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Vauxhall’s Handbrake Problems Part 2

by Mr Butterscotch · 104 comments

in Maintenance & Breakdown, Safety & Security

Well, don’t say that we don’t care about you all, dear readers. This is especially the case when our cars disengage their handbrakes and simply smash into inanimate objects. To get an idea of how bad the damage can be, check out the photos below from one reader.

A smashed fence

The Vauxhall in question.
Naturally, I couldn’t just let this lie. So, I decided to find out what those at Vauxhall had to say. I didn’t get a response at first, but a little perseverance can go a long way. After a little while, I decided to take it further. To General Motor’s credit, I got a reply from Denis Chick, who is none other than the Director of Communications for GMUK (that’s the brands Hummer, Vauxhall, Saab, Cadillac, Corvette and Opel).

Here’s what he had to say:
“The Vauxhall handbrake story is well documented having been featured on Watchdog and in Which? magazine a number of times. The summary up front of the thread is rather ‘old news’ by now and contains errors.

Vectra has been dealt with as below.

On the Corsa, Watchdog informed us of every case that was brought to their attention so that we could investigate each one. They have informed us of less than 10 cases so to suggest that the Watchdog Corsa number is in triple figures is wrong. On Vectra there was a more significant number which enabled a much more detailed investigation. The consistency of the Vectra test results concluded that a service action was necessary on that model.

Attached are the statements relating to Vectra and Corsa. The Vauxhall retail network is well aware of the status on both models (clearly so on Vectra where the service action is in hand) so there is no need for a ‘stoney silence’, although again this may be historic and relating to the period before the company made the first formal statement.

On Vectra, the modification programme, which includes a new spring in the mechanism, is still underway but well through the bulk of the volume. On all Corsa investigations to date (on a relatively small number of vehicles) have found no fault with the handbrake mechanism. Long term tests are ongoing on this model.

You will note that we continue to suggest that when the vehicle is parked, along with the handbrake application, a gear should be selected.”

In reference to the Corsa handbrake statement from Watchdog, I have included this below. Bear in mind that this is only a statement of intent based on the cases that Watchdog have raised – which to my knowledge is not that many.


The Safety and Quality of Vauxhall products remains our highest priority. The action that we have taken on Vectra/Signum handbrakes demonstrates that we care about any potential issues arising with our products.
We will investigate the cases that Watchdog has raised on Corsa D.

Vauxhall also reconfirms that, at all times, when parking their vehicle on a slope, customers should continue to engage a gear when the vehicle is stationary, the handbrake is applied without depressing the release button and the engine is switched off, in line with the recommendations referenced in the owner’s manual and in the official Highway Code.
Vauxhall Motors Limited
April 2008

Let’s move on to the Vectra/Signum shall we? Once again, we have another statement. This time we’re looking at information from the Customer Satisfaction Programme. So, let’s take a look:

Statement on Vectra/Signum Handbrake Customer Satisfaction Programme – January 2008

Following a small number of complaints of Vectra and Signum vehicles rolling away due to allegedly ineffective handbrakes, Vauxhall Motors Limited engineers, along with consultant engineers, suppliers and other bodies, have conducted rigorous technical tests on those vehicles.

During its extensive test programme, Vauxhall reviewed a number of handbrake mechanisms and found that when the handbrake is applied by depressing the release button, it is possible to manipulate the handbrake mechanism so as to cause it to release partially.

Vauxhall advised customers in October 2007 that when parking their vehicle, customers should always apply the handbrake and engage a gear in line with the recommendations referenced in the owner’s manual and in the official Highway Code, especially when parking on a slope.

Vauxhall believes that the handbrake system used in the Vectra and Signum is safe, however, Vauxhall treats all matters relating to the safety of its products as its highest priority. In line with this priority and that of continuous improvement, Vauxhall has decided to implement, as a Customer Satisfaction Programme, a modification to the handbrake mechanism to reduce the possibility of a partial release when incorrectly setting the handbrake.

Owners of c250,000 manual transmission Vectra and Signum models (produced from 2002) will receive a letter from the company requesting that they contact their nearest retailer to arrange for the modification, at no cost to the customer. Vauxhall Motors Limited is launching this Customer Satisfaction Programme in agreement with the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), an executive agency of the Department of Transport. Note that this is not a safety recall.

Vauxhall reconfirms that, at all times, irrespective of the modification, when parking their vehicle on a slope, customers should continue to engage a gear when the vehicle is stationary, the handbrake is applied without depressing the release button and the engine is switched off, in line with the recommendations referenced in the owner’s manual and in the official Highway Code.

This Customer Satisfaction Programme will be carried out on a phased basis. Exact start timing will be based upon parts availability. Vectra and Signum owners who have concerns about their car should call Vauxhall Customer Service on 0845 090 2044 or via email at [email protected]

Vauxhall Motors Limited
January 2008

So there we have it. Does this mean that there are endemic problems with Vauxhall handbrakes in a number of their vehicles? Well, I don’t think that you can say that. Then again, perhaps there are enough complaints here alone for Vauxhall to take another look. Bear in mind that long term tests are ongoing, so there is still a chance for Vauxhall to hear your complaint. Please keep the comments coming in regards to this issue and I’ll provide more updates as and when we receive them.

{ 104 comments… read them below or add one }

Mr Butterscotch July 31, 2008 at 7:54 pm
mike lane September 6, 2008 at 6:03 pm

can anyone shed a light on if they have found a problem with rear tyres wearing into raised blocks and causing excess road noise on 56 plate vectra,s life or designs on 225/ tyreand if so what did you do to rectify
mike lane

matthew richardson September 10, 2008 at 12:29 pm

dear sirs
on the evening of 09/09/2008 having parked my car in the usual postion at the top of my driveway with hand brake on and tested as is the usual practise now being a vectra owner, then being informed by my neighbour three minutes later that my 05 vectra had slipped its moorings and careered down my drive crossed a road usually busy at 17.30 hrs and demolished my neighbours wall and part fence collecting numerous damage en route will vauxhall
pay my eccess insurance ,they did send me a sticker several months ago advising me to ensure the hand brake was engaged properly , as if we all park and decide not to engage our hand brakes willy nilly parking my car always had to consist of applying the hand brake then undergo several checks to affirm the same.

Matthew richardson

Mr Butterscotch September 12, 2008 at 3:01 pm

Dear Mike,

Your tyre wear issue sounds like it could be down to one of two things:

1) That your suspension bushes are worn and in need of replacement (puting more pressure on the tyre).

2) Wheel bearings might be at fault.

Should be an £80ish fix from an indie dealer, more than double that from Vauxhall direct.

Mr Butterscotch September 12, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Dear Matthew,

You say your car is an 05 – is it still therefore under the 3 year manufacturer warranty? If so there is an extremely good chance that Vauxhall will cover this (especially as, if the car is mechanically dubious, it would apparently lay the blame with them).

