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Hi Folks


Wanted to run this past you - to see where we go from here..


My daughters car, 3 years old, 18000 miles on the clock. I was with her a couple of weeks ago and noticed her engine was misfiring - I suggested she get it checked out, car has a 3 year warranty from Arnold Clark (that she paid for), she bought the car earlier this year.


She took it to Arnold Clark, who had it for 2 days and said there was nothing wrong with it.


I suggested she took it to VW for a second opinion. They confirmed the misfire and sited low compression on at least one of the cylinders.


She took it back to Arnold Clark and showed VW's findings. They then agreed to repair it. She said she had no confidence (well done lass!) as they said there was nothing wrong with it in the first place. They agreed that VW would do the repair.


It was taken to VW, and they have stripped it, and reported back to Arnold Clark that the valves are burnt, £1200 to repair. Arnold Clark now say that this particular item (burnt valves) is not included in the warranty (and having checked the policy, it is excluded).


So my daughter now has her engine in pieces at VW - and where does she go with this?


I suggested Trading Standards, siting that the engine is not fit for purpose. I am not sure whether our argument is with Arnold Clark or VW. I am not sure about the service record (it is in the car) although I think this will be complete, some of it by Arnold Clark.


Any help greatly appreciated.

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This could get difficult as VW know (apparently) that it is on behalf of another garage/dealer. This raises issues to VW's advantage straight away due to the frankly pathetic and very ambiguous SOGA rules employed in the UK with regards used cars. It gives them an immediate out.


Firstly, when did your daughter buy the car and what was the mileage and secondly what is the exact service history? Which model is it? How many owners?


Arnold Shark has displayed their normal level of technical incompetence but seem to have for once seen the light and referred it to some one who has an inkling of what is going on.

In this case I do sympathise with them as they couldn't have known.


It also highlights how pathetic a non franchised dealers warranties are. It's tantamount to the Banks selling PPI as the things covered are highly unlikely to happen.

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Thanks, I'll ask my daughter to fill in the blanks..


No sympathy required for Arnold Clark - they couldn't tell after 2 days that the engine was miss-firing, I could feel it sitting in the passenger seat!!

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No surprises there then. I expect they would say its wheel balance causing the problem when the car is stood still such is the reputed level of competence!


Lets get the info and take it from there step by step.

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Oh dear - sounds familiar . Helios is perhaps the best one to help you with this one - he has a wealth of knowledge on VW and helped us with my daughters vw polo ( see previous threads) .


I would call VW customer care as they gave us a 30% discount and your daughters car is much younger and has done less mileage than my daughters .At the end of the day it is a VW and they care about their brand and repuation . I did collate a lot of evidence to prove this was a common fault on polos in case we needed to take it further so should you need these links let me know,fortunately it didnt come to that but they did repair it at a discounted price of £600+ and it now has a 2 year warranty ( still shouldnt have happened though) I would have thought with the young age of the car you should be able to take some action against arnold clark or VW should they not help. Speak to trading standards they are very helpful.


good luck.

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Thanks Helios & Greenbee


Car is VW Polo Hatchback 1.2 E 60 3 door 1198cc.


First registered 14/11/2007


1 previous owner.


Bought 31/12/2010, mileage 12527. Mileage now 18384.


Longlife service by VW at 4724 miles, 18/5/09

Serviced by Arnold Clark, 12527 miles, 22/12/10.



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On balance there might be little address against "Arnold Shark's Circus". Others might have some input with regards this.


So for starters I could do with knowing what the arrangement is between them and the VW Garage. I could also do with the readings of the cylinder pressures from the VW garage and the valve clearances (they probably won't have this) if taken.


I'd also like to see a copy of the warranty from Sir Arnold.


Can you also indicate which town the VW dealer is and what area Arnold is operating in?


It would be prudent to now start reading the complete thread and start drafting a letter to VW. In the mean time ask the VW dealer to approach VAG customer care to see if they are going to offer help towards the costs. This will buy a bit of time.


