Coolant Loss, Cracked Head Gasket/Split Cylinder Head


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
9,500 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace engine (1 reports)
2013 Skoda Roomster cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2013 Skoda Roomster Owner Comments

problem #1

Aug 282014

Roomster SE 1.6L Tdi

  • Manual transmission
  • 9,500 miles


click to see larger images

coolant loss, cracked head gasket/split cylinder head

Ongoing manufacturer and retailer complaint re. a faulty car purchased from the Skoda dealership, West Sussex Motors.

Letter and history sent to Skoda UK and VW Finance:

KEY DETAILS Dealership: Skoda Palatine Road Goring by Sea Worthing West Sussex United Kingdom BN12 6JH Car purchased 31.1.14. Car new at registration 1.9.13. Ex showroom model, 29 miles on clock when took delivery. Model - Skoda Roomster 1.6tdi (105 bhp) SE Purchase price £13,995. 30,000 mile service pack inc. in deal. Original car registration GU63 EOT changed to XXXX XXX (cherished plate). Car purchased on finance with VW/Skoda Finance through dealership, Mini part exchanged and £9,796 on finance. £2,500 paid off finance on 4.4.14. Current redemption figure c. £6,200. Monthly payment of £131 per month. Fault with vehicle first brought to dealership’s attention 28.8.14, after 7 months of ownership, car aged 11 months since registration.

WHO AM I DEALING WITH Paul Chapman - Service Manager Skoda Worthing tel 01903 247000 Chris Cambridge Sales Manager Skoda Worthing tel 01903 247000 Zanna Ferdous - VW/Skoda Finance (complaint lodged 9.1.15) tel 0800 9123 560. agreement no 440130137344 Tom Chadwick - Skoda executive at customer service UK who contacted me when I escalated the problem on 30.1.15 tel 0333 003 7504. case no.SD-2015/01-003946


1st visit to dealership on 28.8.14, car experiencing coolant loss and warning light on at 9500 miles. Coolant refilled and no other action taken. I commented it was unusual to be filling the coolant on a new car at only 9500 miles.

2nd visit two weeks and 500 miles later, same problem coolant loss and warning light on. Car was booked for 1st 10,000 mile service on 29.9.14, so brought this forward to 23.9.14 car taken in by dealership and investigated by pressure testing whilst first service also done. Not diagnosed. Told to drive car again and see if problem reoccurred.

3rd visit October - same problem approximately 500 miles later. Car taken in again and pressure tested for 6 days on 14.10.14. No results and no diagnosis.

4th visit - 8.11.14. I was about to do a long trip to Yorkshire so visited the dealership to advise Ben (service adviser) that there was still some coolant loss, I didn't trust the car, I was lifting the bonnet every morning to check the coolant level and that just wasn't right on a car of this age and 12,000 miles. He advised to not keep checking, just keep driving and wait until the light came on again. Offered me a bottle of coolant (declined as I carried it in car anyway) and I asked for the Skoda breakdown assist number in case the car failed in Yorkshire.

5th visit - same problem December 18th. 1,800 miles later and just under 14,000 miles on clock. Took car to dealership, I said last chance to resolve the problem as I'd had enough now else I wanted the car replaced. Car with dealer for 10 days.

29.12.14 phone call from Nicky (service adviser) to say engine had been examined, pink leak stain found on cam belt, faulty water pump replaced and new coolant sensor. Collected car that day. I asked Nicky for a copy of the job sheet so I had a record of what work had been done, she said no, I couldn't have a copy. I asked why not, she said it was Skoda policy as it was warranty work. I challenged this and said why couldn't I have copy of work done on my vehicle? She just said no, it was Skoda policy.