The best thing you can do is to contact them directly – and immediately to find out where you stand. If you can also get legal advice, it might be worth considering.

Of course, you could also write to the Citizens advice bureau and VOSA. Good luck!

John Taylor September 23, 2008 at 3:56 pm

I am a solicitor in Edinburgh acting in a claim for a lady whose Signum rolled back on her causing extensive crushing injuries and a fracture to her leg. I know of other cases in England and one fatality to a pedestrian due to a runaway Vauxhall. There are not just a few cases but a significant number and someone needs to be collating the information that I suspect others might prefer did not see the light of day

John Taylor

matthew rtichardson September 24, 2008 at 4:41 pm

Dear mr Taylor
you sound like just the man to champion our cause, if you can help leave a message and i will forward my e mail address, i for one think this is a travistry and we should all take a stand to have this problem investigated and resolved to our satisfaction ,not that of vauxhall and the puppets that pertain to be in our interest.

Yours Sincerely
Matthew Richardson

John Taylor September 24, 2008 at 5:01 pm

Dear Matthew
Just to assure everyone that I was not ambulance chasing – or perhaps Vectra chasing might be more appropriate !! My concern is that Vauxhall have tried to imply that there are very few such cases wheeras I have looked at several sites similar to this one, RAC, AA etc and they all have many complaints noted. The problem is greater in scope than Vauxhall would like us to believe. I am trying to find out how wide the problem is. The position Vauxhalls lawyers are adopting is that claimants are having trouble replicating the hand brake failure in tests therefor they have a problem proving that its a faulty design and so there is no liability on Vauxhall. In other words take your best shot at us in Court and see you there. Now if you have a, say , £600 bump are you going to litigate against a huge corporation with infinite resources to appeal etc? Probably you will just pay for the repair and go away – at least thats what they will bank on. In fairness its a card played by Insurers and Government all the time with claimants.

At the moment the problem is one of evidence but there are regulations relating to product liability which don’t require a claimant to show fault and I wonder if Vauxhall are hoping that is not raised as an issue with them?

My e mail address is [email protected] if you want to discuss this further.

Mr Butterscotch September 24, 2008 at 10:25 pm

Hi John,

Whilst we’re not about to become a clearing house for complaints for any one manufacturer, if there’s a genuine problem then we of course want to let Vauxhall users know about it. As such, if there’s anything to do in support of your work then let me know.

Kind regards,

Mr B

matthew rtichardson September 25, 2008 at 8:43 am

Dear Mr Butterscotch
i now have become an avid reader of your site and of course do not now feel alone in this wilderness of vauxhall mayhem ,and the problems and the financial aftermath these vehicles are alegedly causing , its either that or we all need to go to hand brake school NOW THERES A FUTURE BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY FOR SOME SMART MOTOR MANUFACTURER, sorry i digress thank you for your in terest in all our cases I for one have contacted the legal proffession and await futher instructions from the same HEY all you sufferers out there lets get to the bottom of this now.

Matthew R

John Taylor September 25, 2008 at 9:43 am

Dear Mr B

thanks for the assist. Good site by the way



matthew rtichardson September 27, 2008 at 6:25 pm

Dear Mr butterscotch
braking news ,
the iraq war is just friendly banter
the credit crunch is a figment of our imagination
the third world povety situation is only a glitch
president bush is in control
prime minister brown really will be our saviour
AND BEST OF ALL VAUXHALL CARS DO NOT HAVE A HAND BRAKE PROBLEM what was i worried about all these e-mails to and fro to your good self and other disilusioned fellow drivers who,s cars have decided to go for spin all on their own leaving us with untold joy i/e higher premiums and now no no claims bonus, im thrilled, well thats what i am left to think after my surprise e-mail from my car manufacturer, however we know the truth.

matthew a

anita.s October 5, 2008 at 2:03 pm

dear mr butterscotch,
i have a vectra(54 plate) which i use as a taxi.yesterday morning, i parked my car outside my house, which is on a moderate slope ,2 minutes or so after going in, the handbrake released itself, rolled off down the road and ploughed into my neighbours mercedes benz(which is now known as bent)which is probably written off, which is lucky (but not for my neighbour ) because if there isnt a car parked where his was, young children normally play which could have resulted in major injury or even death

Richard F November 8, 2008 at 11:00 pm

Was glad to find a site that shared my views after watching my girlfriend being dragged down our driveway by her corsa (08 plate). She previously had problems in work with the car moving in the car park and i also found that while pulling off the drive it tended to roll even when the hand brake was engaged fully. We finally contacted vauxhall after the car rolled back off our driveway taking my girlfriend with it (thankfully she was uninjured) and i managed to stop it a mere short hop to our neighbours front door. As the car door was open and there is a lampost at the bottom of our property, the drivers door ended up facing 180 degrees the wrong way causing extensive damage to the door frame and front wing! The very unhelpful chap on the phone seemed clueless as to why this could have happened and advised us to bring the car in to the service department where they will perform extensive testing. I will update when we hear more.

TJ November 20, 2008 at 5:04 pm

My girlfriend’s Tigra has been having handbrake problems for some time and eventually came crashing into a tree earlier this week when the handrake failed completely. The Vauxhall dealer claim that there are no issues with he Tigra handbrake but our latest eppisode seems to contradict this claim. Are there any other Tigra owners out there having the same problem? We’ve been left with the repair bill but this is surely Vauhall’s liability. Can anyone offfer any advice?

JJ December 31, 2008 at 6:04 pm

I have a Vauxhall Corsa 1.7 SXI CDTI type D. I parked the car outside the gates at the end of the drive. Roughly 30-45mins after parking it there we saw the car coming down the driveway at a considerable rate and ended up crashing into the house. This has caused approximately caused £10,000 worth of damage to the house and £1,000 worth of damage to the car. This is the second time the handbrake has released itself. This incident has considerably affected my insurance premium for next year. I phoned Vauxhall the first time who denied all knowledge that there was any problem with the handbrake and that this is the first time that they have heard of such a problem. After being persisting with phone calls I spoke to someone who said that they are fully aware of the problem and they would like to get my car in as soon as possible so that Vauxhall engineers can test the handbrake mechanism. I have now been told by my insurance company that they wish to look into this matter further and take legal action against Vauxhall.

sam fernandes January 22, 2009 at 12:20 pm

a fantastic information for information seeker

wayne hillier February 19, 2009 at 1:13 pm

hi i have a vectra and on two occasions in 2008 the handbrake disengaged itself causing considerable damage to the car and a neighbors front garden i contacted vauxhall on both incidents after the first they said how sorry they were to hear that it had happened but they had tested the handbrake and found no faults with the system on vectras after the second incident three months after the first i contacted them again and they stated that they were going to pass it on to their legal dept ? and get back to me now today i have received the recall for my car to go and get a spring thingy to the handbrake in accordance with vosa this after their extensive testing programme my point is i am 610 pounds out of pocket from the 2 insurance claims (excess) would i have some sort of case to claim this back as surely they are now admiting that there is a problem with the handbrake


Mr Butterscotch February 19, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Hi Wayne,

I’m afraid to say, there was in fact a product recall on your car, if you have a Vectra that meets the VIN start/end date contained here:

You should certainly be eligible for some sort of compensation I would imagine given that you were told originally (after the first claim) that there no faults.

