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Corsa - water getting to spark plugs

edited 31 December 2012 at 9:04AM in Motoring
15 replies 8.9K views
lexilexlexilex Forumite
2K Posts
edited 31 December 2012 at 9:04AM in Motoring
I know absolutely nothing about cars and I am just repeating info we have been given so forgive me if I am wrong...

My boyfriend has a Vauxhall Corsa which is two years old and he has had from new. The car has a lifetime warranty and was last serviced two months ago.

This morning the car has completely lost power and the engine management light has come on. This has happened on two previous occasions. Both times new spark plugs were required as water had got to them. He is almost positive it's going to be the same thing again.

Last time this happened he asked for a full investigation and was assured there was no issue. Last time this happened we were on the way to the airport, the time before his mums wedding, so this has caused major problems and he wanted to know the cause of it.

My boyfriend works in the transport industry and works alongside mechanics on a daily basis. One of them told him last time this happened if he has the same problem three times they have to replace the car. I have never heard this before, is there any truth in this? I am very doubtful there is. If not is there anything else we can do, other than take the car in every few months for new spark plugs.
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Replies

  • paddedjohnpaddedjohn Forumite
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    He has got no chance whatsoever of getting a new car, tell him to take it to the dealers to check it over, it doesn't sound like its a plug problem to me.
    Be Alert..........Britain needs lerts.
  • Joe_HornerJoe_Horner Forumite
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    Water will only damage spark plugs if it gets onto the business end of them, which is inside the engine. For that to happen you'd be looking at head gasket failure because no engine (at least, none I've ever known) is going to swallow that much water through the intake and keep running!

    If water gets on the outside of the plugs then you dry them off and carry on. If it makes a habit of it then you replace the HT leads (assuming they have seals to the head on a Corsa?)

    Either way, there's a problem that just replacing the plugs each time (guessing that's charged for even with the warranty?) is not going to fix.

    You won't get a new car out of it, but you should get a proper repair.
  • I expected as much. It will definitely be going back into Vauxhall but we want to know our rights beforehand. He had another ongoing issue with the car and we contacted citizens advice who told us to ring the finance company as they still own the car and its up to them to sort it.

    He bought a new car thinking it would be reliable but it's constantly letting him down.
  • Joe_Horner wrote: »
    Water will only damage spark plugs if it gets onto the business end of them, which is inside the engine. For that to happen you'd be looking at head gasket failure because no engine (at least, none I've ever known) is going to swallow that much water through the intake and keep running!

    If water gets on the outside of the plugs then you dry them off and carry on. If it makes a habit of it then you replace the HT leads (assuming they have seals to the head on a Corsa?)

    Either way, there's a problem that just replacing the plugs each time (guessing that's charged for even with the warranty?) is not going to fix.

    You won't get a new car out of it, but you should get a proper repair.

    It's them that have said water is getting to the spark plugs. First we was told this by the Vauxhall dealership themselves, then on the next occasion it was a bloke from the AA when we were stuck on the motorway. We managed to claim the spark plug cost back on both occasions so they realise there is an issue but they're not interested in investigating the cause. Going to try and get another mechanic to have a look this time before it goes in.
  • paddedjohnpaddedjohn Forumite
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    The only way that water would affect the plugs would be head gasket failure or cracked block/head. Water ingress could make the plugs or leads damp and cause you problems but not to the extent of needing new plugs. Has the problem happened on dry days or is it when we have heavy rain?
    Be Alert..........Britain needs lerts.
  • paddedjohn wrote: »
    The only way that water would affect the plugs would be head gasket failure or cracked block/head. Water ingress could make the plugs or leads damp and cause you problems but not to the extent of needing new plugs. Has the problem happened on dry days or is it when we have heavy rain?

    I honestly cannot remember. The first time was 06/2011 the second time 03/2012. There's a strong possibility it had been raining on both occasions but I cannot say for sure. The first time it happened over a few days, losing power for a few seconds until it went altogether. He was out in his car last night and he's just said it was raining heavily on his way home about 9pm but no problems with the car then. It worked fine this morning for a few minutes until he lost all power and struggled to get it home.
  • Joe_HornerJoe_Horner Forumite
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    That does sound like, if it's water related, then water is getting onto the outside of the plugs and / or HT leads.

    Looking at pics of Corsa engines online it does seem that, like most moderns, the plugs / leads are 9or should be) pretty well sealed up. So, if water's getting in there it's the seals that are at fault, not the plugs.

    Oh for the days where everything was open to the elements and a quick spray of WD40 would get the water out if it han't drained out by itself :D
  • jcb208jcb208 Forumite
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    Not 100% sure about the corsa but most cars now have a coil pack either seperate or on a rail that sits direct on to the plugs and not HT leads ,Are you sure its not the coils on top of plugs that are failing as this is very common on some makes.If its the plugs failing will be either head gasket or cracked head
  • paddedjohnpaddedjohn Forumite
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    Get the coils checked and spray everything with wd40
    Be Alert..........Britain needs lerts.
  • lexilexlexilex Forumite
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    Hello,

    Bit of an update and more advice required if possible.

    After a lot of messing around from Evans Halshaw last week they informed my OH to fault codes were coming up. The first thing they did was order a new Engine Control Unit which was fitted on Friday. Apparently this did not fix the issue, and they ordered another part, something to do with ABS (I did warn you I was clueless with cars!).

    Expected phone call today to collect car. Instead at 9.30 he received a call asking if he steams his engine as there was water in the spark plug area. He explained he didn't, and that this had happened twice before and he wanted it looking into. They said they couldn't find a cause of this and didn't seem interested in looking further.

    OH planned to give the warranty line a ring tomorrow once he had a copy of the service job cards from the dealership. They gave him a courtesy call this afternoon (he has been in touch with them a few times over the past few days anyway) and he told them about the water and wanting an investigation. They told him if he wanted this to happen he would have to pay.

    Is this correct?

    It's only a matter of time before the spark plugs go again and this is not getting the problem sorted.

    Going to get in touch with consumer advice and see where we stand.
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