6th visit 9.1.15 - same problem - loss of coolant and light on. Said I didn't want another repair - had 4 opportunities over 4 months to diagnose, the December visit was the last chance to resolve. Spoke to Sales Manager on phone and made an appointment to see him - he indicated he's sourced a replacement vehicle for me. At dealership that morning, the offer was for another Roomster (64 reg, 6000 on clock) but unable to provide this under my existing finance and was offering me a new 4 year finance deal, higher payments and bigger balloon payment. I said that was unacceptable as I had so much equity in the current vehicle and why should I be so financially disadvantaged because of Skoda’s faulty car. Sales Manager said he couldn't do anything about that because of how I'd paid off my finance and got my payments so low, he couldn't match the arrangement and Skoda wouldn't do anything about that. I asked him what he was going to do about the duff car I had from him then? He said Service should have another opportunity to resolve the problem. Service manager (Paul Chapman) came out and asked for one last chance to repair.

I was extremely unhappy and said that I did not trust that they would fix it this time, they haven't for the last 4 visits. He apologized and said this was the first time he'd been made aware of my ongoing issues. He PROMISED me that he would get it resolved this time and get the master technician on it. Would not give me the vehicle back until he could guarantee it was fixed. I had no option but to leave the car with them again, I was being press ganged between sales who would not provide a fair exchange deal and service who wanted ANOTHER chance to repair. I said that this was absolutely the last chance to repair it and I would not have the vehicle back and would request an exchange if not fixed this time. Paul Chapman said that he totally understood where I was coming from but promised he would repair it.

Left car with them again that afternoon. Same day I contacted VW finance and Skoda Customer Service UK to lodge complaints. When I spoke to Skoda UK, the call handler (Louis) said that I should have been in touch at the third failed repair, not the 5th, that wasn't good enough - had the dealership told me to call them? I said no, I had come to them in desperation as I was getting nowhere with the dealership. She said that was unacceptable and the dealership should have directed me to Customer Service to help. She said someone would call me Monday morning to deal with the case.

Sherie from Skoda UK called me to hear complaint 12.1.15 and rang 3 times that week to update me that the dealership had no news on the diagnosis yet but on 15.1.15 she rang and said they suspected a problem in the exhaust pipe and were testing that now.

16.1.15 - Paul Chapman called to say they had diagnosed the problem, faulty EGR valve, part ordered and would be fitted next week. Would then test to make sure it was absolutely fixed and return car to me.

19.1.15 - Sherie from Skoda UK called just to update me - said she had spoken to Nicky at the dealership who had no news for me and they were still testing the car. I said that was wrong, Paul Chapman had called me Friday afternoon to advise that they had identified the EGR fault and the part was on order. She apologized for the mis-information and said she'd go back to the dealership to clarify. Poor communication, did not instill any faith that this complaint is being dealt with competently.

23.1.15 Paul Chapman called me again to say that the part was fitted and they had done about 50 miles road test in the vehicle. He was 100% confident they had now fixed the problem and gave me the option of taking the vehicle back that day, or letting them test it further. I said that as the problem seemed to reoccur every 500 miles, and if he was guaranteeing that it was fixed, I would prefer that he did 500 miles and then prove that the problem was FINALLY, ABSOLUTELY fixed before I took it back. He kept the car for a further week to run up 500 miles.

28.1.15 – Sherie called again from Skoda UK to say that the car was being road tested and the plan was to return the car to me this Friday. I asked about compensation for the ongoing issues, inconvenience, cost and poor service I had received from Skoda. I asked that if the car was returned to me I would at least be given an extended warranty on the car to 50,000 (20,000 miles beyond the manufacturers warranty) since I had experienced so many issues and had no faith in the quality of the car. She said she would look into this for me but couldn’t promise anything.

30.1.15 Paul Chapman called to say they have identified another pressure problem in the cooling system whilst road testing this week and could not return the car to me. Said it was either a cracked head gasket, cracked or split cylinder/cylinder head problem. I said I did not want the car back and requested again a replacement car. I've had enough, he promised it was fixed, I don't want the car back that has major issues like that, totally fed up. I have no faith in their technical competence and reject the car.

