Given the present concern about fires in Vauxhall Zafira B models please find below a briefing I have received from Vauxhall explaining the situation.
Vauxhall Zafira B Fires – Briefing
Vauxhall has been carrying out a systematic inspection of Vauxhall Zafira B models without air conditioning or with manual air conditioning sold in the UK between 2005 and 2014, following reports of a number of fires which appear to have started in the heating and ventilation system.
Since we first became aware of the issue we have undertaken an inspection and rework programme on almost 50,000 vehicles in order to establish the root cause of these fires. This is a painstaking process requiring detailed analysis in order to get to the root cause, particularly where parts are too badly damaged to provide evidence.
We have kept DVSA fully informed throughout and following a detailed review of our findings they have now acknowledged that the fires were caused by improper repair of the thermal fuse of the resistor in the heating and ventilation system, undertaken outside of Vauxhall’s authorised service and maintenance processes and schedule.
Root cause of the fires
Establishing the root cause of any incident is fundamental to understanding the problem, establishing the risk to customers and arriving at a solution.
- The conclusion of our extensive inspection programme is that the root cause of the fires is improper repair of the thermal fuse within the blower motor resistor. The fuse in question is designed to protect the blower motor in the event of a fault in, or failure of the motor. The blower motor resistor (with its integrated thermal fuse) is designed to be discarded and replaced upon failure, not repaired.
- If the thermal fuse is repaired, the resistor loses its fail safe property. This can lead to the overheating of the resistor which in turn can melt surrounding parts, potentially leading to a fire.
Action by Vauxhall: Zafira B Inspection Programme
A substantial number of potentially vulnerable cars are older models (within a 9 year model life span) and with their third or fourth owner. We have been working with the DVSA to obtain ownership data and contact directly all 234,938 Zafira B owners in the UK.
Letters to customers informing them of this issue and the action they should take now have already been sent out. Owners are subsequently receiving a second letter requesting that they contact their local Vauxhall dealership to arrange an appointment for a full, no cost, safety inspection. These letters are phased to take account of parts availability and dealer network capacity. At the inspection, affected components in the heating and ventilation system will be checked and replaced if necessary. This process will return any affected heating and ventilation systems to their original design condition.
We have explained the issue clearly on the Vauxhall website alongside a video statement from our Chairman and Managing Director, Rory Harvey: http://www.vauxhall.co.uk/zafiracustomeradvice.html
The inspection programme is a considerable operational undertaking. As we no longer make this model of car we have re-started production of the part in question, using our original supplier working 3 X 8 hour shifts to produce 24,000 resistors per week until demand is met.
We have also arranged to extend both weekday and weekend opening hours and overtime for mechanics across many Vauxhall dealerships where this is possible in order to inspect as many cars as possible at a time convenient to our owners.
We are determined to reach every customer and have launched a series of social media advertisements to extend the reach of our information campaign beyond customer letters and website information. The issue has also been covered in the national media including two editions of BBC Watchdog.
Important information for constituents
We have prepared the guidance below for anyone affected and would be grateful if you would pass this on in response to any queries you receive.
- Only Vauxhall Zafira B models with manual air conditioning or no air conditioning are affected.
- All customers are receiving a letter from Vauxhall outlining the issue and exactly what they need to do.
- Full information is also available online on the Vauxhall website: http://www.vauxhall.co.uk/zafiracustomeradvice.html, or
- Customers can call us directly on our dedicated Zafira B helpline on 0844 369 0014
- We are inspecting the heating and ventilation system on every Zafira B with manual air conditioning or without air conditioning.
- In addition to the above, affected customers are subsequently receiving a second letter requesting that they contact their local Vauxhall dealership to arrange their inspection. These letters are phased to take account of parts availability and dealer network capacity.
- In the meantime, if an owner has an affected model they should set their fan speed to zero (0) on the heating and ventilation system. If necessary, they should use fan speed four (4) only for the time needed to demist the windscreen and then reset it to zero (0) again. They should follow this advice until their car has been inspected.
- All vehicles will receive a new resistor as part of these inspections.
- We will also check the blower motor performance; the pollen filter and the wiring harness and connectors in the system to make sure all are functioning properly and that there is no damage. If there is, we will replace these parts.
- As a matter of extra caution, we will also install additional water protection below the windscreen scuttle panel to minimise any opportunities for water ingress following improper refitting after removal.
- Inspections and replacement parts will be free of charge.
Please be assured we are doing everything possible to address this situation as quickly as possible and to support customers throughout this process. Customer safety is our priority.