Vaux­hall In­signia

Part eleven: Just when you thought it was safe to get in the In­signia... dis­as­ter strikes again and the In­signia is rear-ended.

Car Mechanics (UK) - - Contents -

Our In­signia has gen­er­ated a mix­ture of opin­ions on so­cial me­dia, which can be di­vided into two cat­e­gories: those who think we should have thrown in the towel months ago and those who ad­mired our de­ter­mi­na­tion to keep go­ing. Last month, we cer­tainly proved our tena­cious­ness when the camshaft split in two and the crank­shaft tim­ing cog was found to be worn. Thanks to me­chanic Dan Smith of MJ Mo­tors, the ve­hi­cle was back on the road once more. A cou­ple of weeks later, Dan was trav­el­ling along a wet mo­tor­way with his fam­ily on board when an­other ve­hi­cle drove into the back of the In­signia.

A 2012 Kia Cee’d hit the rear of the In­signia and ap­peared to come off worst, with dam­age to its bumper, wings, bonnet and front grille. As for the In­signia, the im­pact had added some marks to the rear bumper, dis­torted the me­tal pro­tec­tor panel along the top of the bumper, knocked off the re­flec­tors and lower valance, and mis­aligned the tail­gate. Look­ing in­side the bumper, the alu­minium crash beam had ef­fec­tively ab­sorbed the im­pact.

Our In­signia could still be driven as there was no vis­i­ble dam­age be­yond the crash beam and rear bumper, and while the rear valance had to be taken home in the boot of the ve­hi­cle, the rear bumper and all other as­so­ci­ated pan­els re­mained se­curely fit­ted. We were, how­ever, con­cerned that the cost of the re­pairs would write-off the ve­hi­cle.

The end of the road?

Had I re­versed into a brick wall and done this level of dam­age, I would have re­fit­ted the valance with some new mounts, re­aligned the tail­gate, sourced a sec­ond­hand crash beam, fit­ted some new re­flec­tors and lived with the dam­age to the rear bumper. But, be­cause some­one else has caused the dam­age, I couldn’t help feel­ing I ought to have the ve­hi­cle re­paired prop­erly. Af­ter all, the In­signia is of­fi­cially the prop­erty of

Car Me­chan­ics mag­a­zine and it played no part in the ac­ci­dent.

A list of new parts was sent to our lo­cal Vaux­hall deal­er­ship and a quote was emailed back the same day. The prices were rea­son­able, but quickly added up to more than £1000, with the most ex­pen­sive item be­ing a bare rear bumper at £490. The im­pact beam cost £165. We con­tacted our lo­cal bodyshop, which es­ti­mated that the cost of paint­ing the rear bumper and fit­ting all the parts would mean the fi­nal bill would come to around £2000.

Fear­ing our In­signia was go­ing to be writ­ten-off, we pre­sented our fig­ures to the rel­e­vant in­sur­ance com­pa­nies and awaited their re­sponse. They came back with a rea­son­able and prac­ti­cal of­fer of £1520 if we wanted to keep the In­signia, oth­er­wise they of­fered us £1890 and they would take the ve­hi­cle away. Plus, they were happy to not write it off.

At the time of go­ing to press, we are still as­sess­ing the op­tions and con­sid­er­ing what to do. The sen­si­ble ap­proach would be to ac­cept the lower of­fer of £1520, take the car back and then sell it. But then we would have to of­fer a war­ranty un­der the Sale of Goods Act, as this would not be a pri­vate sale.

In the mean­time, we de­cided to re­fit the rear valance with some new mounts and fit a re­place­ment pair of re­flec­tors to the rear bumper to make it road le­gal, which cost a mere £35 in to­tal.

So, our In­signia project has come to an end on a note of un­cer­tainty. It’s been one of the most chal­leng­ing projects we’ve done, as well as be­ing one of the most ex­pen­sive, which has helped to high­light many of the com­mon prob­lems as­so­ci­ated with these mod­els and what hap­pens when you com­mit your­self to a project, spend your money and can’t face giv­ing up. Had we given up when we first iden­ti­fied the en­gine prob­lems, we would have merely lost a cou­ple of thou­sand pounds on the pur­chase price. But then we wouldn’t have had the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore and fix all of the is­sues and prob­lems that can arise with the 2.0 diesel en­gine. Some­times, there’s a high price to pay for in­volved ed­i­to­rial.

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