Suggest you take this up with VOSA and find out what their view is on the matter.

samantha t February 22, 2009 at 12:02 am

my partner has an 05 vectra and his car rolled off down our road the other and hit a lamp post, which then in turn fell towards the car. this has left us having to pay £550 excess and my partner loosing his no claims bonus when he was’nt even in the car. i dread to think what would have happened if someone was walking past because you would not be able to hear it coming. if the wheels were pointing in a different direction the car would have ended up in my neighbours front room. do you think it would be possible to claim back the excess paid as its NOT our fault?

Mr Butterscotch February 22, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Hi Samantha,

Unfortunately, the only way that you can get the excess back is if the car was sold with a known fault and no attempt was made (if your model falls within the recall period) to contact you to rectify the problem.

Check the VOSA search I linked to and see if this is the case. They should be able to advise you further in this case.

Lee Isherwood April 8, 2009 at 3:10 pm

I have a 55 plate SRi CDTI Vectra and I too have experienced this mysterious roll and unfortunately this caused significant damage to my car.. This happened in Sept 2008 and I to this day I am adament my handbrake was applied with enough force and explained this to insurers, recovery etc..

No idea if my car was recalled or is affected..

carwyn iles April 17, 2009 at 7:17 pm

Left our Vauxhall Vectra est.(07) plate parked on a slight incline in a cemetery on the 22/1/09. It was parked for approx 20mins plus and then gently rolled away – with the hand brake still applied -coming to rest on a grave stone causing damage to the gravestone and the said Vectra. After being repaired, examined, and numerous correspondence with Vauxhall they, surprisingly, say they have no faults with their hand brakes. I will endevour never to purchase a G.M. motor vehicle again. I think their executive support dept. are like an osterich with their head in the sand.

wayne hillier April 18, 2009 at 6:59 pm

Hi just to let you know that i have had no joy with vauxhall as they state they will not reimburse my excess and their position on this will not change so needless to say i am dissapointed with their stance so the vauxhall has gone and i will never buy another also the depreciation on their cars is almost criminal

J A Heathwood April 26, 2009 at 8:03 am

Hi just been looking at a lot of different sites about the hand brake problem .Ive got a different story last week my wife parked her car a 2003 vetra on a hill she parked it in gear with the hand brake on and walked of the car sat as normal but when she came back she thought that some one had stole it with the amount demage done to it it is close to be written off But when she checked the hand brake lever was on the on position. A passer buy told her the car just started to move on its own

Arron May 12, 2009 at 1:21 pm

well all ur storys are funny my handbrake broke on me as i pulled it up but it a bit older than all these just stressed i gotta go garage and pay for it when it should not have broke

wayne hillier May 20, 2009 at 5:43 pm

Hi just an update the vauxhall has gone long live the audi

amanda sarsfield May 27, 2009 at 9:04 pm

hi my name is amanda and i owned a vauxhall zafira ,
i was unloading my car and wilst i was taking plants into my house my 6 year old son went into the car to get a toy. my 8 year old son shut the back childlocked door while his brother was still in the car, as he could not get out he climbed over stepping on the hand brake which realesed and and went rolling down the road. the car crashed into a neighbours wall and gate nearlly killing my son. luckily my son was not hurt.
if there are problems with vauxhall hand brakes people sould be warned of this, i never leave my car in gear but after this i will .

Katie Brooks July 1, 2009 at 9:29 pm

I have an 2005 Astra SRI 1.9, I bought it July 2007, it lasted five months before it started to play up. The turbo system failed almost causing a crash at a roundabout; the driver seat slid forward when breaking; and the alarm kept sounding without anyone being near it; then the alarm indicator lights would come on and off but no alarm siren. The central locking would unlock itself, I would lock the car in the evening and it would be unlocked in the morning. Vauxhall fixed the seat (which has now broken again) after taking it in two more times they fixed the turbo systerm (which is now showing signs of failing again) and the alarm and central locking they said had no fault shown, however I asked for the mechanic fault sheet it showed there was a fault with the alarm and central locking and they allowed it out of the garage without fixing it and didn’t tell me about it.
As if all that is not bad enough my handbrake released on the car and rolled off my driveway and a stranger who was almost hit by the car had to knock at my door and tell me he saw it roll across the busy road and smash into an electrial box. I contacted Vauxhall and they requested the CCTV footage as they didn’t believe my statement, then they said it wasn’t enough, so I tracked down the man who knocked at the door who is willing to provide a witness statement (he is pretty upset the car almost hit him), Vauxhall said they are unwilling to look at his witness statement and say they are not liable as i didn’t leave it in gear. My car has since released its handbrake with myself inside the car (while on a flat surface so I didn’t put it in gear).
This is by far the worse car I have had. I have a 5 year finance and no warranty left and a dangrous car which can kill someone. If anyone has any advice please help by leaving a comment or even your own experience if you’ve been succesful as Vauxhall state “we have not received significant feedback to warrant a recall being issued for this concern”.

Jackie Key July 17, 2009 at 8:50 am

Interested to read this Email trail. Last night I visited a car park on a slope. Locked the car stood outside for a few mins went into the shop. As I was coming out caught sight of the car rolling back into another car. My car is 8 weeks old, corsa diesel 1.3. The back bumper is ruined.This is the first time I’ve had a brand new car. I at least expected it to be safe. What if it had rolled onto a child! I’m now off to the dealers but don’t expect to get any joy……..

Katie Brooks July 17, 2009 at 11:28 am

Hi Jackie,
Vauxhall first question will be did you leave it in gear? answer is probably no. But don’t let them tell you there are not liable because of this. Your car is not fit for it’s purpose if they refuse to fix it whilst it’s in it’s warranty period. Did you get any witness’s at the time? This problem with the handbrake is an ongoing one especially with Corsa’s. Although the Vauxhall mechanics will tell you they can’t find a problem because it’s a intermittant fault. They Void there financial agreement if they refuse to fix it within the warranty period. Like I said its not fit for it’s purpose. If you get no joy with Vauxhall, go direct to trader standards/ consumer direct they are called now and the financial ombudsman and VOSA, your call is not safe and needs to be repaired or recalled, most of the Corsa have been recalled because of this problem, watchdog did a piece on it. Dont let them get away with telling you the highway code and drivers manual tells you to leave it in gear. Because the highway code says leave it in gear on a hill (not slope) and the drivers manual states leave it in gear all the time but this is under the advice section not the compulsory section. Don’t let them bully you.
If you need any help just let me know.


liz Pycroft July 27, 2009 at 5:01 pm

To whom it may concern

I would like to log a complaint with the Vauxhall Astra I have.
I have been researching on the Internet and found you to be a good source of information.

