'Drastic changes' needed in car fire investigations amid Vauxhall recall

This Vauxhall Corsa burst into flames - nobody yet knows why.

Today there were calls for drastic changes in the way car fires are investigated.

Some drivers believe manufacturing faults that could lead to recalls are not been identified quickly enough.

The owner of this car told us the incident was terrifying and he is almost as worried by the fact that the manufacturer has still not done an inspection.

There are 18,000 vehicle fires a year across all car manufacturer types.

In April, Vauxhall recalled 2,767 Corsa D Black Edition models with 1.4 litre turbo engines due to a fire risk

But over 700,000 other Corsa D models were sold in the UK and some fear the recall should go further

The car maker says "Vauxhall is not aware of a fire risk to any other variant of Corsa D"

The Corsa is Britain's second most popular model and tens of thousands of owners could be worried by reports of fires.

Naturally they expect every unexplained incident to be carefully investigated to check whether their are any grounds for a recall.

But that doesn't always happen. Vauxhall says it needs permission from the owner and the insurer before it can inspect and it does not always get that.

Cars are often scrapped before checks can take place or the manufacturer told about a fire.

A Vauxhall Zafira on fire. Credit: ITV News

ITV News has reported on Vauxhall Zafira model B cars catching fire like this.

The car maker said it only found out about many incidents like this due to media reports.

There is no requirement on an insurance company to notify manufacturers of a fire when they deal with a claim.

Now there are calls for that to change and Dept Chief Officer Chris Blacksell from the Chief Fire Officers' Association has told ITV News he would like to see a better reporting system.

The Corsa is Britain's second most popular model. Credit: Steve Cachia

This Corsa was in the batch that has now been recalled by Vauxhall - but the fire here happened weeks before that action was taken.

Learning lessons from vehicle fires more rapidly is vital and many believe that requires urgent change.

Gareth Llewellyn, the chief executive of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, said: "DVSA’s first priority is to protect everyone from unsafe vehicles and drivers.

“We are investigating reported faults with Vauxhall Corsa D and E models. Anyone who finds a serious safety defect with their vehicle should report it to us.

“We’ve also made it clear that it’s vital that Vauxhall should be doing everything possible to ensure the safety of its customers and their families. We’re also working with the Department for Transport to consider further action.”

Customer advice on what to do if your car has been recalled:

The affected Zafira B model. Credit: Vauxhall

Vauxhall announced in August a second recall of all Zafira B models to carry out "preventative action" to protect the vehicles from the risk of fire.

It followed an investigation which found that "improper repairs" of the blower motor resistor and its thermal fuse could lead to overheating of electrical components and potentially a fire.

The company says resistors should never been repaired and only be replaced.

The work is being carried out free of charge.

Until the second recall work has been carried out, the company advises customers should only use the blower motor fan speed setting 0 or 4.

If the blower motor fan is not operating in speed 4 it is recommended to set your fan speed to 0 in order to prevent the possibility of the fuse blowing.

Under these circumstances, customers are urged to contact their local Vauxhall retailer to arrange repairs.

More than 2,500 affected Corsa's were recalled.

Earlier this year, Vauxhall identified a "potential fire-related issue" with a specific Corsa D variant equipped with the 1.4 Turbo petrol engine.

The company issued a safety recall to address this issue in April 2016 for the 2,767 vehicles affected.

No other variants are affected.

The safety recall was subsequently revised in August, mandating the replacement of the Vacuum Pump Assembly.

All affected customers were written to using address data from the DVLA.

If customers want to check if their vehicle has had the Safety Recall completed they can contact Vauxhall Customer Care on 0800 026 0867 or they can access the Motorcodes website.

If you have a Corsa 1.4 and are not sure if it is a Corsa D 1.4 Turbo, the latter models were mainly produced as Black Edition models. They also feature a Turbo badge on the right hand side of the tailgate and unique bi-colour 5 spoke alloy wheels.

Just 46 1.4 Turbos were produced in SE and SRI variants. If you are still not clear if your vehicle is a Corsa D 1.4 Turbo you can contact Vauxhall Customer Care with your registration number.