Cabin exhaust smell

The consumer’s issue:

“I purchased a used 18-plate estate in November 2018. Within just over three-years of ownership whilst the car was under warranty, I took the car back to the business three times because an exhaust smell was inside the cabin. However, on every occasion the car was returned to me, no fault was found.

When the car was out of warranty at just under four years old, and after covering 63,000 miles, the smell became much worse and a fluttering noise developed when accelerating. I contacted the dealership immediately and pointed out that they had looked at the car three times before, and the manufacturer offered to pay 75% of the cost of the repair.

However, I chose not to accept this initially, because agreeing to pay 25% of the cost, I was accepting 25% of the responsibility, but I did pay the sum of £185.65 in the end. Had the technicians acted with competence and diligence on any one of those occasions, my car would not have been damaged.

As a resolution to my complaint, I would like the manufacturer to reimburse me in full for the work, as I believe that this issue should have been resolved much sooner.”

The accredited business’ response:

  • We have spoken to the repairing retailer, and we were informed that the consumer drove their vehicle to them in low power mode and complained of excessive fumes.
  • The business identified the fault with the EGR transfer pipe. Due to excessive heat build-up, this had melted a connector and the harness to a power pulse pipe.
  • According to the retailer, this was not an immediate failure of the part and had been there a while. This was evident, as there was an excessive build-up of soot around the area.
  • Our warranty on the vehicle had expired, meaning that we were no longer liable for any repair costs.
  • However, as a goodwill request was submitted by the retailer, we agreed to pay 75% if the repair bill, leaving the customer to pay for the remainder.
  • The vehicle was also subject to a recall in 2020, which was the last time it had been serviced within our franchise network.

The adjudication outcome:

  •   The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator explained the manufacturer was only responsible for failures that occurred within the warranty period.
  • They also addressed the fact that the vehicle was last serviced within the retailer network in 2020, but was serviced outside of the franchise network after this.
  • Nevertheless, the manufacturer agreed to cover 75% of the cost of the repair even though the vehicle was out of warranty.
  • Under the New Code, a manufacturer has no obligation to contribute towards the cost of any repairs, once a vehicle is beyond its warranty period.
  • Therefore, the goodwill gesture was considered to be fair and reasonable by the adjudicator, when taking into account all of the facts of the case.


  • The business agreed with the adjudication outcome, but the consumer rejected the findings and decided to pursue their claim elsewhere. The case was then closed.