I bought my 56 reg sxi astra about 4 months ago.When i first got it after the ‘ so many point checks’ the dealers do, the seat belt on the passenger side didn’t work. I took it back and they did fix it. To be honest not the point seeing as they obviously didn’t do the ‘ so many point’ check before we took ita way.

We have since had it in twice. Once on record and them having a look at it and once someone oming out of the garage to have a quick look. This is all with Wilson and Co, Bolton, who we bought it from.

We stated that it doesn’t start in the morning on most occasions and have to turn the engiene over a few times before it starts. When it does it sounds like there is trapped air in it and it cuts out again.
On the occasion it has cut out at the lights, not many times but surly 56 reg shouldnt be doing this.

When we were away on holiday at the end of June the car would not start full stop. And we had to jump start it!!

Since then when i am driving it ( when it does start) there is a gurgling coming from what seems like under the dash board behinf the steering wheel.
I have had vauxhall look at this aswell and they cannot find anything wrong with it.
They did say the coolantw as low so advised me to top it up, when i do top it up it is low again in a matter of days- no air con on either.

And now the cherry on the cake:

I park the car outside the house one evening last week as normal. Got up in the morning, opened curtains, car still there outside the window. Go to get ready and then set out the door to go to work…car not there!

Instead its 20 meters or so down the road and crashed into a wall. The handbrake to me works fine, to which i was botherd i hadn’t but it on right, but surly it would of gone down the road sooner than what it had done.

Now it looks a mess. The alloy has been completely demolished inside, And behind the brakes (the axil i have been told) is completely split. Not to mension paintwork damage front and back of the car where it had slide into things and the wall.

After reading up on it on the internet i have found alot of people having the same probem with the new astras and i would like to look into it more.

I understand to go through my insurance but i dont want to do that if it is a manufacturers fault.

Please is there anything you can advise me.

Here is what im doing so far:

* Tomorrow it is being picked up by the garage i use fo them to have an independant look.
* I will then have Samson Bolton have a look and see hwat they think-they work with my insurance company.
*I am to log a complaint to my finance company – Northridge finance.
* I am to log a complaint to Wilson and Co and take in the articles i have on astra defaults and see what they have to say.

Bit unsure what else to do, Please could you help??

Kindest Regards

Liz Pycroft

anita shadbolt July 29, 2009 at 2:27 pm

i wrote in an article dated 5th october about my car also my taxi going off down the road because the handbrake released itself. because this was a fault claim on my insurance( because vauxhall would not accept liability )my insurance has doubled, i am now having to pay £2000 a year. i would like to know if they have admitted liability to anyone with a dodgy handbrake

John Milbank July 31, 2009 at 10:56 am

If other models have the same design of handbrake then they too have the same defect.
These people do not understand that you are keeping them in business by complaining and letting them fix it.
You should boycott Vauxhall and kill them off. There are plenty of alternative makes including some which are made the UK.

Margaret ell August 3, 2009 at 9:56 am

My grandsons Corsa 53 reg. rolled down the hill
this week and damaged a lamp post. The car had been parked with the handbrake on and in gear on an incline. The car had been parked for approximately 1/2 hours before rolling down the hill.
God only knows how it missed the other cars in the road. The car has a current MOT certificate and had a service earlier this year. How in goodness does this happen ?

C.Anderson September 4, 2009 at 8:32 am

Yet another parking brake disaster by the looks of it…I bought my car in March 09 and at no time was aware of any issue with the parking brake. Yesterday the car having been parked on a slope for 25 minutes decided to disengage and rolled down the road into a parked car and apparently continued to travel…. Thank god children are back at school as the story could have been so different.

Bought secondhand from a car company shouldn’t this “modification” and or “sticker” that is talked about have been in place?

Any advice?

Richard Scheibenstock September 21, 2009 at 11:15 pm

I have hired a smart 2F and also parked this car on a slope.The Handbrake was fully engaged ,yet the car roled back down the slope 1.1\2 hrs.later
onto a neighbouring house causing extensive damage.I an left Eueo 400.00 out of pocket and I know it is not my fault.When do insurance companies wake up to this problen.The driver of my tow truck ,just loughed and said “just another one,
always the same,handbrake on ,car rolled back.

Katie November 22, 2009 at 1:36 pm

I’m so gald to have found this site! i own a vauxhall tigra which i love. unfortunatly while visiting my parents and paking my car on their driveway which has an incline my handbreak failed, luckly only causing damage to my car and not the house. i booked it into to vauxhall only to be told that ‘they find females struggle to pull the handbreak fully’ then whilst sat in my car today paked on the flat the handbreak compltly disengaged by itself. i’m at a loss as to what to do if vauxhall are not admitting liabilty and really can’t afford to fix my car at at least £600. I’m now scared to park my car anywhere, anyone any advice?

Mr Butterscotch November 24, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Hi Katie,

There are plenty of other comments here from others who have had similar problems. I am completely shocked and disgusted at the comment re ‘females struggle to pull the handbrake fully’. I wonder what trading standards have to say about that? Do you have any documentation or evidence of this statement? It would certainly help with any claim you may have. The fact is, if a motor vehicle cannot be operated in the conventional manner by a reasonable able person who is legally fit to drive I’m pretty sure that some sort of consumer protection law will have been broken!

Rich January 28, 2010 at 8:09 pm

I parked my 56 reg astra estate in the carpark of the local police station last weekend. I left the car on a gentle slope having applied the handbrake in a similar way to how I always do, with plenty of clicks. I got my two year-old son out of the car and went into the station.

When I came out, the car had rolled and damaged the rear bumpers of two cars belonging to coppers who were working at the time. Miraculously, my bumper was practically undamaged, which is one thing I can say for Vauxhall; the rear bumber on the 56 reg astra estate is extremely robust, shame the handbrake locking system isn’t…

I just couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked into the car and it looked very much like the handbrake was down in the ‘off’ posiion. My first instinct, like so many before it seems, was that I had somehow forgotten to apply it. I told one of the officers that I had been sure I had applied the break, she said, ‘Well, of course you did, otherwise the car wouldn’t have stayed where it was when you got out would it?’ That’s when it twigged.

