Steve Heseltine bought a new Chevrolet Captiva in 2008, and enjoyed three years of happy motoring before spotting worrying rust spots appearing around the tailgate’s chrome-effect plastic handle.
Steve booked the car in to his local Chevrolet dealer, The White Garage in Leeds, where it was examined and the rust problem cleaned up in no time. He left a satisfied customer.
Fast forward to 2013 and Steve was dismayed to find more rust forming on the tailgate, this time on the right-hand side of the handle. Posts on various online forums suggested his Captiva wasn’t the only one suffering from this problem. The cause, it seemed, was the handle’s plastic trim cutting into the paint, allowing moisture in.
Back at The White Garage, Steve was relieved to hear that Chevrolet was fitting a rubber gasket to Captivas to solve the problem. The dealer duly submitted a warranty claim and photographs of the rust damage to Chevrolet.
The response wasn’t good: a flat rejection of the claim. The justification was that the rust was the result of a mechanical failure, not a paintwork issue, and since Steve’s mechanical warranty had now expired, he was on his own.
Steve then turned to Helpdesk. ‘This is clearly a known problem caused by a design fault, which is causing my car to rust,’ he said. ‘How can it be classed as mechanical failure when the car is rusting through no fault of my own?’
We felt he had a point and asked Chevrolet why Steve’s car hadn’t made the grade under its rust guarantee. By this stage, Steve’s local dealer had dropped its Chevrolet franchise, so the manufacturer asked him to take his Captiva to the next closest, JCT600 in Bradford.
JCT600 admitted to Steve that it had repaired quite a few other Captivas sporting the same rust damage, and that it shouldn’t be difficult to fix. Within a few days, Chevrolet had confirmed that the repair would be covered by warranty after all, and Steve was able to book a suitable date to have the work completed free of charge.
What if this happens to you?
- Check your car’s warranty when buying. It will normally have a longer rust or paint guarantee than it does a mechanical one.
- Rust guarantees are usually in excess of 10 years. If your car starts to corrode before then, check it’s not your fault before claiming.
- Don’t settle for one dealer’s opinion if things aren’t going your way.
We've prepared lots of useful advice, including a full guide on warranties that could help you with either a new or used car.
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