RAC Cars News


Vauxhall Zafira re-recalled

By raccars Published

vauxhall steering wheel

The Vauxhall Zafira has been recalled a second time due to potential fire risks.

The first Vauxhall Zafira recall took place last year, when 234,938 owners were asked to visit their local dealership so that remedial work could be carried out to the MPV's ventilation system after a fire risk was discovered. A number of Vauxhall Zafira B models had caught fire, apparently due to faulty repairs carried out to the blower motor resistor.

A second round of recalls

The same Vauxhall Zafira B models have now been recalled again, on the rather vague basis that work needs to be carried out to improve the system's robustness. The current fuse resistor is soldered and Vauxhall plans to swap it out for a fuse resistor in wax, which is apparently more robust. All of the owners of the affected cars will be contacted by the manufacturer by letter starting in August.

The remedial work will of course be free of charge and once complete all B model Vauxhall Zafiras in the UK will have a new blower motor and wax fuse resistor, plus new moulding along the bottom of the windscreen to resolve a water leak issue.

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The B model Zafira was on sale from 2009-2014 and a number of reports were received last year about faulty ventilation and heating systems. The London Fire Brigade claims to have attended 71 fires of this kind in the last couple of years, a substantial increase on the 38 such fires which had occurred over the previous four years. Worried owners began using social media to communicate about the issue and the BBC's consumer programme Watchdog carried out an investigation.

Vauxhall responded with an investigation of its own, which was almost immediately escalated to a full recall on safety grounds. Vauxhall advised owners to contact their dealership if anything unusual was observed while using the heating and ventilation system, such as squeaky noises. The manufacturer also co-operated with the Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to make sure that all the affected vehicles were tracked down.

Poor repairs identified

Vauxhall and the DVSA are in agreement that the fires emanate from a resistor in the heating and ventilation system of most Zafiras. Models with and without air conditioning are affected but cars with climate control are not involved. A thermal fuse within the resistor has been the subject of improper repair work, such as a bypass using copper wire held in place by screws or even crocodile clips, which prevent the fuse from activating should it be necessary.

The fuse usually activates to break the circuit in the system and shut it down if high temperatures are detected. When Vauxhall carried out random checks on a thousand models, it discovered improper fuse repairs on 2.6 per cent of them.

The first round of recalls saw Vauxhall swap out the affected thermal fuses, replace the cabin's pollen filter and investigate leaks around the windscreen which could have been allowing water into the ventilation system and corroding the fan. Corrosion damage to the blower unit could have caused the thermal fuse to activate, in addition to the usual wear and tear.

The issue was first raised by a group of concerned mothers whose MPVs had filled with thick black smoke, often with children and pets travelling in the car. The manufacturer advised Zafira owners who had knowingly carried out heating and ventilation system repairs to avoid using their fans except while demisting the windscreen on the fourth speed - the first three speeds call on a different fuse.

Having replaced the blower motors of affected cars, this second recall to install wax fuse resistors should prevent improper repairs from being carried out in the future.

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