My car’s second hand and still under warranty, I want to approach the garage where I bought the car with this but I really wanted to go to them with some ammo. Is there any new news on a possible recall for this particular car? I tried citizen’s advice and they weren’t a great deal of help. At the very least, I would like the garage to replace the spring. I’ve only had my easytronic for a short time, I wasn’t actualy aware that I could leave it in gear as I’m used to autos which have a ‘P’ mode for parking. It’s all very well leaving a car in gear, which I am doing now, but does this advice imply that Vauxhall do not think cars need to have handbrakes anymore? If so, why do we have them?

simon evans March 22, 2010 at 10:12 pm

What a Monday.. turned up for work at the normal time of 730am for enough time for a cuppa.
I parked my car (2007 vectra cdtisri150)on a slight hill and sat in the car for 5 minuites before getting out i went over to speak too speak to my boss on the carpark then went into the canteen for a brew. I was then greeted to someone telling me my car had gone through the store window it was lucky the store was closed!!! as it mounted the kerb first. does this just happen on older models or on the new ones too????

matthew a March 24, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Hi simon sorry to YOUR tale of woe firstly for owning a vauxhall secondly for the now common hand brake failure
This happens to all vectras weather new or old ‘(NEW STYLE ‘)

Daniel June 22, 2010 at 9:59 pm

I arrived home tonite at 16.45. Parked my 2002 astra out side my apartment an went inside. At 19.00 the door bell rings. The man at the door informs me that my car has rolled 50 metres down the steep street (where I left it 2 hours earlier), gone across the busy high street , smashed into a moving car with two occupants inside, then carried on across the busy main road mounted the pavement opposite the entrance to my street and finished up smashing into the a shop front. How this incident didn’t kill any one is beyond me. I need to take this further so if any one one has any advice please let me know. The front of my car is unrecognisable and wouldn’t be at all surprised if the insurance company right it off.

A Heathwood June 23, 2010 at 8:33 am

Hi Daniel
My wife’s car done something similar she has a 2003 Vectra she parked on a
hill near where we live to do some shopping and when she came back some time
later it had rolled down the hill crossed the road and hit someone’s house
the police tried to say that she had not engaged the hand brake properly
but to be honest if this was the case it would have never stayed at all the
fact it was a female was a good chance to blame her then it turns out that
the Vectra’s where recalled for a vault with the hand brake they are now
telling you to put the hand brake on without using the button and park in
gear which my wife always did but the car ran away back wards and jumped the
compression its seams that Vauxhall are saying that there is a vault but
wont be held responsible for what happens we where just in the money scale
by £50.00 or they would have scraped it, from reading the items I’m getting
about these car’s Vauxhall are still selling cars with this vault. I have a
few photo’s I’ll send you. If I can be of any help just get touch


jamal June 29, 2010 at 11:02 pm

RE – Handbrack fault
i just got my new 10 plate Astra SRI, i have had the car 3 weeks. i got it from the showroom so i know it is new and not used.
4 day ago i parked the car on a side road just of a busy high street, 2 hours later i came to cheque the car was ok and it was, i then came back 1 hour later to find my car had rolled back across the high street in to the side street on the pavment weged between a lap post and a wall.
has anyone else had this problem with the new Astra????

Eileen Clark August 6, 2010 at 4:15 pm

I have purchased a 2008 Vauxhall Tigra 2 weeks ago. It was parked on my driveway with the handbrake on. The vehicle was fine at 5.30 when parked, and was again checked at 11.00 when going to bed. My niece woke up to find it had rolled into my garage, and went out to check if auntie had left the handbrake off, she came in to tell me not to worry as the handbrake was fully on and should be covered under my warranty as it had failed. This however does not seem to be the case, my niece has taken pictures of this, somebody please point us in the right direction, we have filled out a vosa form and contacted the garage we got the vehicle from, what else can we do? xx

Jane Dingley August 10, 2010 at 9:45 am

I received my new 2010 plate Vauxhall Corsa yesterday (built June 28th 2010) I sat in it for a short while, adusting mirrors etc, pulled the handbreak FULLY up . Locked the car, and stood at side of road for a short time. The car was parked on a very small incline. Then I heard Bumph!!!!!The car then started rolling slowly down the hill about into the back of the car infront, I tried to slow it down (I had only had it 20 mins and kept thinking about how much it would cost me!!! Having 7 years no claims!!)I got wedged between the two cars and was stuck!! Luckily I had my mobile in my pocket and rang the police. A postman walked by a moment later and helped me push the car forward and pulled the handbreak on and put it in first gear. He said the handbreak was completely down.
The car in fronts bodywork was slightly pushed in due my body pushing on it . I was taken to A&E by the police and the physio said I was lucky not to have broken my kneecap!!! I have bruises all over and am hobbling. Have had to have time off work. Vauxhall have checked the car and say nothing is wrong with the handbreak. Funny how cars made between Sept 2009 and 25th may 2010 were recalled because there may be a fault with the handbreak, which might lead to a sudden loss of handbreak function at anytime!!!!!!! My car was made after this date and apparently has been fully checked.
I now have to pay up for damages for the other car, and take the car back. I am scared to drive it , and think will get AA to do an independant check on the handbreak. Any other ideas?

Katie August 10, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Hi Jane,

My advice is return the car straight away, you should have at least 7 days cooling off period if it was bought with finance. You certainly have a good reason to return it. Do not delay returning it, you will be stuck with it otherwise. Do not bother getting AA to look at it, as it is an intermittant fault thet can not be found easily if at all, you will just be wasting more money and time. I wish I had never bought from Vauxhall but I never will again, it’s all there car have major design fault on safety equipment. I recommend Seat Ibiza they’re stylish and reliable, good on fuel and good on insurance, excellent on price and their safety equipment actually works, without an aid from the gear box.

Take it back now!!!!! otherwise spend the next 5 years wishing you had taken it back.

Best of luck


Bucky August 28, 2010 at 3:59 pm

I parked my 55 plate Astra on a hill this morning, applied the handbrake and got out to put money in the nearby parking meter. Was shocked to hear my alarm go off and even more shocked, when I turned round, that the car had begun to roll backwards down the hill. Despite managing to catching up with my car it was really shifting and I could do nothing to stop it speeding away and smashing into a lamp post 100 yards down the hill.

Alan W September 11, 2010 at 7:11 pm

Parked my 07 astra 1.6 estate outside our house Thursday evening. Came out half an hour later – no car . It had rolled down the street about 50 metres and hit a low wall – damaged wall and very damaged car. I know the handbrake was properly applied. I am gutted, especially when I now know so many others have had the same problem. How many innocent people have to die before Vauxhall do something ?

mike lane November 14, 2010 at 7:20 pm

can anyone advise me as to why my 56 vectra has developed a problem with the offside front electric window the two stage operation of the switch has stopped so the switch only shuts or opens the window by holding down the switch, also the auto lock on the windows when locking with the remote has also stopped,, thanks mike

Tracey Moulder February 8, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Just before Christmas I had a letter from Vauxhall advising me of a recall on the handbrake for my vectra – I have a 2003 vectra, which I have owned for 3 years without any handbrake porblems. On the 6th Jan I took it to the vauxhall garage and had the work carried out.
4 weeks later (today) my car with the handbrake fully on, but not in gear, rolled out of it’s parking space and into a hedge, the handbrake was still fully on and seems to be working fine (although I will now be double checking it is in gear). Anyone else had a problem since the recall work?

John Taylor February 9, 2011 at 11:43 am

There is a Court action running in the Court of Session (Scotlands High Court) against Vauxhall in respect of a runaway Vectra with alledged faulty hand brake. Might be worth keeping tabs on it and outcome.

