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Seat Alhambra - fair wear & tear?


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I have another thread relating to my car and some issues, I'm looking for some opinions on another issue.

Last week, 12/11/12, the vehicle lost all drive, diagnosed as the driveshaft (nearside) stripping it splines at gearbox end. I had the car recovered back to the sales centre I purchased the car from 2 months ago, and tried using soga to get the vehicle repaired. The vehicle is 2001 51 reg and has covered 130k miles, was bought on 12/09/12 for £2500, having covered at time of purchase 127k miles. I had initially returned the vehicle for repair under the 3 month warranty given by the sales centre, which was immediately refused due to a supposed 2k mileage limit, which is when I tried the soga route. This was countered by the sales centre as the fault fell under fair wear and tear. The sales centre agreed to send the car to a local specialist for further diagnosis, which confirmed the RAC roadside diagnosis of driveshaft stripped its splines. Whilst at the garage, there seems to have been a breakdown of communication between themselves and the sales centre, as they have gone ahead and repaired the vehicle at a cost of £435 plus vat. The sales centre are still refusing to repair under soga, fault occured within 6 months so deemed to have been present at time of purchase, but have offered to go 50/50 on the repair costs.

So who is right? Could a driveshaft failing like that be classed as fair wear and tear? There was no indication prior to the vehicle breaking down that anything was amiss.

Should I just accept the offer of part payment?

I accept the vehicles mileage is high, and that the it is 11yrs old, and I don't expect it to be 100% perfect. I have looked online and can find a few instances on forums of driveshaft issues like mine, but nothing to suggest it is a wear and tear issue. Am I being unreasonable in expecting the sales centre to repair the car under soga?

The car does have other issues which are being addressed, but this is the one that is most pressing.

So over to you, opinions please on what I can expect, am I being unreasonable, or should I just accept the part payment offer?

Thanks in advance,

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Don't be fazed by the three month warranty. Don't be fazed by the 2000 mile limit. Don't be fazed by fair wear and tear.

 

You have rights under the sale of goods act and they cannot be excluded by the Seller.

 

You are entitled to have a motor car which is of satisfactory quality and will remain in that condition for a reasonable period of time. What is satisfactory depends on all the circumstances including the age of the car and the amount of money you have paid.

 

I can't imagine any court expecting you to have shelled out £2500 and then be required to pay a further 20% every two months to keep the car on the road.

 

One way of putting it would be to say – if the seller had advertised the car for £2500 and said in the advertising blurb that the lucky buyer will only have to spend a further £500 in the next two months to keep the car running, would anybody have bought it?

 

I don't think so.

 

As long as you have used the car in an ordinary moderate way then it is most unlikely that you should have to bear the liability for this problem.

 

Research thoroughly and find out how often this kind of fault occurs and in respect of cars of what kind of a and what kind of mileage. If this is a common fault for a car of this quality then you won't have much of a case. If you find that in similar circumstances this is a very rare problem then I think that you should proceed for the entire repair bill to be met by the garage.

 

There is only one slight matter that you should be aware of, and that is that a repair will probably put the car back into a condition which was better than it should be for a car of that age and that mileage.

 

It might be that a court would order that you meet a proportion of the repair cost for that reason. I think 50-50 is far too high – but I would have thought that a fair division would be that you make a 20% contribution because the repair bill is 20% of the money that you paid for the car

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Does it say in any of the paperwork you had with the car there is 2,000 mile limit on a claim?

 

Unfortunately I can't find the receipt I got with the car, although I can't remember reading anything about a mileage limit. Its not a warranty I paid for, just the usual 3 months most used car dealers give with a car.

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I hate to say it, but the Haynes Manual for my car states that the drive shafts should be replaced every 4 years. Not sure why, the originals have been on there from new until recently, but I don't know whether this is standard practice. I couldn't believe it when I read it!

 

You'd probably find it cheaper to have it done elsewhere in all fairness, Vauxhall themselves did mine and I think it was about half what your going to be charged.

 

Might be worth a thought.

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It's a shame you can't find the paperwork, that would have made life a lot easier.

 

You will have read the post above by now and as said, soga is the way to go. During the first 6 months, it is up to the seller to prove there was not inherent fault with it. For a shaft to fail like this, there must have already existed extensive wear.

 

On the engineering side. The driveshaft is made of a heavy guage tempered steel for obvious reasons. The weak point of the shaft isn't in fact the splines, but a point about 2/3 the way up the shaft from the gearbox towards the wheel and comes from the twisting motion especially when pulling away. Even dropping the clutch shouldn't damage the shaft, the wheels should spin. Splines should be of a tight enough fit that there is only a sliding motion along the splines and being permanently submerged in oil, spline wear would be very limited and the shaft easily outlive the car.

 

You say you tried SOGA, did you mention that he has to show there was no wear there at the time of sale?

 

Haynes are not a constructors manual, but an aid for non qualified motorist to help them keep down the cost of maintenance. Check out if this is the manufacturerers recommendation or a suggestion based on the experience of Haynes.

 

There is alway the chance that they have been changed but an inferior quality far east part used.

Edited by Conniff
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On another note, the car has been repaired, and we as a family could really do with having it back. The car they loaned us, a 2dr SAAB 9 3, isn't really suited to family duties, (4 kids) and is costing a fair bit to run, so can we get the car back, they've already agreed we can pay in installments, then dispute the amount etc afterwards?

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