The consumer’s issue:
“In April 2019, my ’16-plate compact SUV was less than three years old and had completed around 25,000 miles when there was engine judder when engaging the latter part of the clutch. The clutch and flywheel then failed when I was reversing. The manufacturer advised this was user error, and would therefore not cover the cost of the repair under warranty. I have since paid £2,300 for these components to be replaced, as I needed to use my vehicle.
Interestingly, when the clutch was changed, it did not fix the issue, as the flywheel was also not working. The flywheel was then replaced, and it still did not fix the juddering, as the repairing dealership that had completed the work (a different one to the seller), stated that they had been provided with faulty parts from the manufacturer. They then fitted a second new clutch and flywheel set, which resolved the matter.
To conclude this dispute, I am looking for the manufacturer to cover the cost of the repair under the warranty, and to be refunded the £2,300 I previously paid to get my car back on the road.”
The accredited business’ response:
- A technical report on the clutch juddering was submitted to our Master Technicians by the dealership repairing the consumer’s car.
- The Master Technicians confirmed that, based on the evidence provided, the damage to the clutch and flywheel was due to customer usage.
- The heat spots found on the flywheel and pressure plate were caused by slippage, which is the result of driving style and not a manufacturing defect. The repair could therefore not be covered under the terms of the warranty.
- We accept that the initial replacement parts were faulty, and a warranty claim was accepted to have the clutch and flywheel replaced a second time.
- We will therefore not be contributing towards the cost of the initial repair paid by the customer.
The adjudication outcome:
- The adjudicator reviewed the evidence and found that the business had not breached the Motor Ombudsman’s Motor Industry Code of Practice for New Cars
- They highlighted the fact that the onus was on the consumer to show that the damage to the vehicle’s clutch and flywheel was caused by a manufacturing defect.
- It was also reiterated that clutches and flywheels are components that are susceptible to wear and tear, and therefore it was important for the consumer to demonstrate that a manufacturing defect was present.
- The adjudicator concluded that no technical evidence was provided to show these issues resulted from a manufacturing defect, and was not due to wear and tear.
- For these reasons, this complaint was not upheld by the adjudicator, and the consumer was invited to submit technical evidence to have their case re-assessed.
- Neither party disputed the outcome delivered by the adjudicator, and the case was closed.