MR.RONALD LAMPARD. February 12, 2011 at 12:15 am

dear sir.i.have a vauxhall 1.7. 2 weeks.old. i.have been driving cars-for 60yrs the car is a pleasure to drive but the handbrake button has taken
the pleasure out of driving it.. i.wonder who’s bright idea was to install
this stupid button. dissapointed . ronnie..

mr g milly February 17, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Dear sirs i have a vauxhall vivaro 2900 2008 plate your handbrake problem isn,t just on the cars my minibus cable failed also we replaced two clutches a brand new engine all the gearlinkage all this on a 2.5 year old minbus we,ve contacted vauxhalls about 10 times but we,ve had no joy all we get of them is its not covered by our warrenty lastley does anybody have any info on cam chain faliures on the vivaro it would help our case against GMUK thanks G milly

Deb Casson March 6, 2011 at 8:05 pm

I bought my 2010 plate Vauxhall Astra on 10th February. On Saturday I left it parked on an incline as I have on several occasions in the last three weeks that I have owned the vehicle. When I came back to the car I discovered that it had rolled down the hill and smashed into a wall. The handbrake was fully engaged and still fully engaged after the impact. Very luckily nobody was injured. There is significant damage to the vehicle. I would be very grateful for any advice. Has anyone had any luck with dealers taking the car back, or agreeing to finance all repairs? Any advice you have have would be very much appreciated.

mathew March 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Dear Deb
Again i have to write to say HOW UNFORTUNATE you have been with your vauxhall Please read my earlier comments, however my advice is repair the car sell it, YOU will receive nothing from vauxhall except distain and excuses of how you have been carless in in your driving style,From VOSA this QUANGO toothless money dispensing agency you will receive Nothing, from the press Trading standards you will receive Nothing, Sorry deborah you are on your own make your own
decision as to your next move.

Lyndsay Smith April 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm

can anyone help me I bought a vauxhall zafira a month ago and today it rolled down a hill crashing into 2 cars. (luckily no one was hurt) I had parked up and 10 minutes later it rolled down the hill. The police were called and confirmed my handbrake was still up can anyone shed some light on this?

Bev ANDERSON April 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Hi I have a vauxhall Tigra Exclusive, snce day one I have had problems with the handbrake. I cannot park this on a Hill or Slope with out is running away, with the alleged handbrake on! I have had two services and have mentioned this to the vauxhall garage both times, but it still will not hold on a hill, slope or incline of any kind. I have today just had an MOT by an independant garage, not a vauxhall garage and have ben advised that and I quote: ” Yiur prking brake has only just me the legal require park brake efficancy. It would appear that the braking system requires adjustment or repair”.

I cannot believe that a major part on my car needs this after two service and is an 08 plate will be speaking with VAUXHALL.

Mr Butterscotch April 16, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Hi Bev,

Let us know how you get on when speaking to Vauxhall.


Mr B

bev anderson April 18, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Dear Mr B

I have just taken a call from Chrystal at Vauxhall customer care centre. I have been advised to take my car into a dealership to have it looked at? I advised that would be unhappy to pay for any work to be carried out as this seems to be a common fault in vauxhall cars, and that I have paid for 2 previous services in which this should have been picked up. Cyrstal was very polite and said that she could not comment, and that vauxhall are not aware of any problems with handbrakes, and that there is no recall of vehicles in place? I have been given a customer number. I advised her of the blog regarding vehicles and she was very patronising in her answer, however I adviced her that I was not an uneducated person and understood how the internet and blogs work, of course there are good and bad points to any argument, but we are mere individual consumers not a multi national organisation.

I have also advised her that I am willing to take this further and speak with trading standards, watchdog local MP and other media outlets. We now need to seriously start a campaign re this handbrake situation, why should any further incident be to the detriment of the consumer and not the manufacturers.

matthew R April 18, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Dear Mr B
Have you not read an of my earlier postings
You can take your gripe to anyone Anywhere you might as well take it to the moon Vauxhall do not want to know
Sorry but this genuine Its now 18 months since i e mailed the local mp in the luton area she must be veeeeeeeeery busy the response from all concerned is deafening SILENCE ssssssshhhhhhh you can hear the tumbleweeds rolling through the vauxhall plant DON,T MENTION HANDBRAKES TO ANYONE OUTSIDE THESE GATES

David Alexander May 12, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Hi all,
Guess what? 2010 model of vauxhall Corsa has ended up in a garden at the end of my street and after hitting a tree on the way down has cause quite a bit of damage. Taking it to vauxhall in the morning to get them to pay for the damage. I know they won’t yet but anyone got any advice. My 1 year old son could have been in the car and i live on a hill and it would be impossible for me to NOT leave my handbrake on.
I will keep you posted once I have been to the dealers in the morning. Oh and they would not take the car in until next week. Alot of swearing and ranting and hey presto I get to choose a time for them to look at it the very next day. Result 1 to me.

Paul June 6, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Just been to the shops…came out and my car had gone. It had rolled down a hill onto the pavement and hit a dustbin.
The car has a damaged light…a few dents.
Spoke to Peter Vardy Vauxhall in Aberdeen who told me to phone Vauxhall…who say my model deosnt have a recall note and to book it in for a check with Peter Vardy
Its a 60 plate Corsa Energy

Mr W June 8, 2011 at 8:22 pm

We have well maintained Astra 05 (serviced 2 mths ago by Vauxhall garage) and parked on sloped driveway. Handbrake was definitely engaged properly and in gear. Few minutes later handbrake gave loud click and disengaged – luckily we were still in car whilst it happened and both grabbed handbrake and pulled it up again. Took to Vauxhall garage to get checked – no fault found and they hadn’t heard of anyone else with this problem. They obviously haven’t read the blogs on the net! We were lucky compared to others but won’t be parking on any slopes/hills if we don’t have to! Lost all confidence in the car now.

Doreen Hannigan June 30, 2011 at 6:28 pm

I am a registered disabled woman–my motability car had to go to have work done on it–I was given a Vaukshall Astra courtesy car with electric handbrake, I did’nt feel confident with this so living up a steep drive made sure the red parking P was on and left in first gear after stopping the engine. Half an hour after leaving it this evening my door bell rang, a lady with two little children said my car had just gone backwards down my drive into a wall the other side of the road. I got the Keys and asked her to wittness that handbrake red P was still on and still in first gear—I shudder to think of what could have happened—-A A will be taking the car back to the Hire company.

sarah July 1, 2011 at 7:43 pm

i own a 57 plate corsa d and have some problems with it first the mirror keeps moving on its own and facing the floor

i started the car up and it went to 2000 revs and stuck on bout 2mins it dropped and then did the same at 1000 revs

and all so i was driving to work i then went to brake from 40 mph and it wouldnt stop it kept going it was like the cruse control was on but it wasnt i was just wondering if any body had come accros this it really scared me

Mandy Kennett July 26, 2011 at 1:08 pm

I to have a 10 plate Vauxhall Astra. mine was parked on a hill with myself and my 3 yr old Grandson sitting in the car, engine turned off talking to someone for about 5 or so minutes. I then got out of the car to get something out of the boot and the car started rolling down the hill with my grandson in. It stopped when it had hit something and damaged the back bumper quite badly. Vauxhall have told me theycan not find a fault with the car, it had been back to them for this and several other items over the last 4 or 5 months, Vauxhall Customer service have been keeping track of it all, and the dealer we brought the car from has been as much use as a chocolate fire guard. The handbrake failed again yesterday while hubby was in the car and is currently back in the garage now. Legal advice has been taken and am currently waiting for call from the dealers. Pi** off big time.