There is only one solution to this fault that cures it once and for all and that is a new cylinder head and valves.The repair process is far too risky.


You will end up spending something unfortunately, the key is to mitigate the cost.


One avenue you might like to consider is asking the dealer who can't work out what causes a misfire is if they complied with the Longlife Service requirements. I expect the answer to be yes they did but they need to prove that they did use the correct oil. There is a difference between the longlife service oil and normal. They might have invalidated the longlife interval.This is not though related to your problem.


What I am asking you to do is essentially getting sufficient info to have a sound basis of recompense towards the repairs.


Initially, please PM me with the info until this is sorted.





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Fit for purpose is a good point but is very debatable. The problem arguing it is that it doesn't affect every 1.2 litre engine and that if the engine has done in excess of 40K miles without exhibiting the issue then it is unlikely to do so. The only way of proving this is to get hold of warranty and out of warranty data that shows world wide the number of repairs per 1000 engines made is above a certain figure. This then needs analysing again to show a certain pattern.


So for example, it may be that it's only Euro polos that exhibit the issue, perhaps because of unleaded fuel, yet all other markets don't. It can get very complex.


Another thing to bare in mind is that you only hear about the failures. So if 10000 vehicles with this engine have been sold in the UK and there are only 4 complaints that you know about, then the repairs per 1000 is only 0.4 and hardly warrants an investigation.

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A quick update and some more information (I'll pm you separately Helios for the info you asked for).


I spoke to the technical chap at VW today. He said the engine was not in pieces (which I had assumed from their diagnosis). They are saying that the valves are burnt from their experience of this engine, and going by the compression figures, which are:






No goodwill gesture from them (VAG Customer Services) due to incomplete servicing by them.


As the engine is still together, they suggested my daughter could collect the car until a decision on how to proceed is made.


Their quote is £1554 inc vat.


I asked what could cause such a problem, their answer was fuel eroding the valve(s).


My daughter contacted Trading Standards, they are interested in the finance agreement (done through Arnold Clark) and who actually owns the car.. It looks like the finance company 'own' the car - and perhaps it is their problem? Don't know at the moment.


Apologies I didn't mention the finance position previously - I didn't think this would make any difference.

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Hi Scania


According to the guy I spoke to at VW, the valve problem is caused by fuel eroding the valves, generally only seen on low mileage engines (?) - my thought possibly short cold running.


The AC warranty is here: (sent it PM as I can't send a link!!



I recently bought a new van, also from Arnold Clark (wish I had known better!). Charged separately for 12 months road tax, when I picked it up (it was pre-registered) it only had 10 months to run!! After a fight they refunded the £35. The service and warranty book are also missing - still waiting for this.




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The issue with these engines is not valves burnt but the valve seats burning away. It can be put down to poor quality fuel either. Perhaps in 2nd or 3rd world countries but not in the EU.

VW should know better than to use this excuse as it's on a par with the stuff I used to watch on Jackanory!!!!


It's poor design and poor materials that cause this problem along with poor quality material checking controls. This explains why not all engines of this type are affected.

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Thanks Helios for your input..


Just a thought from your last post, the warranty explicitly excludes burnt valves.


If it is actually the valve seats rather than the valves that are burnt then this should be covered as the cylinder head is included in the warranty?


VW have said it is the valves, but of course without stripping the engine - or perhaps scoping it, this cannot be verified at this time.

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Actually, that is a very good point! However to prove it requires the removal of the head and same said taken down to prove. This means you are comitted either way. There are apparently two "official" fixes for this problem. Option one is to replace the seats and option two is to change the head. Option one is possible but depends on the amount of degredation of burn that exists. They only have 4 thousands of an inch to play with so needs someone with exceptional capabilities to achieve this. Why VW even bother defeats me as the cost/risk does just not add up.

Option 2 where you get a new head and valves is the permanent fix. The new head apparently comes with different seats designed to overcome the problem.


So now thinking about it you have two angles to go at. Personally I'd try VW first. The warranty co will go for option 1 and when it doesn't work will blame the garage which then opens up a whole new argument.


