Vauxhall Zafira (2005–2014)

What's good

5 Star NCAP occupant crash safety rating.

20-9-2018: Report by reader who got 461,000 miles out of his Vauxhall Zafira A with few problems of subsequently getting 471,000 miles out of a Zafira B similarly successfully.

What to watch out for

Underslung spare wheel still easily stolen. No standard fit additional security.

Some build quality issues emerging even in delivery, such as inoperative offside dipped headlight beam (which causes other problems), misaligned steering wheel and squeaking drivers seat.

Poor parking brakes.

Reports of problems with EGR valve and particulate filter of 150PS diesel after prolonged slow running in traffic. On 1.9 CDTI if the engine smokes or the car suddenly loses power, the secondary butterflies of the swirl actuator valve may have sooted up and seized. Possible to clean but this does not guarantee it won't happen again. Really requires the inlet manifold to be changed as the part where the actuator connects to jams and does not let the butterflies open. Job can take six hours as the fuel pump and cam belt have to be removed to get at it. A coincidental fault is sooting up of the EGR valve.


Standard complaint, "My 07 Zafira CDTi is actually a very fine car - except for one big problem which is damaging to the very urban-travel families the car is aimed at. I live in an city area - but Vauxhall, to "comply" with EU Emissions, have fitted this car with a diesel filter which demands you should take it onto a motorway every week or two and trash it for 20 minutes without going below 50 / 60 mph to clear a DPF (particle filter). So I have to make several totally unnecessary motorway drives just to keep the car going." FROM 2008 A VAUXHALL DEALER SOFTWARE DOWNLOAD APPARENTLY CURES THIS PROBLEM.

On 1.9CDTI, timing belt drives waterpump and waterpump failure can fling it off in as little as 40k miles, wrecking the engine. By December 2008 this was becoming increasingly common at about 4 years old and circa 50k - 60k miles. So engines need new belts, tensioners, pulleys and waterpumps before 4 years old or 50k miles.

Some radios seem to fail to switch off or switch themselves back on again, draining the car's battery. Same problem as MINIs had in 2003.

Tailgate switch also fails, this is common on Vectra C and Zafira B.

One report of repeated Dual Mass Flywheel failures on a 1.9CDTI. Clutch judder common on both petrol and diesel manuals. May be DMF trouble. By July 2008 an admitted problem on pre-June 2007 production and clutches and flywheels being replaced under warranty. GM introduced modified clutch/flywheel components to production in around mid 2007 some 2-3 months after my Zafira was built. Models affected by the change are apparently Astra H/ Zafira B with 1.6 and 1.8 litre petrol engines.

Diesel autos vulnerable to failure of heat exchanger in radiator admitting coolant to the ATF and wrecking the transmission. On cars just out of warranty Vauxhall will usually contribute 40%. Also a design/manufacturing problem with 6-speed auto: an internal overflow pipe was too short which leads to the gearbox not being properly filled with fluid and subsequent result of jerky changes and eventual total failure.

Outbreak of fuel injection pump failures on 2.2 direct injection petrol engines in autumn 2008 coupled with shortage of replacement parts. Pressure sensor and injection pump fail, both made by Siemens. 3 weeks wait for the part as apparently there has been a huge run on them. Pump is £315. Total cost of repair typically £545. Later featured on BBC Watchdog 12-1-2008. ECU fault code does not identify if problem is fuel pump (leaking seal) or pressure regulator (sticking valve).

2.2i petrol engines also need an oil and filter change at least every 12 months or 10k miles (whichever comes first) and preferably more frequently as then oil feed to the timing chain tensioner cans still get blocked by contaminants, leading to failure and the chain jumping sprockets and destroying the engine.

24-8-2010: First news that Zafiras can also suffer ESP pressure sensor fault in Teves Mk 60 ABS/ESP modules. Shows up on diagnosis as fault code C0131 - Pressure Sensor not Calibrated. www.ecutesting.com does a repair kit for around £350, www.sinspeed.co.uk does a fix for £225 inc.

1.9 diesels can be good to drive, but give a lot of problems:

Failed inlet manifold swirl flaps (and the flaps can beak and be ingested by the engine).

Failed EGRs (£350)

Choked DPFs (£1,300)

Failed timing belts, often because the waterpump seized. Belt, tensioner, pulleys and waterpump need replacing every 40,000 miles. More info about 1.9CDTI timing belt failures here: 1.9CDTI Timing Belt Failures

Failed oil pumps.

Failed alternators (see below).

Failed dual mass flywheels.

Failed turbos.

Reported on BBC Watchdog 22-4-2010: On 2005-2007 Zafiras, horns seem to fail when headlights are on. Vauxhall offers a free fix.

On torque converter automatics the joints of the heat exchanger in the radiator header tank can fail, admitting coolant to the automatic transmission fluid and wrecking the transmission. £4,000 replacement job.