Fraser July 26, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Hi Mandy – hope your Grandson is ok?

Unfortunately with 70 comments on this page and over 300 here

the problem does seem to be more widespread than Vauxhall will acknowledge. Keep us up to date with your progress.

Mandy Kennett July 26, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Grandson was fine thanks, lucky enough was still in car seat strapped in.

car has been in garage since this morning as throttle stuck on high revs last night. Hubby kept revving it last night to see what happened and while doing this handbrake released again! Spoke to garage at 2pm and they said they had found a problem with the throttle and would call me back in an hour as the perosn delaing with was at lunch. Lo and behold they have just called back and have said there is not a problem!!!!!

Have tweeted and guess what got a reply immediately asking me to email them.

watch this space.

Fraser July 26, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Glad no-one was hurt. Hope you manage to get it sorted.

John Taylor July 26, 2011 at 3:03 pm

There are at least 2 court actions in Scotland now relating to the alleged uncommanded release of the hand brake on Vauxhall vehicles and at least one case should be at trial by the end of this year. I strongly suggest anyone interested should keep an eye out for developments in these actions, preferably through a solicitor. I can not say more I am afraid but anything thats said in court etc is a matter of public record. I’d keep an eye on this.

Mandy Kennett July 26, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Oh the joy. Car is back from garage, they found a fault when trying the throttle, but it didnt show up on the machine as a fault, so they wont replace any parts as they wont get the money back from Vauxhall if they cant show a fault. Hubby asked them when they would do something – would it have to be when the car rolls down a hill and hits someone, or when the throttle sticks on and the car wont stop! what a bloody joke.

conquest August 12, 2011 at 4:23 pm

well im picking my car up on wednesday 17/08/2011 11 plate new vauxhall astra
lets see what happen’s keep you informed

Eelco September 1, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Not sure whether my story is related to the above, but I hired an Opel (so not a Vauxhall) Astra in Ireland last week. At one point, I parked it on the handbrake on a VERY gently sloping surface. Got back to the place where it was parked, only to find out that it had rolled backwards into a small lake (fortunately shallow). The interesting part is that the whole episode was captured on CCTV. I have a clip from that CCTV footage, starting at 14:40 hours (seeing it stationary) and you can see that it starts to roll back by itself at 15:29:41 hours….fortunately at that point in time, there were no people around (there were in the minutes leading up to that moment, so I thank God that it didn’t crash into somebody).

John Taylor September 2, 2011 at 9:13 am

Eelco – sorry to hear about that. Opel vehicles use the same hand brake as Vauxhall ones. The are all made by the same European sub contractor. See the above post regarding Scottish Court actions. Despite what Vauxhall say publically there does appear to be a problem and if anyone has suffered a loss I would strongly suggest they refer matters to a solicitor and refer that solicitor to the solicitor dealing with the Scottish actions for a professional consulatation.

H Barns September 20, 2011 at 2:02 pm

My Vauxhall Corsa 60 plate went into the local dealer last week due to a brake bearing recall. I have just been advised by the same garage that there is now a handbrake recall on the car (pity they didn’t know about it when it was in there 5 days ago). This is the first I knew about brake problems (or any) on Vauxhalls and am hoping it’s the last.

Mandy October 9, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Great news for me as finally got a result and Vauxhall have brought our car back from us. Feels like a huge weight has been lifted off our shoulders and am just so pleased that the 10 month nightmare we have had is over.

Mark November 15, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Hi, I own an 04 Vectra SRi 120, I have had an on going problem with the n/s rear calliper seizing. I have replaced the part 4 times now and it has just seized again! The cables, disks, pads and Flexi hoses are new as well. The callipers seem to last about 6-8 weeks. Has anyone else had similar problems? The Issue seems to be related to the handbrake and the point of failure has been identified as the operating lever on the calliper. Any replies would be gratefully received.

John Marsh December 20, 2011 at 10:30 am

We have a French Reg 2001 Opel Astra 1.7tdi brake. This week it had a recall, we took it into the local Opel dealer, where we bought it from in May 2008 (Pontivy, Morbihan) and left it there for an hour, when we returned we were given the keys and told it was ready. We have no idea what the recall concerned or whether any work was required or carried out. Have you any information as to what the recall is all about? We are quite concerned as we have no paperwork to say the vehicle has been checked. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks John.

philip smith February 5, 2012 at 7:12 pm

my 10 plate vauxhall astra has been back to the garage now twice with a seized right back driver side break seizure .It appears when the weather is cold the handbreak seizes .I drove only two miles from work and my wheel was smoking . It went to garage stripped down and could find nothing .drove next day same and same happend .not fun at 4.00am when leaving work .it is now in garage awaiting technichaal advice from vauxhall .I spoke to my son in law and he said his engineers have the saffira and are experiencing the same thing on them .they have to wait for it to defrost .does anyone else have the same problem as we are getting fobbed off .

Alec Williams February 8, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Have in the last few days received a letter from Vauxhall informing me that due to a small number of instances there words not mine my vehicle Vectra Sri 150 is being recalled to check with regards to handbrake mechanisum issues,it goes onto say that when the handbrake is incorrectly applied it may partially release.My drive is on quite a steep incline have never trusted the handbrake since i purchased the car on numerous occasions when getting into the it has moved looked down at the handbrake appears to be fully on,luckly no serious incidents!.

John Taylor February 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Dear Alec and others
Vauxhalls position as established at Court is that certain of their models can have an uncommanded release of the handbrake allowing the vehicle to run away if not left parked in gear. They deny any responsibility or liability saying that this only happens when the driver fails to apply the handbrake correctly. ?!? They say that according to their hand book the hand brake must be applied WITHOUT USING THE HAND BRAKE RELEASE BUTTON (my emphasis)

They say that if the hand brake is just firmly pulled on (thats when you get that grating niose from the internal ratchet) then the hand brake will not release itself. By using the hand brake release button the internal mechanism can fail to engage properly leading to a possible release unde certain conditions. They say that is a misuse of the handbrake and consequently they are not liable.