Paul Chapman said that he had anticipated my response would be this and had asked Skoda UK what the options were – 1. to reject the car under the rejection policy (first I'd heard of this) 2. buy the car back and offer some financial settlement.

I asked what the rejection policy was and he said that the fault had to occur in the 1st 12 months since registration of the car. I said that my car qualified for rejection then as I first notified them of the problem in August 2014 when the car was 11 months old. He said he would go back and query this for me.

Problems diagnosed and repairs to date include: loss of coolant and the coolant level warning light coming on (identified and raised with dealership on 28/8/14) a replacement water pump and coolant sensor issues (repaired by dealership 29/12/14) faulty EGR valve identified and replaced (w/c 19/1/15) now suspected cracked head gasket or cylinder head issues (notified to me 30/1/15)1.

I rang Sherie at Skoda UK that morning and she said that despite the 12 month registration rule I had been quoted with regards to the rejection policy, my car did not fall into the rejection policy as it had to be a major part fault. I asked what qualified as a major fault, she said that it had to be something like the gear box or engine. I said that cracked head gasket and cylinder heads were major engine faults. She backed out of the conversation saying she had spoken to the rejection team and my fault did not qualify and she could not help with the rejection policy. I said I was going to seek legal advice about this as at every turn, Skoda duck and dive around policy and this is not being resolved. I asked how to escalate this complaint further at Skoda UK as I was getting nowhere. Sherie said she could escalate it to the next ‘executive’ level and I would receive a phone call in the next 4 hours. So I have escalated the issue to the next level within Skoda customer service.

That afternoon, Tom Chadwick from Executive (?) Skoda Customer Service called me to say that he would call back Monday once he understood the full facts of the case.

So - I have a car now 12 months in my ownership, with a major fault brought to their attention 5 months ago and I am completely frustrated by the service and what is a breach of contract to provide a vehicle that is fit for purpose. I am being pushed between Skoda customer service, dealership service and dealership sales. I have not had the car for the last 3 weeks and I'm paying the finance on it. Courtesy car is being provided but ... 1. Skoda dealership and customer service are dodging every complaint I make and refuse to replace the car. 2. I am being hampered at every turn by new barriers, problems, promises, procedures and lack of transparency about what exactly Skoda can and will do to resolve this (like rejection policy) 3. It is costing me more money in fuel to run courtesy car – approximately 1/3rd higher fuel costs 4. I have given more than ample chance to repair and now want a replacement or refund at no financial detriment to me.

OTHER INFORMATION As the customer I seem to be completely powerless when trying to get this issue resolved. I have quoted my consumer rights under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the sales manager said 'you think you have rights, but they work against you and we can repair the car as much as we like’.

I have notified VW finance as I have a PCP agreement for finance on the car, so they have a financial stake in the vehicle. They have passed the problem on to the retailer. I have paid a significant amount of finance off and have c. £6200 on settlement if I were to pay it off today, 12 months after purchase. I paid a lump sum off the finance to reduce my monthly payments.

Skoda Worthing have offered just £7,500 to purchase back my car.

The sales manager (Chris) said he couldn't replace the car under my current agreement or match my financial situation because it was my fault that I paid off so much of the car. In December when the car went back for the 4th repair/investigation and he looked at sourcing another car for me - he said he could only do something in another 48 new agreement (I have already paid 12 months of a 40 month agreement off, so only have another 28 payments to make), costing £30 a month more than I was paying and with a bigger balloon payment. I said this was unacceptable as it was not my fault that the car was faulty so I wasn't prepared to be that financially out of pocket. I have even offered to pay c. £1-2k to bridge the difference between a like for like nearly new car to replace my faulty one, but keep my finance agreement at the same status, but this has been rejected and no solution has been forthcoming.

I do not see why I should lose out on the FINANCE AGREEMENT because the DEALERSHIP has not been able to diagnose the fault for 5 months and the MANUFACTURER will not honour what they call their 'rejection policy' for an engine fault within the first 12 months of registration. This is frustrating, stressful and costing me money.

