Monday 14th December 2015
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After lots of speculation in the media about the cause of Vauxhall Zafira B models catching fire – including our favourite story about dodgy eBay parts being responsible – Vauxhall have explained the cause. Their investigators discovered that “improper repairs of the blower motor resistor and its thermal fuse” (which are designed to protect the blower motor system) lead to an overheating of the system.  They state that poor repairs are to blame, not design faults.  Although Vauxhall have admitted that it’s really hard to prove what caused all the fires as a great deal of evidence was destroyed by flames.

Vauxhall Zafira fire update

Vauxhall have said that they will inspect the heating and ventilation system and replace any necessary parts free of charge. However, as some of these cars are no longer manufactured there may be a problem getting hold of the parts. Vauxhall have recalled 235,000 cars now and apparently 190,000 of these cars still need work doing on them. Actual figures of Vauxhall Zafiras catching fire in the UK have recently been released.  The fire service have confirmed that they dealt with 264 fires involving Zafiras since 2013, this figure excludes acts of arson.  The figures across the UK include:

  • London: 80
  • West Midlands: 38
  • Kent: 24
  • Lancashire: 18
  • Greater Manchester:  14

Vauxhall have reassured owners of the Zafira B that if they are the first owner of the vehicle and the heating and ventilation system is working fine and has never had any repairs there should be no risk of fire.   Otherwise they recommend setting the fan speed to 0 on the heating and ventilation system and fan speed to 4 just to demist the windscreen until the vehicle has been inspected. The Fire Service has also offered advice on what to do if your car catches fire:

  • Switch off the engine and release the bonnet but don’t open it.
  • Leave the vehicle and get any passengers out as well.
  • Call 999 and ask for the fire brigade.
  • Stay away from the car and don’t let anyone near it.  Put up a warning triangle if you have one.
  • Never use water on an engine fire as it could make it worse by spreading burning petrol and shorting out the wiring.
  • Only use dry powder or foam extinguisher if you feel it is safe enough to deal with the fire.  But do not open the bonnet, instead aim the extinguisher under the edge of the bonnet or through the radiator grille.

Reports and pictures of fires starting in gloveboxes and on dashboards and mums dragging children from cars have caused a lot of alarm in the media.  One group of worried mums have set up their own closed Facebook group to raise awareness of the problem.  Sue Freemantle, one of the mums who set up the group said  “I started the group to raise awareness about these car fires after Vauxhall essentially washed their hands of my plight. I’m gobsmacked by how many others have been through what my family have had to endure.” She maintains that neither she nor any of the members of the group are looking for compensation. Vauxhall have stated that the number of fires reported is only a small percentage of the whole number of Vauxhall Zafira B cars and these recently released figures do seem to bear this out. However, as Vauxhall said themselves that any potential danger to anyone is of great importance and needs to be addressed.  We’re glad that they are starting to sort this out now. For more information click here. Have you been affected by the Vauxhall Zafira B fires and what happened?