Repeated warning lights

The consumer’s issue:

“I bought a 12-plate premium hatchback in April 2018, and in April 2021, the engine warning and servicing lights illuminated on the dashboard, even though the car had just been serviced.

I therefore went to the garage to have my car fixed, and I was told that there was a number of issues that needed to be rectified, and I agreed for the repairs to be done. I collected the vehicle from the business after a week, but after driving for 30 minutes, the same problem happened – the two warning lights came on. I therefore took the vehicle back to them, and after another two weeks, I was told I could return to pick my car up.

This time, after driving for 45 minutes, the lights re-appeared, and my car started losing power and shaking on the motorway. I went back to the garage for a third time, and after paying £3,000 up until this point, with no solution, the business recommended that I sought a second opinion from a franchise dealership. Their diagnostics revealed that there was a failure by the garage, as they had not replaced a sensor on the vehicle when they said they had. I therefore took the car back to the garage to have the sensor replaced, but the engine and service light illuminated again.

Due to the failure of the garage to use reasonable skill and care when conducting repairs on my vehicle, I am seeking a full refund of the repair costs as a remedy to my complaint.”

The accredited business’ response:

  • We can confirm that we initially requested that the consumer visited the main dealer, and offered to pay for the diagnostics after the repairs had been carried out.
  • The consumer then called us in response to this, and initially refused to visit the dealership for a second opinion.
  • To help maintain a positive relationship, we offered the consumer a goodwill gesture of £200 worth of vouchers in settlement of their complaint but without an admission of liability. Unfortunately, we never received a response.
  • The dealership did provide a report and video regarding the issue, but this did not support the claim the customer was making against us.
  • In summary, the problem that the vehicle came to our centre for, had been fixed. Sadly, a different warning light then illuminated and, according to the dealer report that the customer supplied, there was a software update that needed to be applied to the vehicle. Therefore, in our view, this is not related to anything that we have or have not done.

The adjudication outcome:

  • The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator said that the burden of proof was on the consumer to show that the garage had failed to use reasonable skill and care when carrying out repairs on their vehicle.
  • The consumer relied upon what they stated on their complaint form as their evidence that the garage had not completed the repair with reasonable skill and care.
  • There was a reference to a report compiled by the dealership which explained that the sensor the garage had claimed that they had rectified was in fact not fixed. However, the adjudicator noted that the component had been repaired, and that there was no documentation to show that the consumer had experienced direct consequential loss owing to this work.
  • In response, the garage said that they had already repaired the consumer’s vehicle, and that a different warning light had illuminated, which was unrelated to what they had conducted work on.
  • As the adjudicator could not identify any independent technical evidence on file, or any other documented evidence to support the conclusion that the garage had failed to use reasonable skill and care when carrying out repairs, or that they had not followed a reasonable diagnostic pathway, the complaint could not be upheld in the consumer’s favour.


  • Both parties accepted the adjudication outcome, and the case was closed.