11th Dec 2008, 21:18

I wrote the original review; since the engine failure I have sold the car to a local mechanic who services my cars and got £50, the only thing the car was good for was stripping for its wheels, interior etc, but as I don't have off street parking, I let him strip it and sell the parts. I have since bought a Nissan Primera 2.0 Sport+ VT6, OK it's not in the power league as the Vectra was, and I am still annoyed about what happened to it as I was looking forward to driving it, but the Primera is not a V6 and was never produced with a V6 engine, more's the pity.

The Primera is a great car, so far, reliable nice to drive and a proven car. Its slow for 2.0 16v being the CVT auto tiptronic box doing 0-60 in 11.1 seconds, the Vectra did it in 8.0 seconds, but I think I would rather have reliability and plain looks rather than an unreliable good looker that the Vectra was, but like I say, if only Nissan had given this car a 2.5 engine alternative.

I was unlucky as the previous owner had probably not serviced the car properly - after a lot of wrangling I did manage to get £200 back from him in compensation for my loss, but there are too many other owners on this forum that have rubbished the Vectra for unreliability for me to ever consider having a Vectra again, and this is a pity because I think the performance of the V6 Vectra is very good, its quicker than the equivalent Mondeo ST24 - Yes I have owned a V6 Mondeo before as well for those of you who might argue otherwise, and it had a very good driving position and sports bucket seats. If you do buy a Vectra V6, here are some tips to look for - which I should have walked away from when I found them, but was in love with the car so it clouded my better judgment.

I would strongly suggest you check the condition of the oil and insist on a full service history. Old oil, which is thick and black like treacle will block oil passages and lead to eventual failure of the crankshaft bearings or worse, which is what happened to my car - Kwik fit said the oil was a disgrace when it was drained - use synthetic oil only as cheap oil will not pay off when the engine fails later on.

Check the exhaust manifolds front and rear as these are prone to problems with cracking and blowing.

Check the rear brakes and especially the Handbrake, as this is a weak spot with the design of the rear disc/drum brake assembly.

Check the boot area for damp and around the rear wiper pivot arm for rust as they do fail here a lot and allow water into the tailgate, which rots the boot carpet at best.

Check also the radio display panel, which on a lot of Vectras loses its pixels and eventually becomes unreadable.

I was told to avoid the 2.0 Ecotec engines due to problems with the cambelt tensioners, and I went to look at several where the cambelts were slack - failures imminent.

Wind down the drivers window, if it does not wind up or down properly, it has a problem with the rails inside the door and frequently comes off the rails and will not wind back up properly.

Most importantly of all, do NOT buy any Vectra if the seller cannot tell you its cambelt history AND prove this, the cambelt could be running on borrowed time, and if it breaks, that will be the end of your engine. 2.0 16v models are PRONE to pulley and tensioner failure and it is NOT cheap to replace the cambelt and tensioners on a V6 2.5L model; if it has not been done in the last 40,000 miles or 4 years, walk away as it will cost in excess of £350 to do this and that is at a cheap backstreet garage, you will need a second mortgage to change a cambelt on a V6 at the Vauxhall dealers. V6 Mondeos on the other hand use timing chains which are supposed to last the life of the engine as long as the oil is changed regularly.

Also check the clutch and master cylinder fluid levels; old Vectras are PRONE also to clutch slave cylinder seal failure, this leaks clutch fluid all over the clutch and it is a GEARBOX OUT job to replace the slave cylinder as it is an integral part of the release bearing mechanism, which is located inside the clutch bellhousing. If the slave cylinder leaks and the clutch becomes inoperative, you will need a new clutch also due to contamination with clutch fluid to the clutch plate. The cost of all this will be in excess of £600 to put right, and some smaller garages will not even entertain doing this on the V6 model.

Although there are more things you should check, these listed above are all thing I found with the car I bought, and those I looked at prior to buying it. Vectras are great when they run properly, but a neglected one WILL cost you a fortune, so maybe I will take back my Vile Vectra comment, as I made the ultimate decision to buy a car because it looked nice rather than checking it out properly.

There are many of you that will say that your Vectra is wonderful and to you, I will say fair play - you have probably looked after yours and serviced it properly - but there are an awful lot of dishonest sellers out there who will be trying to palm their poorly looked after and thrashed, probably clocked as well, Vectras onto us, the unsuspecting buyers.

If you are buying a used Vectra - Check it out properly - you have been warned!!

17th Jan 2009, 19:00

Hi, I have bought two cars off a popular auction site, and to buy a vehicle this way is extremely risky. Any possible problems should be weighed into the price when you bid or surely the car would have been sold privately. Also a scrap yard engine should cost around £100 to £300 and they will normally fit it for you for about £250 (in my experience only!)

Cheap cars are cheap for a reason, take care with future purchases unless you can do repair work yourself, as I do when my cars are bought off Evil-bay. I drive an ST24 bought from an auction site, at an excellent price, after spending £200 on repairs I doubt a Vectra is quicker but maybe not XXX.

7th Jun 2009, 12:02

I'd like to add:

I recently bought a '99 V6 Vectra SRI Estate and thought it was the best thing under the sun...

The ECU light was flashing not long after I drove it from west Scotland to Cumbria and then things started to go awfully wrong. The driver's side window suffered the EXACT same problem, meaning I had to let go of the steering wheel to guide the window back into the rail whilst I was driving.

Then one day it just lost a load of power!?? It still drove fine but drank a lot more fuel for a couple of thousand miles so I persevered, mainly because I needed it for job interviews around the county. Come MOT time the handbrake was shot completely even though it'd had new discs & pads 2 months ago, the emissions were astronomical and if I'm not mistaken, it will be around £900 to fix the engine alone.

This car has a full Vauxhall dealer service history & is supposed to be one of the most reliable cars going, and now I can't give it away! I was raving about it being more reliable than my Pajero at one point but I take I all back. There are some lucky people out there who own problem-free Vectras, but I say to thee: if you get an inkling of any of these tell-tale signs then get shot ASAP!

Great interior, great looking car and really nice to drive, with a good wee sound system and nice lookin' wheels. But lordy, what a let-down!

The day it failed its MOT I got a job a 5 minute walk away from my home. So whoever was up there looking down on me must have known something about these cars :o)