Opel to recall Irish cars over fire safety

Opel is recalling more than 8,000 cars in Ireland for a second time due to an issue which can cause the car to go on fire.

It recalled thousands of cars in November 2015 after a fire risk was identified in the Zafira B model.

Opel said it was due to the improper repair of the blower motor resistor and its thermal fuse which is designed to protect the blower motor system.

“These improper repairs which may have been conducted without the owners’ knowledge, can lead to overheating of the system’s electrical components and the potential for a fire,” said the company. “Resistors should never be repaired, they should only be replaced.”

Last October, a vehicle was filmed after it burst into flames in Passage West in Cork. The car had been about to board the ferry from Passage West to Cobh when the fire started in the dashboard area.

The driver managed to escape but the front of the vehicle was engulfed in flames and was destroyed.

Reports, at that time in Britain, suggested there had been up to 130 similar incidents affecting a Vauxhall equivalent there.

In the six months since the issue was identified, Opel has been conducting a recall designed to return the cars to their original condition.

It has involved replacing the resistor in every vehicle inspected along with the blower motor and the pollen filter in many thousands of vehicles.

“All of this has been free of charge to the customer,” said the company.

However, the German car giant confirmed, following consultation with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), further remedial works are needed and a second recall has been announced.

“We will therefore be initiating a second recall to replace the current soldered fuse resistor with a wax fuse resistor so reducing the opportunity for manipulation,” said a company statement.

“When the recalls are complete, all vehicles will have a new wax fuse resistor, a new blower motor and a new moulding at the base of the windscreen to address water ingress. Again, this work will be conducted free of charge.”

Opel said it will be writing to customers to advise them of the second recall action from August. Owners of vehicles which have not yet had the initial recall completed should still bring their vehicles to their dealership to have them returned to their original condition.

The recall comes as Opel faces an inquiry in its home country of Germany into claims it uses software in its Zafira and Astra diesel models to manipulate emissions.

The investigation follows an investigation by German magazine Der Spiegel which found tests it carried out on the two models showed they emitted around 11 times the legal limit of noxious nitrogen oxide.

General Motors’ Opel division has admitted its Zafira model has engine software that switches off exhaust treatment systems under certain circumstances but says this is legal.

“We at Opel do not use any illegal software. The German government wants to check this. We will fully support this,” a statement said.


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