Can suffer problems with door locking because wiring rubs against the rear door damaging the loom.

7-6-2011: Short run use likely to result in alternator failure after around 5 years and around 20,000 miles.

5-12-2011: One report of failed 6-speed automatic transmission on 2008 Zafira CDTI auto just 2.5 months out of warranty and with just 30,000 miles. Vauxhall offered to pay 50% of £4,600 replacement cost.

4-1-2012: Poor mpg and Diesel Particulate Filter problems reported from Zafira 1.7CDTI sometimes used for short suburban runs, but averaging 12,000 miles a year.

19-1-2012: Seems to be a fairly general rust problem. See: Zafira Rust Thread

23-3-2012: On 4 year oldf 2008 Zafira 2.2 fuel pump and regulator replaced 7 times (apparently a known fault). TSB to replace regulator. See above.

27-3-2012: Throttle position sensors on 1.8i petrol engines can fail after 7 years or so.

5-1-2013: Report of broken planetary gear of 2005 1.8i petrol manual penetrating the transmission sump.

13-1-2013: On 1.9 diesel engine, absolutely crucial to change the waterpump at the same time as the timing belt otherwise the tension of the new belt can wear its bearing very rapidly, leading to seizure and throwing off of the belt, though not necessarily valves hitting pistons.

29-5-2013: Failure reported of 1.8i Easytronic. Quoted £1,000 for new clutch + £1,000 for new ECU.

2-11-2013: More manual transmissions seem to be failing from around 4 years old. Vauxhall has offered to pay up to 80% of parts cost, but not labour to replace them.

2-4-2014: Waterpump of 2008 Zafira 1.9 CDTI 150 seized, flinging off timing belt and wrecking engine.

12-5-2014: Four reports of mirror glasses falling out of two 56/57 reg Astras and two 56/57 reg Zafiras, all owned by the same family, but kept in different places and doing different mileages.

5-9-2014: Where fitted, Xenon headlights are prone to failure and are extremely expensive to replace (£1,400) so best avoided when buying 2nd hand.

30-9-2014: Report of gearbox bearing whine on 35ki mile 2011 Zafira 1.7 CDTI 6-speed manual. Apparently common.

19-4-2015: 2009 Zafira 1.9 diesel pretty much fell to bits at 73k miles. First the turbo failed, then the little ends failed necessitating a new engine, then, 20 miles after the engine was replaced the transmission failed.

4-6-2015: DPF of 2007 Zafira 1.9CDTI failed and was replaced with an aftermarket DPF not compatible with the engine's active regeneration system.

9-8-2015: Notified of fire in a Vauxhall Zafira B: " His wife merely placed an adaptor for a child's toy into the cigar lighter, the result of which caused the car to catch fire and burn out within minutes." May indicate that the accessories socket was overloaded. email from: amac260@aol.com.

30-8-2015: Tale of woe of 2007 Vauxhall Zafira CDTI SRI auto bought in November 2013 from a Vauxhall dealer: Buyer " had a long chat with them about what (she) needed the car for and the type of driving (she) would be doing (running kids around, hospital app's etc). At the time there was also a petrol version available and they told (her she) would be better off with the diesel. "The car is on HP on a 4 year term. She since spent £3,000 plus on repairs although some has been covered by the warranty. The dealer had put a new battery on just before (she) bought it. When it died a few months ago it was apparent to the Greenflag mechanic that it was the wrong battery for the car. It was far to small. The alternator died and that was a reconditioned one that (she) wasn't aware of. They put budget tyres on which failed within 3 months. Brakes which failed shortly after. Last week (she) forked out £888 for a new DPF and EGR valve and now (she is) looking at another repair as (she) has smoke coming from the exhaust.

22-10-2015: Possible recall announced by Vauxhall on BBC radio after a number of fires in Zafiras that may/many not have been due to overloading of the accessories power socket, or leaving appliances attached, or may be due to a fault with the heater/ventilator motor relay.

29-10-2015: Another cause of wiring fires in Zafira Bs identified as choked pollen filters creating a blockage in the ventilation system that prevents the fan spinning and causes the motor resistor to overheat. Most car owners are unaware that pollen filters need to be routinely replaced every year. Other possibilities are water getting into the heater fan motor due to blocked bulkhead vent well drains, or faults with the heater switch. Fuses blowing on Zafira heaters are quite common, so a quick fix might have been a higher capacity fuse that then led to the resistor overloading and catching fire.

