Watchdog: Astra disaster as VXR has six months of woe

Engine failure and gearbox and differential issues cause reader to give up on hot hatch

Buying a used car always carries a risk, but when you’re purchasing from a main dealer, you don’t expect to have to deal with a list of repairs immediately.

Unfortunately for reader Nicholas Caughey, from Comber, County Down, that was exactly the position he found himself in with his one-year-old Vauxhall Astra VXR.

“I bought the car from a Vauxhall dealer, but shortly after I noticed oil splatters and the odd puff of smoke when driving,” said Nicholas. He contacted his dealer for advice, and was told to keep an eye on the levels, but after having to top up oil every 250 miles, decided to take his car back. “I was then told the turbo had blown and I would need a new one,” Nicholas told us.

The new turbo took longer than expected to replace due to the garage forgetting to order all of the parts, and this left Nicholas without a car for weeks. After finally receiving the VXR back, he soon realised the problem was still far from solved. “The smoke was coming out of the car worse than ever,” he complained.

The fault was then diagnosed as an engine failure, and Nicholas was told a new one would have to be fitted – but first the engine control unit was sent to Vauxhall for analysis. After more than 17 weeks a new engine was finally fitted, but the problems failed to disappear with the Astra continuing to make a terrible noise while driving. A further assessment pointed towards gearbox and differential issues.

At this point, Nicholas contacted Carbuyer’s sister site Auto Express for help, saying: “It’s been a torrid six months, and I want the car replaced.” We got in touch with Vauxhall, which told us a field engineer had been sent to inspect the car. The field engineer found even more problems with the car, but even so Nicholas was told he couldn’t replace it.

Eventually, Nicholas got his dealer to agree to take back the car, but still had to pay £650 in finance payments. He said: “I’m glad I got rid of the car. I’ve purchased a 15-year-old Rover which I’m driving until my new car arrives later this year. Thank you for your help.”

Vauxhall declined to comment further on the case when contacted.

Recommended

Vauxhall Frontera to return after 20 years – as an electric SUV
Vauxhall Frontera teaser
News
24 Jan 2024

Vauxhall Frontera to return after 20 years – as an electric SUV

Vauxhall Mokka Electric SUV review
Vauxhall Mokka-e driving - front
In-depth reviews
16 Oct 2023

Vauxhall Mokka Electric SUV review

New Vauxhall Insignia will have striking SUV design
New Vauxhall Insignia Render
News
9 Mar 2023

New Vauxhall Insignia will have striking SUV design

Most Popular

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
1 Mar 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers

Hot car deal: quirky Nissan Juke hybrid for £172 a month
Nissan Juke dynamic
Deals
26 Feb 2024

Hot car deal: quirky Nissan Juke hybrid for £172 a month

10 smallest cars on sale 2024
smallest cars on sale
Best cars
28 Feb 2024

10 smallest cars on sale 2024

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
19 Dec 2023

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
12 Apr 2023

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
The best electric cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024