident it had enough oil. I also took the car to Vauxhall with a very similar problem whilst it was under warranty and nothing was done about it (They informed me it was fine!)

Is it worth me pursuing this as it is pretty much their word against mine, I cannot prove that I check the oil before long journeys which they are stating is the car of the damage.

 

I cannot afford the repair bill or a new car.

 

The reason I have posted on here is that I have written several letters to Vauxhall, their outcome is that this damage was caused by no oil, I had the oil changed 3000 miles ago by Kwik fit and as mentioned above checked it immediatly before the incident.

Surely if Vauxhall claim that the oil should be changed when the car is serviced every 20,000 and I have it done more frequently there is some basis for me to take this to small claims court?

 

Vauxhall are stating I need to get independant advise which suggests that the damage was caused by something other than no oil for them to do anything.

 

Does anyone have any advise as to how I am best to proceed? I feel that small claims is the only answer, but will they also want an independant analysis (Which I cannot afford)?

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First hurdle is Kwik fit oil changes. Un fortunately, they do not drain the oil out and thus remove all the sediment at the bottom of the sump. They syphon it out through the dipstick and then add new oil. So, you end up with more and more crap in your oil. Once that reaches critical levels, quicker in diesels, it can lead to oil pump failure which is possibly where this is heading.

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Oil pump failure has been suggested by many people, unfortunately I need to prove that this is the case.

 

In order to do so the engine would need to be stripped down which would cost as much as a rebuild!

Then I would have to prove that the oil pump was faulty

 

oh BTW this is a petrol turbo engine not a diesel

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You can probably source a good used engine at a breakers for about £500. A good local garage should be able to change the enginge for another £500, which although a £1000 is a lot cheaper than the main stealers.

 

You are looking for someone or something to blame. Don't waste your time. Vauxhall will not be interested as you are outside the warranty. Even if they were, they would perhaps go 50/50 on a new engine at £6000 + fitting etc. Changing the engine is not such a big deal. I could do it! It is a big job, make no mistakes, but a garage with correct equipment it would take a day or two and you get your car back on the road.

 

Next time, drain the oil from the sump, ideally after using engine flush.

 

Many people cut corners on oil. Cheapest they can get. It is the lifeblood of your engine.

 

I always do the following:

 

1. Add engine flush and run for 10 minutes.

2. Remove sump plug and drain completely

3. Remove filter

4. Replace filter with manufacturers own brand

5. Replenish oil

6. Use for 3 days

7. Drain oil again, but don't change filter.

8. Replace oil again.

 

Use a GOOD quality oil.

 

This will cost you about £30 a time, depending on make/model.

 

£30. once or twice a year. The engine will never give you any trouble like you just had. It will run like new.

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Thanks for the oil advice. Unfortunately in this instance it has come too late ;)

 

My arguement was though, that even though my warranty has expired 37k is not a reasonable amount of miles for complete engine failure, do I stand a chance of getting anywhere is I take vx to small claims?

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Thanks for the oil advice. Unfortunately in this instance it has come too late ;)

 

My arguement was though, that even though my warranty has expired 37k is not a reasonable amount of miles for complete engine failure, do I stand a chance of getting anywhere is I take vx to small claims?

 

IMO, no.

 

As has been pointed out above the method of oil change used by Kwik-Fit does not remove the sludge from the engine. They just suck out the old oil via the dipstick tube and then refill.

 

Even if you don't subscribe to wheelergeezer's second change of oil each time, removing the old oil via the sump plug means that the 'flow' carries a lot of the sludge with it (and some cars have magnetic drain plugs to collect metallic particles in the oil and these need cleaning off also).

 

Furthermore, I doubt that Kwik-Fit use manufacturer oil filters and Vauxhall will be able to use the use of an inferior oil filter against you.

 

I would suggest that you have been caught out by using the cheap/easy option on oil changes and that will be the crux of Vauxhall's defence - lack of proper servicing.

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IMO, no.

 

As has been pointed out above the method of oil change used by Kwik-Fit does not remove the sludge from the engine. They just suck out the old oil via the dipstick tube and then refill.

 

Even if you don't subscribe to wheelergeezer's second change of oil each time, removing the old oil via the sump plug means that the 'flow' carries a lot of the sludge with it (and some cars have magnetic drain plugs to collect metallic particles in the oil and these need cleaning off also).

 

Furthermore, I doubt that Kwik-Fit use manufacturer oil filters and Vauxhall will be able to use the use of an inferior oil filter against you.

 

I would suggest that you have been caught out by using the cheap/easy option on oil changes and that will be the crux of Vauxhall's defence - lack of proper servicing.

 

So any chance of a claim against kwik fit?

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Yes I took it to Vauxhall as my oil pressure light started to illuminate sporadically during journeys.

Even when if I checked the oil the level was fine. I took it to my local dealer who investigated yet simply the jobsheet states:

 

Investigate oil warning light coming on intermitantly - customer has checked oil level and it is ok. Reprogrammed ECU to remove WAR

 

To elaborate I originally took it in as there was an issue with the car holding back when cold.

 

The original issue simply states - unable to faulter WAR

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On 08/09/2008 at mileage of 25,324

 

Mileage is now at 37,000apx

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A long shot,but i would chance my arm on the warranty front as you did in fact notify oil warning light within warranty period. As previously stated, better to buy used engine than accept VX's 50/50 offer if that's what they come up with.

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Cheers scaniaman, i've filed my small claims this morning, £100!

 

For a new engine that won't be bad though :)

 

I doubt they'll even want to go to court though?

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what engine oil did quick fit use? is yours a vxr? if it is i would guess it would need a more specialist engine oil. i have already seen a tech bulletin from ford stating that if the wrong oil is used in the upcoming focus rs any warrenty claims will be rejected!

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It's the same engine as the vxr. Kwikfit used fully synth oil, think the grade was 5-40 which is acceptable according to the service manual

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Even though I have filled out a small claims form and have had a letter I haven't had one back from Vauxhall, is this normal?

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If I lose a small claims do I have to pay any costs?

I've googled this and can't find it anywhere.

 

Also how do i progress if the defendant claims they do not owe the money?

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Guest Old_andrew2018

You could post more details in order to get appropriate replies

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Guest Old_andrew2018

Details are not required, just background to any claim

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Its regarding my other thread:

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/garage-services/213669-2006-vauxhall-astra-issue.html

 

I am taking Vauxhall to small claims, they have arranged for an engineer to come and inspect my car, hopefully this will stop it going all the way to court!

As I don't want this really, all I want is what I am entitled to :(

 

If I do lose, which I doubt I will, will I have to pay for their solicitor?

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OK now they say cos the engineer can't come til a certain date they need longer for their defence, can I say no?

 

This has gone on long enough but will saying no go against me? :confused:

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Details of who pays for costs can be found here

 

Who Pays Court Costs and Fees? - About Small Claims (UK)

 

How much longer do they want? A week or two is neither here or there especially if their engineer finds in your favour. Don't forget that from what you have said he/she is their engineer not yours. You may well need to get your own engineer at some point.

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I saw that site before, it just says its up to the judge??

 

Is it likely . . .i'm now really worried i'll end uplosing then losing even more money :confused:

 

I also cant really afford a technician, really think i'm in over my head here.

 

I will let you all know how much extension they would like on the case

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Ok apologies I haven't been on here, they wanted an extra 2 weeks which I gave them as long as they repaired damage caused to my wheels by towing.

They agreed.

They have now inspected it and have filed their defence claiming . . yet again . . that there was no oil in the car.

 

Just waiting for my court date now, hope i'm prepared enough

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