Spring fever

My wife and children travelled from Suffolk to Dorset 2 weeks ago in our 3 year old Vauxhall Vectra 2.0l diesel estate. In a car park in Lyme Regis, she heard a loud bang and suddenly the front passenger corner of the car dropped onto the tyre and the car was undrivable. Two days prior to this she had been driving on the M25 and M3 in snowy conditions with my two young children. I will not let myself think what could have happened had the incident occurred at this time. The car was transported back to Drive Vauxhall in Bury St Edmunds. We were told by workshop staff that a suspension spring had snapped. The car was just out of warranty. We had it serviced 4 weeks previously. We spend a great deal of time being passed along the Vauxhall complaints procedure only to be told that the spring had been corroded, therefore weakening it and this was not something checked in a routine service. Vauxhall was not prepared to give us any compensation for the incident and the cars subsequent repair. The local garage offered to give us 15% off the repair bill. My wife spoke with the very helpful local staff and was shown the spring in question. They promised to check the 2 rear springs after replacing the front 2 prior to returning the car to us. We were called today and informed that the 2 rear springs were corroded also and advised to have them replaced at a cost of £250 on top of the £500 plus for the front end problems. I find it beyond belief that Vauxhall are prepared to accept as a normal occurrence that all 4 suspension springs in a 3 year old car corrode to the point that one fails, potentially killing my family. We have written to Bill Parfait, Managing Director of Vauxhall UK, but as yet have had no reply. Surely this is a major safety issue and not only should we receive an apology and financial recompense The suspension spring system itself should be reviewed to prevent further incidents.

Asked on 3 January 2009 by

Answered by Honest John
Don't whinge to me about what could have happened to your wife and children. It didn’t. Stick to the facts. The spring broke for the same reasons that hundreds of thousands of European made springs fail every year, and is something I have been campaigning about for years. As a cost cutting, the ends are not properly ‘pigtailed’, flattened or tapered to resist corrosion, so they can seriously weaken after 3 years and are usually snapped by speed humps. VOSA won’t do anything about it, so complain to the council that installed the speed humps that finally fractured her inferior European made spring.
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