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Vauxhall Insignia Clutch Failure - Warranty Claim Rejected By Vauxhall

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I purchased a 19 month old Vauxhall Insignia in May 2014 from EMG in Ely.

 

 

On the whole the car gave me excellent service, apart from a few niggles, which were rectified under the Vauxhall 3 year warranty.

 

However, in September this year, I noticed that it was getting more & more difficult getting the car into gear.

The car was just under 3 years old, and had covered 43,000 miles.

 

I took the car into York, Ward & Rowlatt, in Wellingborough to have it looked at.

After a test drive, they said that the clutch had failed & it would not be covered under the warranty, and would cost £982 to put right.

 

I then phoned Vauxhall Customer Service, and was told that it COULD be covered under warranty,

but only if the failure was deemed to be manufacture defect, and not wear & tear,

and, I would have to agree to an inspection involving removal of the gearbox.

This had to be done at a dealership, and if the findings concluded wear & tear,

I would have to pay for the inspection, but it would be included in the repair if I paid up.

 

Needless to say, they came back to me with "wear & tear".

 

After several phone calls to Vauxhall, they said that they weren't interested.

They would not even offer a good-will gesture.

 

As far as I could see, the clutch was not worn due to bad driving, otherwise it would have been slipping,

and I would have noticed a drop in fuel economy.

Once in gear, the clutch was fine.

 

Eventually I agreed to have the work done "under protest".

 

I asked Vauxhall for a fault report on the original clutch, and also information on the expected life of the clutch.

Originally they said that they would not have that information,

but I pushed them, as I couldn't believe that a manufacturer would buy in parts for which they had no idea how long they would last.

 

I was promised this information "no later than 16th October". It is now 18th October, and needless to say I am still waiting.

 

Whilst I am not happy with Vauxhall, the people I have been speaking to have been courteous

and as helpful as they could be within the company guidelines.

I am a great believer that any problems I have with a company, it's not the fault of the person on the other end of the phone.

 

There are numerous motoring forums on the www, and most seem to have disgruntled motorists posting complaints about Insignia clutches,

some of which are after only a few thousand miles.

 

 

This is quite clearly not an isolated problem, and it's about time Vauxhall got their act together and helped their (hopefully valued) customers.

Edited by avid_imps
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You should start off by reading our customer services guide and implementing the advice there. Do not have any more telephone calls with anyone unless you have implemented the advice that we give about this kind of thing in our customer services guide.

 

Secondly, get all the information you can about this failed clutch problem. It will certainly help you if you can demonstrate that this is a particular problem with this car rather than the general wear and tear problem.

 

Also, try and get some information about the length of time that you could reasonably expect the clutch to last. I have to say that I think 43,000 miles is a bit low.

 

Of course, you wouldn't buy a second-hand car and expected to be completely in brand-new condition. This means that eventually it might be unreasonable to expect them to pay completely for a brand-new clutch. On the other hand, it would be entirely reasonable for you to pay 43,000 miles worth of a new clutch – which might be 50% or something. You will have to read around and work it out.

 

The percentage of a new clutch short of 43,000 miles is the amount of clutch that you would be entitled to – and this would be the amount of compensation that you would be entitled to.

 

I find it extremely unreasonable that they are not prepared to release these figures to you – have you had this from them in writing? Have you had a promise from them in writing that they would release the figures to you? If all of this has been done on the telephone, and now you know why you should be following the advice in our customer services guide before you do anything on the telephone.

 

If there is no particular problem with the clutch on your type of car and that this is simply a one-off problem, then as I have already suggested, you would have to calculate the life of the new clutch, take off 43,000 miles – and that would give you the figure for compensation that you reasonably require.

 

If this happens to be a particular problem with the clutches on this make a vehicle – then I think that you could expect rather more – although never a new clutch.

 

If you can find good evidence that there is a problem with these vehicles, then I would make this a particular feature of your complaint against the supplier of the car and make sure Vauxhall know about it because they were would not want it's become officially known that this car had this kind of problem.

 

I don't think you should hang around too long. Getting involved in protracted discussions gets you nowhere. It sounds to me as if you have already had a good go and then not prepared to budge.

 

Assemble all your data, and then send them a letter before action and given 14 days. Start off, say, requiring that they contribute two thirds of the value of the work. If they will not agree to your demands within 14 days then you should issue a small claim in the County Court and without further notice.

