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Vauxhall to inspect 240,000 Zafiras over fire risk

Published: 10 December 2015

► Vauxhall contacting 240,000 Zafira B owners
► Fire risk with ‘improper' thermal fuse repair
► Guidance for safety until inspection is carried out

Vauxhall is in the process of contacting 240,000 Zafira B owners in the UK, following reports of fires in some examples of the popular people carrier. Vauxhall says there is ‘clear evidence’ that the conflagrations have been caused by the ‘improper repair’ of the heating and ventilation system fitted in some models.

Owners should look out for a letter headed ‘Zafira B Heater Fan Motor Resistor Action’. Vauxhall will carry out a safety inspection free of charge; similarly any repairs and replacement parts deemed necessary by the safety inspection will be undertaken at no cost to owners.

What’s causing the fires in the Vauxhall Zafira B?

Vauxhall says it is ‘in the process of completing an exhaustive analysis into the root cause of the fires. Our investigations have found clear evidence that the cause is improper repair of the thermal fuse (part of the resistor) in the heating and ventilation system.’

As we understand it, these improper repairs to the fuse prevent the heating system from shutting itself down should it become dangerously hot. Vauxhall intends to replace the resistor in every vehicle it inspects, as it can be difficult to be certain when they have been improperly repaired.

Are any other Vauxhalls at risk?

Not according to the manufacturer. And it is only the Zafira B model in particular – owners of the earlier Zafira A and later Zafira Tourer do not have to worry.

The issue is also limited to Zafira Bs fitted with manual air conditioning; those with electronic climate control (also known as ECC) do not have the same issue as they work in a different way. About 20% of Zafira Bs produced came fitted with ECC – if you’re unsure look for the button marked ‘Auto’ on the top left of the unit. Cars with this button are not at risk.

What’s Vauxhall’s advice for Zafira B owners?

Vauxhall says if you’ve owned the car since new, and are absolutely certain that you have never had a repair to the heating and ventilation system of any kind, then ‘there is no risk of fire.’ Carry on as normal.

However, if you’re not the first owner, have had repairs in this area, or do not know whether there have been repairs in this area, then Vauxhall has issued the following advice:

‘You should set your fan speed to zero (0). If necessary you should use fan speed (4) only for the time needed to demist the windscreen. Please continue to follow this advice until your vehicle has been inspected.’

For more information see the Zafira Customer Advice page on the Vauxhall website.

By CJ Hubbard

Former CAR magazine associate editor, road tester, organiser, extremely variable average wheel count

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