The only way to properly cure this is with a new updated head from VW.

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  • 1 month later...

Well I have received some good news tonight. Apparently mckcol has had a better than expected result!


The big question is though "why do VW try to hide behind service history?" They have a lazy, lazy, ill informed customer service centre who try to put up arguments that they cannot substantiate.


This is from a company who now own Bugatti, Lamborghini and Bentley. Marques where the base engineering is carried out in the same place as the little old Polo. I bet they wouldn't treat these owners in the same way as they do their bread and butter cars.


Come on VW. Own up! You know you have a problem with this engine in Polo's, you've had oil burning problems too .........so take some responsibility and "hande hoche".


You might actually get some credibility back!

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...
Well I have received some good news tonight. Apparently mckcol has had a better than expected result!



Indeed, and apologies for the delay in reporting back - it has been a busy old Christmas / New Year!


We wrote to VW, in Germany, after sending a prompt email, we did get a response to say that VW UK Customer Service would handle this.


We subsequently heard from VW UK, and they investigated and finally offered to pay 70% of the final bill, on the condition that is was serviced at my daughters cost, by VW, hence giving a full dealer service history.


This has all been done now and the car seems to be working fine again.


Whilst this was going on (the VW dialogue), my daughter was also pursuing Blackhorse Finance as advised by Trading Standards. This was really on a back burner as we thought the best outcome would be to go for VW. In the end my daughter advised Blackhorse that VW had agreed to pay 70% of the bill. They then offered to pay the 30% remainder!


So my daughter has got her car working, with a warrantied repair and full service history for the cost of a service - a better than expected outcome overall. The only downside was the 2 months it took, and the car being off the road for this period (the miss-fire got much worse).


Our many, many thanks to Helios for his input, advice and cajoling (of my daughter!) - All the best for 2012!!

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Our many, many thanks to Helios for his input, advice and cajoling (of my daughter!) - All the best for 2012!!


So when's the wedding, I like a good wedding :!:

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So, here again the Shark gets off Scot free!!!!!!!


Yes, I would like my daughter to have a go regarding the warranty and servicing package that she took out for around £450 - which was completely useless in this case. I don't think she has the stomach for a further fight..

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So when's the wedding, I like a good wedding :!:


Now, now Conniff.........we all know you'll chase any free beer and a slap up meal if it's gratis.


Seriously though it was an exceptional result but the result that was right and justified. What was disapointing was the intransigent attitude of the VW customer service manager assigned to sort the problem. Had he been working for my department I'm quite sure he'd be getting some serious coaching now.


What it does show is that handled in the correct way it is possible to take on the manufactuers who hide behind time and supposed servicing records and get a result. The main thing is not to take no for an answer when you have sufficient evidence there is a blatent design fault. Getting that evidence is relatively easy nowadays! No good saying other people have complaints, you need to be armed with more and be prepared to feed it in at the right time!


As regards Arnold Sharks, sorry Clarkes, Scania perhaps is the best person to seek advice from as what he doesn't know about this organisation perhaps isn't worth knowing.


Apleasing result though which was a lot better than I expected.

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Yes, I would like my daughter to have a go regarding the warranty and servicing package that she took out for around £450 - which was completely useless in this case. I don't think she has the stomach for a further fight..


Unfortunately, this is the reason that clark get's away with so much---people just give up after a while.

As far as the warranty is concerned, perhaps i mis-read your posts, but i understood that the warranty excluded "Valves". Since Heliosuck pointed out, it's not the valves at fault here but the seats, so why didn't clark fight your corner with VW?? One can only assume that with clarks superior mechanical knowlwedge they would be converse with this known Polo fault!!!!

In regards the service contract, and based on my own experience of missed items, i would suggest that your daughter just forgets this payment and put it down to experience. Get the car serviced by a proper motor engineer. Clarks will most certainly not refund this service contract---they say thats in their T&Cs----What T&Cs for their service contract?????? Where can they be found???

The most important factor here is Do you TRUST Clark's to service the car????

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  • 5 months later...

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