Clutch repair claim

The consumer’s issue:

“I purchased a used 18-plate SUV in January 2020, and within 48 hours of buying the car, the tyre warning light illuminated. I therefore drove the vehicle back to the dealership, and they offered to inspect it within a maximum period of 10 days. However, no courtesy vehicle was provided in the meantime.

Following their investigation, they informed me that the clutch was burnt out causing tyre damage, and that it needed to be replaced. They also said that the fault was due to the way I had driven the car. The vehicle had to be taken to the dealership on four separate occasions to have the problem fixed, meaning that we were without it for four months during the first year of ownership.

I submitted a claim under my warranty to the manufacturer, but as this issue was classed as wear and tear, it could not be covered. As a gesture of goodwill, the manufacturer offered to pay for the disc and clutch wheel cover, and the dealership reduced the cost of the repair from £2,800 to £2,050. Ideally, I would have liked a 50/50 split, or for the full cost of the repair to be refunded, but this proposal was refused.”

The accredited business’ response:

  • Under the terms of our warranty, we are liable for the repair or replacement of genuine parts that are defective in material and workmanship.
  • Upon further contact with the dealership, we were advised that the clutch was burnt out, and that parts of the clutch were blue as a result of overheating, which is normally a result of the driver riding the clutch.
  • As these are signs of wear and tear, the repair could not be covered under our warranty.
  • The customer was unhappy with this decision, as the mileage on the car was relatively low. They were also not the first owner of the vehicle, so we were unable to ascertain how the vehicle was driven prior to them taking ownership of it.
  • We offered to pay for the clutch disc and the wheel cover as a gesture of goodwill, but this was declined.

The adjudication outcome:

  • The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator informed the customer that they had the burden of demonstrating that the cause of the defect was covered under the warranty.
  • The adjudicator reviewed the complaint, and informed the consumer that clutch components are subjected to heavy wear and tear, and are therefore excluded from warranty coverage.
  • Furthermore, as confirmed by the dealership, due to the visible signs of overheating, the likely cause of the damage was the result of an external influence.
  • The customer had also not provided any evidence, such as a technical report, to substantiate their claim that the issue came from a manufacturing defect, and was not related to external influence.
  •  Therefore, it was found that the business had not breached the New Car Code, and the complaint was not upheld in the consumer’s favour.


  • The business agreed with the adjudication outcome, and although the consumer did not agree, they were happy to accept the initial offer presented by the manufacturer to pay for the cost of the disc and clutch wheel cover.
  • The business abided by their goodwill offer, as directed, and the case was closed.