This is a post I hoped I wouldn’t have to write and if you have been following my blog in the last week you will know what is coming.
Last week, on Wednesday 30th March my Citroen C4 Grand Picasso broke down on the busy A30 en route to Cornwall on holiday. Panic ensued as I didn’t realise my roadside cover didn’t cover me sufficiently and after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing and £260 I finally got home on board a huge recovery truck.
I was on my own with my three youngest children when it happened and was thankful that we were safe, despite missing our holiday and hopeful that Citroen would have my car repaired and back on the road quickly as we had purchased a 36 month extended warranty when we bought the car two years ago from Penton Motor Group, whom was garage we knew and trusted as we have had 4 cars from them in the past.
On Friday early afternoon I got the phone call to say that my car was a write-off and needed a whole new engine. I mentioned in my last post that I was concerned about the conversation and I wrote it all down straight away.
The first thing that Penton Motor Group said to me was “Your car is a write off Madam, we will give you £100 for it as it stands as a trade in”
No information about what was wrong!
They then went on to say that the car was only worth £4,000 if I had traded it in whilst working and that the work required a new engine which would cost £6,000.
The fault, they say, was caused by a faulty injector which was chaffing, putting carbon into the engine and causing it to seize. It also had a blocked oil sump that caused the turbo to fail.
I have spoken to a trusted friend and mechanic, trained as an expert technician with another French car company, that this is the equivalent of being told “your boiler broke down because your tap was leaking”. He also said it makes an awful racket if my car had been doing this and I would have noticed – we drove to London Zoo and back the day previously and my car was fine.
Obviously I was really upset but was still sure that we had purchased an expensive warranty for the car and it would be covered, either fixed or written off to the value of what it was worth.
Yesterday I got the phone call I was dreading, my car wasn’t covered by warranty.
I asked Penton Motor Group to spell out the reason to me what went wrong, and after speaking to the garage where I last had it serviced who challenged them, changed it slightly.
Now I had 2 injectors chaffing which put carbon into the engine; flame washer was worn and failed; blocked oil strainer at the sump; washer worn and failed.
They are focusing on the injectors though as upon reading the warranty small print, it does not cover any “carbonisation issues”.
As you can imagine we are devastated. We spent just over £9,000 on a car just two years and two months ago which we had saved long and hard for. A car that I need for my work as a childminder and a blogger as well as ferrying the family around.
I phoned Citroen themselves and much as they were sympathetic, they wouldn’t do anything about it as it was outside of their three years manufacturer warranty and apparently “these things happen”.
They are right – these things do happen and very frequently by all accounts. Posting on my personal facebook page and I have been inundated with people this has happened to. My 1.6L HDI engine that is also used in Ford and Peugeot vehicles is renowned for the turbo failing, which I am certain is the real reason my engine seized. Everyone I have spoken to from the three recovery drivers, to mechanics, to the scrap dealers and joe public all say the same.
I put it to Citroen and Penton Motor Group that we bought our car in good faith, upon their recommendation with an extended 3 year warranty. A diesel engine failing at 50,000 miles is NOT good enough. My car was a danger to me and my passengers and NOT fit for purpose. My 3 year warranty is not worth the paper it is written on and therefore mis-sold!
Our car was serviced at regular intervals, Penton MOT’d at the end of September and upon their recommendation I had new brakes and bearings fitted at a significant cost, by them, surely they would have noticed if my engine was making a funny noise.
I want to know how common this issue is as something needs to be done about these engines. A car is probably the second most expensive purchase you will make after a house and should last well beyond 50,000 miles.
I have reported this issue to Motorcodes upon advice from Elaine from A Hint of White whom had exactly the same problem last year with her new and under warranty Citroen C4 Grand Picasso and who is still fighting to claim on her warranty.
Our family has lost its lifeline, we cannot afford a new (or new to us) car. Luckily we still have Hubby’s car, but he needs it for work and we cannot physically fit the family in it as it fits in two car seats in the back at best.
Has this happened to you?