Sep 292014

Used cars made by MG*, Rover or Daewoo are most likely to suffer expensive head gasket failure according to new data from Warranty Direct.

While most vehicles are more prone to common electrical mishaps or suspension issues, head gasket failure – every used car buyer’s nightmare – can strike nearly six per cent of some three to 12 year-old vehicles.

Costing an alarming £770 on average to repair, head gasket breakdowns tend to hit after a car is at least three years old.

Vehicles made by Proton, Saab and Fiat are the next most likely to suffer from the glitch feared most by used car buyers.

The head gasket sits between the engine block and cylinder head, effectively sealing the engine to prevent the engine oil and coolant mixing. When it fails, a car will often lose power, overheat or emit white smoke from exhaust.

The head gasket hall of shame

Manufacturer Chance of head gasket failure in one year
MG* 5.61%
ROVER* 4.75%
DAEWOO 2.36%
PROTON 2.04%
SAAB 1.27%
FIAT 1.20%
SUBARU 0.78%

Warranty Direct managing director, David Gerrans, said: “Anybody familiar with buying used will know about head gaskets and how costly they can be to repair, I can speak from bitter experience.

“Some cars are almost immune to failures of this sort, while others are quite likely to blow. Bear in mind, too, that all the cars we cover are maintained according to manufacturer guidelines, so the problem could be even more prevalent on cars with patchy history and many former keepers.

“Even though some of the poorest performing brands are now under new ownership or no longer exist in their former guise, there are thousands of these vehicles on the used market.”

At the other end of the scale, the Warranty Direct data shows that less than one in 500 vehicles made by Lexus will suffer a head gasket problem, and less than one in 1,000 Aston Martins are susceptible.

Head gasket failure is a common cause of cars overheating – a problem Warranty Direct covers unlike most products in the marketplace.

Warranty Direct ( is the UK’s leading direct-to-consumer insurer for car, van and bike mechanical and electrical failures.

Oct 252006

MG RoverOwners of some of the last MG Rover’s built in the UK have suffered from a raft of mechanical niggles and gremlins according to a new study from independent automotive warranty provider, Warranty Direct.

Research conducted by Warranty Direct, (, reveals an estimated 1 in 5 cars produced during the last three years of the now-defunct British marque, have been plagued by manufacturing faults.

The most problematic area centres on the electrics, which constitutes a whopping 29 per cent of all failures. Annoying more than expensive, owners have regularly complained of illuminating warning lights, malfunctioning fans and window motors and even one case where the horn and wipers were activated on pressing the electric window switch!

Transmission failure accounts for 25 per cent of reported breakdowns. Although the average cost of repair stands at £279, some owners have been forced to pay up to £3,872 to get their new car back on the road.

Comparative research by Warranty Direct highlights newer Rovers have suffered from six times as many slip-ups in their fuel systems than MG Rovers aged 4-6 years old, potentially a costly repair.

The MG Rover business collapsed in April leaving an estimated 150,000 owners without manufacturer and dealer backed warranty protection.

For more information on Warranty Direct visit or call on Freephone 0800 731 7001.

Nov 022005

MG RoverFollowing the demise of MG Rover, independent warranty company, Warranty Direct is offering MG Rover customers 20% off any new warranty policy purchased. The offer is applicable to cars under 5 years old.

Last Wednesday, the administrators, PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PwC), wrote to MG Rover dealers confirming that they will no longer be able to meet the cost of repairs.

Previously, MG Rover had reimbursed franchised dealers for the cost of any repairs carried out for a period of up to three years after a new car was sold. However, following the analysis of their financial state, PwC has confirmed MG Rover can no longer afford to honour the commitment.

It’s estimated 150,000 MG Rover owners have lost their car warranty cover – vehicles which were ranked 16th out of 28 in the annual Warranty Direct Reliability Index Survey (

“MG Rover owners have been left in the lurch with their vehicle warranties. Should their vehicle develop a fault, they will no longer be able to return to their franchised dealer and expect the cost to be covered by a manufacturer warranty,” said Warranty Direct managing director, Duncan McClure Fisher.

“Under the Sale of Goods Act, consumers can find some protection. Should their car need remedial work, depending on the fault and age of vehicle, they may be able to claim through the small claims court. However, the industry is already raising questions marks about the futures of many of the franchised dealers.”

For further details please visit or call 0800 731 7001

Nov 022005

MG RoverMG Rover customers are being left confused and facing a wall of silence as they try to uncover if their manufacturer warranty will still be honoured, following the administration of MG Rover.

“PwC and Rover franchised dealers are increasingly evading customers who have recently bought a Rover.  There has been very little information offered, with much based purely on speculation, rather than clarity and fact,” commented independent warranty provider Warranty Direct managing director Duncan McClure Fisher.

“Under the Sale of Goods Act, consumers will be protected.  When buying a new car, it becomes the responsibility of the dealer to uphold the warranty for up to six years.”

Rovers recently bought came with a three-year warranty that consists of a one-year manufacturer-backed policy and dealer-backed cover in the second and third years.

“The problem for MG Rover customers though is will their local dealer still be open when their vehicle develops a fault which would be rectified under the warranty agreement?

“This is further cemented by the appalling reliability track record Rover has.  Last year they came 16th in our annual reliability index – trailing behind the likes of Daewoo, Fiat and Seat.”

Aug 032005

MG RoverMG Rover customers who bought their car on a Visa Debit Card are being urged to write to the Financial Ombudsman in an effort to claw back the cost of their warranty.

Traditionally, consumers are able to claim the cost of the defaulted goods or services from the bank via a policy called “Charge Back”. Under the scheme, the customer need only inform the bank and the money for the unused portion of the product is refunded. The bank then reclaims the money from the retailer with which the transaction was made.

However, the cost of a three-year manufacturer backed warranty is rolled into the overall cost of the new car, and therefore not billed as a separate cost of service. As a result, banks are currently refusing to settle such claims.

Independent automotive warranty provider, Warranty Direct (, strongly believes that despite this, customers have a strong case for a right of reply under the “Charge Back” rules.

“Although it is not a separate entity of the purchase price, the cost of a warranty is an easily quantifiable figure and so we see no reason why the consumer is being denied this right of reply,” explained Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct.

Using insurance industry guidelines, Warranty Direct calculates that the cost of policies underwritten by MG Rover at 5 percent of the value of the purchase price. So for a £15,000 car, the warranty can be valued at £750.

Warranty Direct is urging customers who purchased using their Visa Debit Card and have been unable to exact their rights under Charge Back rules to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service. Call 0845 080 1800 or visit

Warranty Direct offers a 20 percent discount on all MG Rover vehicles under-3 years old.