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Robert, Vauxhall Technician
Category: Vauxhall
Satisfied Customers: 4708
Experience:  Fully qualified 19+yrs exp/self employed technician in the UK
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Hi there. I have a Vauxhall Astra 1.6 04 reg. 10 days

Customer Question

Hi there. I have a Vauxhall Astra 1.6 04 reg. 10 days ago, the sign of a car with a spanner came on. As I was in a long journey I thought I will continue driving. After driving it like that for 1 hour, when I was slowing down at a roundabout, all the light came on, on the dashboard and the engine went off. I called AA and have been told that the water pump had gone and that it was possible that the timing belt went. I took the car to a garage and they said that the car has over heated, I have not seen that on the thermometer on dashboard to be honest. The belt was intact, the water pump and head casket were gone. They have replaced the timing belt, the water pump and the head casket. However the sigh of car with a spanner was still on ad the car would not build up compression to start. The mechanics have shown me to start the car by holding the acceleration pedal down and gave me the car back after paying £700. I then did drive the car for 16 miles. Once I would manage to get that car started it would run perfect. The last 2 miles the car started to cut off every time I did break to stop or slow down. Car then just stopped and would not start again. I took it back to the garage and I have been told that the starter motor has gone, and they cannot identify what the problem is. They have suggested that perhaps when the car over heated a ring around a piston might have gone and they are suggesting that I take it to another garage that looks at the engine. I am very upset and I am not sure if that is the problem or if is worth spending more to find out that the car will still not work. I am not even sure that what the mechanics were very honest with me right from the beginning. Can you please advise me what would be best to do? Many thanks, Niki


Ps. Also do you know if there is any way that I could compalin about their service. I feel that they perhaps knew what was wrong from the begining and they just wanted me to spend all that money and then let me know that there is something else also wrong with the car.

When I picked the car up, a mecanic said that I should part exchanged. To be honest it is very much likely that I will not even get back what I have spend on it. I would have been better off to scrap it before if they would have informed me corectly.

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vauxhall
Expert:  Robert replied 3 years ago.



Hopefully i can help..


Ok..on Vauxhalls the car/ with horizontal spanner through the centre is an engine electronics fault or malfunction so anything engine timing related/intake,ignition / fuel air mixture problem/emissions fault - so not nessesarily a mechanical problem or can also be your immobiliser has developed a problem but not in your case here.and isn't actually a service light -what usually needs to be done when that comes up is to have the car diagnostically tested first to see what fault codes are present and then make checks based on what is being stored or logged as faulty or what your ecu is seeing as faulty or running out of normal not sure wither the AA did this initially at the beginning,you dont say - if not inc during the call out then they havent actually diagnosed the problem properly and just made an assumption - usually if water pump goes or the impellar does especially during a long trip the engine would actually overheat or your cooling fan would turn on or your coolant tank would be bubbling over and this could cause headgasket problems and or even cylinder head warping/cracking if left to continually overheat.if the water pump totally failed mechanically broke away..then that would cause the engine to cut out as the timing would of shifted or the belt would just be loose and caused valve to piston contact hence loss of compression,engine aware one 1.6 engine Z16XEP still runs it water pump off the auxillary belt and not the the timing belt.. .the fact that even after the work you have had done and the cars pretty much still the same means the problem wasnt in regards XXXXX XXXXX of those timing belt,water pump at all etc..but more of an electrical/component on the engine defective causing the that warning light to appear as mentioned above..what i would suggest is to maybe find a good local garage and get them to run a diagnostic test on the car to see what your ecu is logged and maybe recheck over the work done intitially by the previous garage to see if the belt has been changed etc you can try this website if prefered ...I do hope this helps..If you need to ask anything else or include anything further then just continue before you rate



Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Robert,


Thank you for your response.

I am sure that the water pump was leeking when the car first stoped. The AA I thing they have made an asumption based on the seeing the water pump.

As I previously said I did not see the car over heating.

I wander if that was really was the case as the garage have said to me, that the headcasket has gone.

I guess I am trying to understand if the actual problem/posible problem could have make the water pump to go.?

Also once it gets diagnosted do you know whether it is an expensive job or even more importantly if is worth trying to fix the car, or perhaps I would be better of looking into selling it for parts?


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Relist: Other. I asked for aditional information and I have been told that the mecanic that originally answered my question might be off line


Also was it ethical for the original garage to change the other parts when originally it wasn't the problem and there might be the possibility that this car will not work again? Is there anyway to contest their decision to put all this new parts on the car and ask for a refund.
Thanks. I appreciate that I might have easily gone into a different matter, but I feel lost and very uncertain and to some extend cheated into accepting the work they have done.. Their argument was that they needed to put all this new parts on the car to find out what the problem was. Surely there could be another way to find out what is wrong with the car

Expert:  Robert replied 3 years ago.

Hi..there Niki sorry got called out on a recovery job there..


Ok..If the water pump was seen to be leaking usually drips water down the pulley side from behind the timing cover..then yes it could in a sense depending how the pump went faulty either the pump pulley was loose hence the slight alter in timing again the ecu could pick up on that with the crank/cam timing running out of sync maybe - if it was just the pump gasket then i couldnt see that causing the issue you have but only a continual loss of coolant aswell as over heating.nothing can really make a water pump faulty bar wear and tear being the most common - its hard to say without seeing the old pump..however it might be worth seeing what the ecu is picking up on - it may give a better insight usually and say wither or not it worth spending any money on and most garages tend to rate for scan upto £40....But if they did spot the water pump leaking then yes that would need to be replaced,no other option there im afraid along with the new timing belt,tensioner etc..but a scan of the ecu may of thrown up a fault elsewhere that may not of been in relation to the leaking water pump..I do hope this helps further..again if you need to add or ask anything further then just continue