 

Don't bother to make the threat if you're not prepared carried out. Bluffing will get you nowhere except it will lose you credibility. Frankly, if you not prepared to take this kind of action then put it down to experience and simply take the hit.

 

Do some reading around on this forum and elsewhere to find out about taking a small claim in the County Court. Open an account on MoneyClaim. It's free. The whole business of bringing a claim is very easy - but you will have to be well prepared.


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I agree the mileage is low, but it is a used car and who know what the original owner did while driving.

 

Difficulty in not engaging a gear is an indication that the clutch is not throwing out fully so it wouldn't necessarily be slipping.

 

For a thousand pounds, this wasn't just the clutch, they must have changed the dual mass flywheel as well. I don't suppose you have any of the parts ??

 

To get a price comparison, give your local clutch care center a ring and ask them how much.

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Thanks for the advice.

 

 

A representative from the Vauxhall MD's office initially told me that they would not have any documentation regarding clutch life, but I emailed them saying that it made no sense that Vauxhall would purchase clutches & not know how long they were expected to last. I then got a reply stating that they would have the information, and a fault report for the original clutch, no later than 16th October, for which I am still waiting.

 

 

I have the original parts removed from the car: the concentric slave cylinder & the 2 parts to the clutch itself.

 

 

The main parts on the invoice are: 55581279 - Clutch kit

55565331 - Slave Cylinder, Clutch.

 

 

There is no mention of a DMF.

 

 

We have a mechanic of nearly 40 years experience in the family, and he will examine the clutch parts & go over the information from Vauxhall, if I ever get it.

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I really would ring around and find out the price from others if it was indeed just he clutch and slave, 5 bobs worth of materials, someone's being ripped off.

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I'm not sure that you could describe the mileage as being low. 43,000 over three years seems to me to be about average or slightly more.

 

Of course, you have no idea how the car was treated – but because of that, you are entitled to assume that the car that they are selling you has been reasonably treated throughout its life.


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I was meaning 'low' as in clutch life terms not annual mileage. I think we can take it for granted that a clutch should reach 80,000 without any problems, unless of course, the previous owner drove with their foot riding it.

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I've had a reply from Vauxhall (only 4 days late). I can't say I'm surprised.

 

 

"As with any manufacturer we are unable to guarantee the life expectancy of any part as we do not expect them to fail at any predetermined age or mileage. Some items, such as the clutch, are deemed to be a wear and tear item as their longevity can be heavily influenced by user operation. "

I didn't ask for a guarantee of life expectancy, I asked for expected or design life, under specific conditions if need be.

If this is the case, how do they know if the part is performing as it should?

Who would buy parts not knowing how long they should last?

"We appreciate that this may not always be the case, but the dealer have advised that the failure cannot be attributed to a manufacturing or material defect.

In view of the fact that there is no defect with the part, I regret that a failure report has not been completed, and we are therefore unable to provide you with a copy."

If they are following processes they should have documentation supporting their findings.

How does the dealer know? What if the dealer has got it wrong?

Fortunately I have way too much spare time on my hands to pursue this.

 

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I have to agree that life expectancy cannot be predicted and on a clutch there can be no scientific test or under any specific conditions.

 

They could say 'we expect', but who can say if a driver rests his foot on the clutch pedal or how many times he changes gear of if he sits at a traffic light and holds the pedal down or rides it on a hill. It really is impossible to put any reliable figure on mileage.

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To give you an idea of pricing; the clutch kit quoted for is available on E-Bay for £550:00. The kit INCLUDES a Dual Mass Flywheel

Edited by Nimrod205
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Thanks everyone for your input with this.

 

 

Quick update:

 

 

2 local garages said that my clutch could not have been the cause of the problem. It was worn as would be expected after 43,000 miles, but there was still plenty of miles left in it.

 

 

They said it would be slave cylinder failure or air in the hydraulic line causing the problem. The dealer originally said that the cylinder was fine when we suggested that was likely to be at fault, but they replaced it anyway, but I believe that is standard practice when a clutch is replaced.

 

 

Vauxhall are still saying they can't provide any of the information I have requested & I am waiting again to hear back regarding my findings.

 

 

I shall try to get an appraisal of my clutch & cylinder from another dealer.

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