Vauxhall has blamed the Zafira fire crisis on dangerous repairs carried out by unofficial dealers – and issued a full recall of the family car.
The manufacturer has been rocked by a spate of incidents in which the popular people carrier has burst into flames.
Now the firm has traced the problem – which only affects ‘B’ models built between 2009 and 2014 – to improper repair of the thermal fuse of the resistor in the heating and ventilation system.
Both Vauxhall and the Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have acknowledged this is from work done outside of Vauxhall’s “authorised service and maintenance processes and schedule”.
Car magazine Auto Express has seen a number of unauthorised repairs, where mechanics have avoided replacing fuses with bodged repairs. A replacement would cost just £30.
The consequence of the sub-standard repair is potentially very high temperatures which can lead to the fires which have plagued the Zafira B in recent months.
Vauxhall has now contacted the owners of the 234,938 cars and issued a full recall of the model.
Technicians will inspect the heating and ventilation system on each vehicle and, as a precautionary measure, replace the resistor in every vehicle free of charge.
Rory Harvey, chairman of Vauxhall Motors, said: “We recognise that owners may have vehicles which have been improperly repaired without their knowledge or before they bought the vehicle.
“Safety is our priority and we have been working tirelessly in the past weeks to find the root cause and contact owners to explain the situation and our actions.
“The DVSA’s acknowledgement of the root cause is an important milestone but the important thing now is to ensure that all Zafira B owners bring their vehicles in for inspection and rework.”
Vauxhall dealers have so far inspected and repaired more than 45,000 vehicles and hope to have completed the work within the next 12 weeks.
Zafira drivers who are not the first owners of their car have been advised not to use the fan on their heating and ventilation system.
If necessary, they should use fan speed four but only to demist it.
The car firm added it you are the first owner of your Zafira B and your heating and ventilation system is functioning well, and your car has never been subject to any repair in this area, there is no risk of a fire.