Should Jaguar pay to fix my XF’s rusty door panels?

All four door panels on a reader's luxury saloon are rusting. He asks if Jaguar should pay for them to be repaired...

Jaguar XF askwhatcar

My 2009 Jaguar XF 3.0d S Portfolio is my pride and joy. I’ve owned it from new and it has done just over 18,000 miles without any major concerns whatsoever. However, it has rust coming through the middle of the doors.

The first signs of this were noticed when it went in for its seven-year service in May 2016 (just outside the six-year corrosion warranty), but I didn’t appreciate the seriousness of the situation and neither did the dealership. A year later the rust was a bit worse, and by August 2018 it was showing on the other front door; it’s only a matter of time before all four doors are ‘gone’ through. This is the last thing I expected on a car I intended to keep forever.

I contacted Jaguar in August 2018 and it initially seemed responsive. The car was inspected by my local dealership, Rybrook in Warrington, which quoted me a price of £3200 to repair the two front doors.

Jaguar XF askwhatcar

During the inspection, a door panel was removed and the bodyshop worker pointed out a sound deadening panel stuck to the inside of the door with rust around it, located in the place where the rust was appearing on the outside of the door. Later, I looked on some online Jaguar forums and came across other XF owner whose car had suffered the same problem. I spoke to him and he confirmed that the rust on is car had been caused by sound deadening panels in the doors. His car was a similar age to mine and had been fixed for free by Jaguar even though it was out of warranty.

However, Jaguar stated that due to the age of my XF, it isn’t able to cover the cost of the repairs. It also stated that it believes the rust has been caused by "external influences". When I said I wasn’t satisfied with this decision, Jaguar said the case would be closed but could be reopened if I was able to provide independent proof that the corrosion was not caused by external factors, such as stone chips.

Jaguar XF askwhatcar

The Jaguar dealership confirmed to customer services that it had examined the car and didn't believe the rusting had been caused by stone chips in the paint. However, customer services said they needed an independent inspection of the car, so I took it to a highly regarded local bodyshop to get it examined and a report written. It stated that the soundproofing had been stuck to bare metal on the inside of the door, giving “moisture nowhere to go but through the door”.

I sent the report to Jaguar, but it still stated that it wasn’t able to contribute to the cost of repairs at all due to the age of the car. All I was offered was £150 to cover the cost of the inspection.

I rejected the offer, but I’m now at a dead end with Jaguar. Can you suggest anything I can do to get the situation resolved?

Keith Hall

What Car? says…

Having examined photographs and video sent to us by Keith, we agreed that the rust does appear to be coming from the inside out, which is often a requirement for it to be covered by a warranty. The photos taken by the bodywork specialist also show rust on the soundproofing on the inside of the door skin, which appears to be the cause of the corrosion. We also appreciate Mr Hall’s point that corrosion can take years to show up and the fact that it wasn’t spotted until the car was seven years old doesn’t mean it didn’t start happening earlier than that. It’s highly likely the rusting started before the six-year corrosion warranty expired.

So we asked Jaguar to look into the case again. It did so and wrote to us stating: “Jaguar Land Rover has conducted a thorough review of this matter, and taking into account investigations carried out by the retailer and our own technical team, our findings are that this is not a manufacturing fault. We are confident that every effort has been made to bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion.”

We didn’t feel that Jaguar had made “every effort” to provide Mr Hall with a “satisfactory conclusion”, so we asked The Motor Ombudsman to look into the case. Unfortunately, we were told that its codes of conduct for vehicle sales, servicing and repairs only cover cars up to six years old and that it can only consider warranty claims for vehicles that are still inside the warranty period, so it could not get involved. That leaves the small claims court as Mr Hall’s only option. We think it's worth pursuing, because we believe he has a strong case. 

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