AFTER A spate of fires involving Zafiras over several years, Vauxhall is writing to 220,000 owners to ask them to take their car to a local Vauxhall dealer for inspection and repair.
Rory Harvey, Vauxhall’s chairman and managing director, explains in a video that only B models (built between 2004 and 2015) of the Zafira fitted with manual air-conditioning, or no air-conditioning at all, are affected.
The company has so far inspected about 20 burnt-out Zafiras. Harvey says that although the fires have left engineers with little to go on, they have discovered a factor common to all: improper repair of the blower motor resistor and its thermal fuse.
Vehicles that have not had any repairs to these components, and whose heating and ventilation systems are functioning properly, are, Harvey says, not at risk.
Though it has identified the problem components, Vauxhall admits the cause of the fires remains a mystery. “We’re still trying to find the root cause,” Harvey says. “This isn’t helped by the fires destroying the vehicles.”
On November 12 Vauxhall will begin contacting the 220,000 owners. The checks and any subsequent repairs will be done free.
Tim Shallcross, a former AA expert technician and consultant to the Institute of Advanced Motorists, is unimpressed by Vauxhall’s response. “Time and time again it has taken motorist pressure groups to make car makers react to problems like this, and Vauxhall appears to be no different,” he says. “The DVSA [Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency] should have acted to force Vauxhall to recall these vehicles much sooner, in my view.”
About 130 owners of Zafira B models have reported overheating problems. To vent their frustrations and share their experiences, concerned owners have created a Facebook page.
Vauxhall has published an advice page for Zafira B owners here.