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Who has What Car? helped this month – October 2017

Readers contact our Helpdesk every day with questions and appeals for help with car-related problems. Here are their stories

Words ByClaire Evans

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Skoda Fabia with faulty gearbox

Corrosion breaks Fabia’s gearbox

What Car? steps in when owners is faced with paying for a new gearbox

My partner and I have a 65-plate Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo with the DSG automatic gearbox. Just over a week ago, our car became undriveable with the gearbox stuck in Park, so it was recovered to DM Keith Skoda in Leeds. After inspecting the car, the service manager told us the problem was corrosion on the connectors under the gear selector and that the car would need a new gearbox.

He continued to say that the fault was our responsibility because something must have been spilt over the gear selector. We’ve had the car from new and to our knowledge this has never happened. This is our third Fabia, but our first one with a DSG gearbox.

We felt annoyed and let down by the dealership’s attitude and said point blank that we weren’t going to pay for the repair. The car was then inspected by another Skoda technician, who noticed that there are holes in the bottom of the cupholders in the centre console. He said condensation or spilt liquid could have dripped down onto the gearbox, causing the corrosion.

We believe this is a design fault on the Fabia and that Skoda should therefore foot the repair bill. We’re not getting anywhere with DM Keith or Skoda UK’s head office, though, so I wonder if What Car? can help us?

Philip Watson

What Car says...

Mr Watson sent us photos and a video of the Skoda technician stating that he believes it’s a design fault on the Fabia. We agreed with this verdict and contacted Skoda UK to ask them to reconsider Mr Watson’s situation.

A week later, Skoda let us know that the car had been fully repaired at no cost to Mr Watson, and that it had been valeted and handed back to him and his partner.

Approved used Audi came with damaged infotainment screen

Reader gets in touch about the infotainment screen on his Audi A5

I’m writing to you because I have reached a stalemate with Audi Plymouth regarding an approved used Audi A5 that I bought in December 2016.

Shortly after purchasing the car, I noticed a smeary mark on its Multi Media Interface (MMI) infotainment screen. When I tried to clean it off, the mark only grew bigger and I saw no improvement, so I took it back to the dealership in early January for the screen to be inspected.

After leaving the car with the dealer for a day, I returned to find that the small mark that was initially in the corner of the screen had become a streaky mess stretched across its bottom three-quarters.

The dealership said it would get back to me as soon as it could with a solution, but weeks went by without me hearing anything, so I called in for an update. I was told they were waiting to hear back from Audi UK on a warranty claim. Again, weeks went by with no contact, so I called Audi UK and was told to expect a call from Plymouth Audi, but once again this never happened.

Only after I posted a negative review online did I get a call from Plymouth Audi telling me that they couldn’t rectify the fault with the screen because it wasn’t covered by the car’s warranty. Surely a system that contains the sat-nav and other important features should be covered by the car’s warranty?

Taylor Kitto

What Car? says...

We contacted Audi UK and although we received an apology for the lack of communication Mr Kitto received from Plymouth Audi, we were also told that the cost of fixing the fault wasn’t covered by the car’s warranty.

An Audi spokesman said: β€œTechnicians at Plymouth Audi carried out an inspection of the screen and concluded that the damage could not be repaired or concealed.

β€œThe Audi Centre team absolutely does not accept that there was any further deterioration of the screen surface while the car was in its care.

β€œWhile the multi-point check that all Audi Approved Used cars must undergo does require verification that the MMI unit and its ancillaries are fully functioning, scratches or blemishes to the surfaces of the various elements will not be included in the assessment criteria, because these are attributable to wear and tear.

β€œThe MMI display is an integral part of the complex header unit that sits behind it, and cannot be replaced separately. Technicians at Plymouth Audi will be happy to replace the unit, but we regret that we are unable to offer financial support for this work in view of the fact that this in no way constitutes a manufacturing defect.”

Replacing the system was quoted at Β£525.75, which was too much for Mr Kitto to agree to.

The issue with Mr Kitto’s A5 isn’t unusual. In fact, problems with infotainment systems are one of the most common complaints we hear about, yet many brands’ warranties don’t cover damage to them.

What Car? advises car buyers to check over the infotainment system on any potential second-hand car very carefully to ensure it’s fully functioning and the screen isn’t damaged. Find out how much it would cost to replace in the event of a fault and then make sure you get this amount factored into the purchase price of the car.

A new Superb is a superb idea

Reader wonders if Skoda Superb is a good replacement for his Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

I have a 2014 CitroΓ«n Grand C4 Picasso 1.6 automatic in range-topping trim. I’m considering trading it in for a new Skoda Superb 1.4 SE L Exec. Is this a good swap?

Richard Adams

What Car? says...

We give the Superb five stars, and in estate form it’s the class leader, so it should be a great replacement. It is keenly priced, well equipped and incredibly roomy and holds its value well.

There are two versions of the 1.4 TSI petrol engine, and the beefier 148bhp version is our pick of the range. That engine can be had in conjunction with an automatic gearbox, whereas the 123bhp 1.4 TSI is manual only.

The dual-clutch auto can be jerky in stop-start traffic, though, so take a thorough test drive before committing.

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