Drivetrain trouble top cause of disputes says survey

Published:  27 April, 2021

Drivetrain faults caused the majority of service and repair disputes submitted by consumers to The Motor Ombudsman’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service during the first quarter of 2021.

Where a customer specified the mechanical part they deemed to be the problem, 58% related to the vehicle’s drivetrain. 18% cited the intake manifold as the biggest area of concern overtaking the timing chain, which was the main issue in the same period in 2020. 7% of issues related to the battery, with another 7% on the turbo and 7% again for the oil pump.
18% cited concerns with a car’s exterior, while tyres were the principal driver of the chassis issues reported by consumers, making up 42% of complaints in this category against 69% in 2020.

37% requested a full refund for a service or repair work with 29% wanting a free-of-charge repair to put right perceived diagnosis or workmanship issues. Furthermore, the average consumer claim value for a service and repair dispute stood at just over £2,000 in the first quarter, up around £450 from the figure seen during the opening months of 2021.

Commenting on the findings, Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman and Managing Director of the Motor Ombudsman, said: “With a car made up of a multitude of components and moving parts, the service and repair complaints that we receive from consumers vary significantly in both their scope and complexity. Identifying the key trends of what is causing disputes across our Codes of Practice, and sharing what we are seeing across the automotive sector, is one of our main roles as an Ombudsman. This ultimately allows us to feed back this data to the industry and help our accredited businesses to make further improvements with their products, services and processes for the benefit of consumers.”

For more information on The Motor Ombudsman’s Motor Industry Code of Practice for Service and Repair, visit

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