I have tried every avenue .. 1. The dealership - West Sussex Motors 2. Skoda UK 3. VW/Skoda finance (finance arranged through dealership) 4. Escalating to next level of Executive Skoda customer care 5. Trading Standards West Sussex 6. Reported to Watchdog (no response yet) 7. ditto Rip Off Britain

My final request in letter I wish to resolve this issue and I seek a replacement vehicle from Skoda or full and financial compensation by way of reimbursement for the cost of the car and finance agreement fees, deposit and payments made, including interest.

* end of letter*

UPDATE: 2/2/15 Skoda Finance rang after receiving my consumer credit act claim to say that I was out of time with 6 month error reporting legislation so they offered: 1. buy car off me and give me balance of equity - grand total of £1,230 2. do the same and Skoda would give me preferential deal on new car. (I wouldn't buy another Skoda now!)

Means I lose £7,500 cash and finance payments made this year - totally outrageous.

Also spoke to Tom Chadwick at Skoda UK Executive customer service today to say I was disgusted with service and remedy. Asked for a copy of the Skoda 'rejection policy'. He has refused to send me their manufacturer's new car 'rejection policy'. Apparently they do not have 'a duty of care' to send it as it's an internal policy. But they can use it AGAINST me to rationalize why they will NOT replace my 1 year owned new car with a head gasket/cylinder head failure (issue first reported to them 5 months ago and 5 repairs later). Congratulations on your transparent business practice Skoda. As per your 'Customer Promise. YOU DO NOT --Work competently and in [the customer's] best interests --Treat you as a valued individual and respect and care for your property.

And - being frustrated and taking all approaches available to me - posted a private message on Skoda UK via Facebook messenger...transcript goes as copied below: Skoda UK FB giving contradicting advice again....

Å KODA UK Chat conversation start Friday 31/1/15 18:09 Please could someone tell me how to get a copy of Skoda's 'rejection policy' on faulty new cars? I presume this is freely available to Skoda customers when they have a warranty issue. Thank you Louise Pickett Monday 16:12

Hello Louise,

Hope all is well. Are you having problems with your Å KODA? We're here to help if we can.

Thanks, Å KODA UK Monday 18:22 Yes, I'm experiencing problems and would like to obtain a copy of the rejection policy if you would kindly send me one? Thank you 8 hours ago

Hello Louise,

Contract of sales lies with the retailers. As our retailers work independently, they will have their own rejection policies.

If you're having problems, let us know a bit about the issue, along with your registration and a contact number. We can get a member of our customer services team to give you a call.

Thanks, Å KODA UK Hi - thank you for that. I have already spoken to the retailer and they have said that it is the Skoda manufacturer rejection policy that my car is under issue with. I am already in touch with your Customer Services but - just as now - I am receiving conflicting information. I have been told that there is a Skoda manufacturer rejection policy, and that's what I'm trying to get hold of. So, if you could please send me a copy of the Skoda manufacturer rejection policy, that would be much appreciated. 6 hours ago

Can you send us your contact phone number and registration, Louise? We need to talk to our team.

Thanks, Å KODA UK about an hour ago Tom Chadwick (escalated to 'Executive' customer care last week) already has the information. He has today declined to send me the Skoda UK rejection policy as it's not under your duty of care to share this with customers apparently. He advised me today that the policy is an internal document and that he will not send it to me. So much for transparent trading, the Skoda Customer Service Promise and any aspect Skoda/Skoda dealership/VWFS customer care. I am awaiting a further response tomorrow from VWFS and Tom Chadwick to resolve my complaint. If you can do anything to resolve this (after speaking to Tom Chadwick), please respond and I await your response. Thank you.

Awaiting another call from them tomorrow.

PLEASE HELP!!! I am totally stressed and exhausted - I am being shafted at every turn! It seems my last resort rather than lose so much money is to get them to fix the head gasket problem and take back a car that I REALLY don't want, don't trust and hate as a result of all this!

- lmjp, Littlehampton, West Sussex, UK

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