234,000 Vauxhall Zafiras recalled after reports cars are bursting into flames

MORE THAN 234,000 Vauxhall Zafiras will be recalled for the second time over a problem that has seen the cars burst into flames.

Vauxhall Zafira on fire in south west London in November last year. Picture: PA

Vauxhall took the decision despite a first recall in December 2015 to correct the issue, which the manufacturer said was caused by improper repairs to the people carrier’s blower motor resistor.

Described by the car maker as “preventative action”, the latest recall will involve “improving the overall robustness of the system” as opposed to simply replacing the resistor and its fuse, which the firm started doing last year.

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In December Vauxhall wrote to all 234,938 Zafira B owners regarding the problem.

A Vauxhall Zafira. Picture: PA

It said improper repairs of the blower motor resistor and its thermal fuse, which is designed to protect the blower motor system, could lead to overheating of the system’s electrical components and the potential for a fire.

Latest figures from London Fire Brigade (LFB) show it has attended 120 Zafira fires since 2013, including 14 this year.

That compares with just 56 between 2009 and 2012.

The figures do not include arson attacks.

A Vauxhall Zafira. Picture: PA

Announcing the new recall yesterday, a Vauxhall spokesman said: “While the current action achieves the objective of returning vehicles to their original condition, after extensive investigations we have decided to go further and improve the overall robustness of the system.

“We will therefore be initiating a second recall to replace the current soldered fuse resistor with a wax fuse resistor.”

Both recalls are free for car owners and the company will be writing to customers soon with information.

Letters inviting them into dealerships for the second recall are expected to go out in August. Drivers who have not yet had the work from the first recall completed should still take their cars to dealerships, Vauxhall said.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, welcomed Vauxhall’s latest attempt to try to solve the problem, but added: “Why has it taken so long? Scores of cars have gone up in flames and some were igniting even after the initial recall and refit.”

Jacqueline Young, head of group litigation at Slater and Gordon which has been representing Zafira owners who have suffered fires, said: “At best, Vauxhall has been woefully incompetent.

“At worst, they have sought to conceal a potentially life-endangering technical fault.”