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Used MGs could blow their top

Posted: 04/02/2016 Used MGs could blow their top - photo

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.

This is the head gasket hall of shame showing the manufacturers that have the most chance of having a head gasket failure in one year.

MG* 5.61%
ROVER* 4.75%
DAEWOO 2.36%
PROTON 2.04%
SAAB 1.27%
FIAT 1.20%
CHRYSLER 0.89%
PEUGEOT 0.81%
SUBARU 0.78%
VAUXHALL 0.64%

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.

*The analysis included MG and Rover vehicles sold between 2002 and 2012; a period in which the brands experienced a change of ownership and underwent significant changes as a result. Since 2011, MG, under the ownership of SAIC, started introducing all-new vehicles.