Edited from an advice site: "When the heater blower will only work on position 4 the reason is nearly always that the thermal fuse of the blower resistor has blown. If the pollen filter gets clogged or sogged with rainwater, less air flows through, so the thermal fuse can blow. Access is gained by removing the glove box and separating the resistor pack from the pollen filter housing. The resistor pack has a copper strip/flat spring which is likely to have sprung apart as the solder joint melted and the copper strip sprung away. People haver been replacing this by buying a 152 degree C thermal fuse from Maplins for about 80p and soldering in." Obviously, if a higher capacity fuse is fitted, or the spring is soldered solid, it can't spring apart to protect the wiring and the wiring can catch fire.

14-11-2015: Zafira B problem now checked as mostly due to the scuttle shield under the windscreen not being replaced properly after a windscreen replacement. This allows rainwater to drip between the base of the screen ad the shuttle shield into the heater motor. If the heater then only works on 4 setting, the common bodge is to bridge the resistor control for the heater fan, leading to overheating less than an inch from the pollen filter that may not been changed for years and may be tinder dry. To capture all owners, many of whom have not seen a Vauxhall dealer for 6 - 8 years, there will be a full DVLA recall, but a parts shortage of the correct replacement resistor may mean that some cars cannot be repaired until 2016.

21-12-2015: Letters now going out to Zafira keepers in batches outlining the two fixes for the heater resistor fire problem: Work involves putting a label on the heatefr fan wiring warning not to bridge the resistor or otherwise interfere with it and fitting a redesigned scuttle plate to stop water reaching the heater fan and pollen filter after the windscreen has been replaced.

21-4-2016: Timing chain failure reported on 2005 Zafira B 2.2 z22yh at 76,000 miles. Chain tensioner had broken, timing was way off and tensioner bolt was sheared in the engine, resulting in a new engine for £6000+. Unless used replacement engine can be found the car is an economic write off.

19-5-2016: Second stage fix announced for 2005 - 2010 Zafira Bs to replace heater fan motor resistor with a tamper-proof was resistor that cannot be easily bridged.=

20-5-2016: 55k mile 2008 Zafira petrol noisy on initial start up. Vauxhall dealer diagnosed fault on inlet manifold and suspecected that internal swirl flaps had collapsed and possible engine damage. At very least car needs: Intake manifold; Pipe; Bracket; Wiring; Dis pack; Spark plugs needing3.5 hours labour, estimated cost £2,500, but £1,000 might be covered by warranty. Problem is that if any bits of the swirl flaps were ingested there could be further damage to piston rings and bores.

22-12-2016: Report of 2010 Zafira B 1.9 150 diesel automatic losing coolant. Heater not working, expansion tank empty, no warning light, oil clean, filler cap clean, not froth, no external sign of a leak. Suspects fractured transmission oil cooler in the radiator leaking coolant into the transmission.

12-2-2017: Report of just 23mpg from 2010 Zafira 1.9CDTI automatic.

8-11-2019: Report of 2007 Vauxhall Zafira B booked in for heater motor wiring recall, but work was not carried out because the wiring had been interfered with. Works sheet said "Unable to carry out recall as parking sensors wired into harness - this will need to be rectified before can complete recall".

12-2-2020: Report of oil level increasing in engine of 2007 Vauxhall Zafira 1.9CDTI. The usual reason is that diesel post-injected into the engine to fire off active regeneration of the diesel particulate filter is not firing off regeneration and is instead sinking into the sump, raising its level.

Recalls

17-11-2005: R/2005/137: VAUXHALL ZAFIRA B: incorrect torque applied to trailer hitch fitting boltsVIN 00000000052015830 to 00000000062010564

17-11-2005: R/2005/137: VAUXHALL ZAFIRA B: incorrect torque applied to trailer hitch fitting bolts VIN 0000000006G000039 to 0000000006G004231

5-11-2015: 220,000 Vauxhall Zafira Bs recalled on Bonfire Night to check for risk of fire. (Not a hoax.) See previous page.

21-12-2015: Recall letters now going out to Zafira keepers in batches outlining the two fixes for the heater resistor fire problem: Work involves putting a label on the heatefr fan wiring warning not to bridge the resistor or otherwise interfere with it and fitting a redesigned scuttle plate to stop water reaching the heater fan and pollen filter after the windscreen has been replaced.

19-7-2016: 2nd phase of Vauxhall Zafira B recall to commence in August 2016 to replace the standard soldered heater motor resistor fuse with an anti-tamper wax fuse resistor, reducing the opportunity for owners to bridge it and cause a wiring fire if the heater fan motor overheats. Further work includes a new heater fan motor and a new moulding at the base of the windscreen to prevent water ingress to the blower motor. All owners will be contacted via the DVSA recalls system with work scheduled to begin from the first week of August 2016.

19-11-2018: Vauxhall Zafira Bs with Climate Control now also recalled because same resistor bodge as used on non-climate control Zafira Bs can cause a similar wiring fire.

29-05-2019: R/2019/082: Movement of the wiring harness connector to the fan speed resistor can in rare circumstances lead to electrical stress. Affects models between November 2004 and November 2014.

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