That does not seem to me to be a satisfactory position though Vauxhall seem satisfied with it and litigation is continuing. They have instructed their dealerships to add a further internal spring in the handbrake of affected models though it is not clear that this modification is being advised to all customers/owners. I would very much like to see the letter they sent Alec


mike February 10, 2012 at 5:34 pm

As a saab and gm technician for over 30 years let me assure all vauxhall owners that Vauxhalls excuse about handbrake releasing itself is total garbage, all good drivers have always been told hold the button in when applying as to minimise the wear on the rachet wear. this is just another escape route for GM to swerve their duty as a so called quality car maker..thus all for damage and injurie caused.

john February 15, 2012 at 3:35 am

It used to be said sometime ago that no two vauxhalls were the same, taking a worn part to the the dealer did’nt always mean you got the right part! And then they had SEVEN suppliers of White paint! Never did match.

John S February 17, 2012 at 11:40 am

Think i’ve worked out why the ratchet mechanism is failing. The assemble is so sloppy that if you push the button in the paul tilts and does not fully engage the ratchet. Hence the reason vauxhall state, ‘apply with the button retracted’. They hope that this will allow the components to aline. For goodness sake this component should be dummy proof! The springs ‘cure’ thats spoken about seems to be to aline the paul with ratchet? Any hand brake is not rocket science, just get the clearences right. And to think this problem goes back to around ’98!

John Taylor February 17, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Re John S posting

Alan Bathgate of T&T Technical Services Edinburgh has thoroughly examined and reported on the mechanism. One significant issue is that the handbrake had the number of teeth on the wheel where the pawl engages significantly increased to give a more sophisticated “up market” feel when applying the handbrake. Of course this in turn means that there is less space between the teeth for the pawl to engage in because the diameter of the wheel is not increased. In our case Vauxhall seemed to be saying that the only possible explanation for all these cases is driver error though one might think as JohnS says that a consumer might be entitled to expect that any car should have a simple fail safe system for such an essential feature on the vehicle. Vauxhall clearly do not agree.


melvin meakins February 20, 2012 at 8:45 pm

I have vauxhall corsa 2005. From new I complained about the poor hand brake. The main dealer assured me that it was working OK and that all corsa’s need a hard pull up with out using the release button.First I have heard about that!.The car had a M.O.T in 2011 and came with a note that the hand brake was binding. I had a new hand brake cable fitted and the hand brake now works fine!.Shame the main dealer would not replace it under warrantee!

geoff. morton February 27, 2012 at 3:10 am

yes, ive had the same problem with my corsa sxi “D” model, i was shopping when my reg. no. came out on the tannoy, my handbrake had released ltself, rolled back, almost hit a grandmother, her daughter and baby in a buggy before hitting another parked car, apart from the near major injuries to those it just missed i had to fork out for my excess on my fully comp. insurance for my and the other persons car. Vauxhall said it was my fault for using the handbrake the same way i was taught by an insructor when i passed my test 1st time in 1983 (button down, not in gear), anyway, how is it ive not had any problems with other makes of car ??!!!!!!, come on vauxhall, admit there is a problem and sort it out now before some- one is hurt, and not just in their pocket !!!

John Taylor February 28, 2012 at 9:30 am

Re geoff’s comment :-“come on vauxhall, admit there is a problem and sort it out now before some- one is hurt, and not just in their pocket !!!”

too late Geoof

There have been several serious injuries and one fatality in the Manchetser area when a taxi rolled away and hit two women one of whom died. A Google search wil give details!

Vauxhalls position in Court is that this is down to driver error and incorrect use of their handbrake.

Rusty March 10, 2012 at 6:57 pm

I have a Vectra 02 plate bought it Sept 2010 for the business. Last August parked on a hill for a 10 or so minutes, came out to no car, thought it had been stolen. Looked up around saw some commotion at the bottom of the hill, police etc. Only to find the car lodged into a roundabout, with severe frontal damage. Police said handbrake must have slipped.How it swerved around all the other parked cars and mount a busy roundabout without affecting anyone … someone was on my side. I didnt inform the insurance as it seemed I was at fault and couldnt prove otherwise. Feb 2012 received a recall notification, a Customer Satisfaction Programme for setting the handbrake. Booked in for the work to be done, and asked what can I do about the incident last year, I was told to speak to the Customer Care Team, they informed me that I need to send in the invoice for the work done and that my call has been logged with a reference no. As I mentioned didnt go through the insurance, paid for all the work out of my own pocket £1200, body and mechanical, but surely the lost earnings, as it took about 3 weeks to be completed, along with inconvenience should be compensated ? I am assuming they asking for invoices to pay them and not to have a giggle at my expense …. Rusty

Kate March 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm

This thread is really interesting as I have a 2003 Corsa and have never been able to park it on hills as I know it starts to roll immediately. My husband’s Agila has never had any issues. I get the handbrake tightened every time it is serviced but it barely makes any difference. I’d just assumed it was because my car is old….

beverley anderson March 25, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Has anyone any news on the Scotish law case involving vauxhall. Anyone think it would be a good idea to start a facebook page or twitter to get some more momentum on this point? Or is there one and I am not aware of it. Bev

John Taylor April 4, 2012 at 1:09 pm


the current position in the lead Scottish case is that Vauxhall did not offer any evidence and argued a point of law which the trial judge accepted. The matter is subject to an appeal to the Scottish Court of Appeal (called the Inner House of the Court of Session, Edinburgh) to be heard by three appeal judges in September. Senior and Junior Counsel are optimistic about the prospects of the appeal being successful as the trial judge appears to have misdirected himself as to the relevant legislation and departed fro previous case law. The saga continues. Interesting that they did not want their experts giving evidence !!


mark April 6, 2012 at 9:53 am
mark April 6, 2012 at 10:01 am
mark April 6, 2012 at 10:28 am

Edinburgh woman suing Vauxhall after being crushed under car claiming faulty handbrake

Nov 23 2011 Dave Finlay

LesletMcGlinchey issuing Vauxhalloverfaultyhandbrake

A TOUR guide who was injured when her parked car rolled and crushed her is suing the manufacturers for £85,000.

Lesley McGlinchey claims the handbrake in her Vauxhall Signum was faulty.

She suffered a broken leg in the incident and is seeking damages from General Motors UK at the Court of Session.

The firm are contesting the action, insisting the most likely cause was her failure to apply the handbrake properly.

Mrs McGlinchey, 49, told the court yesterday that she was pinned between a bollard and the bumper of her car after it rolled at her sister’s home in Liberton, Edinburgh, in August 2007.

She had parked it on a slope and went to the boot when the car, which had her dog inside, began moving, the court heard.

Mrs McGlinchey, of Gilmerton, Edinburgh, said: “There was a bollard sticking out of the ground which the back of my leg struck and the car pinned me between the bollard and the bumper of the car.

“At that point, I was quite panic-stricken.”

She insisted she had “pulled the handbrake on very firmly”.

Her husband Paul, 50, added: “My wife ratchets the handbrake relatively aggressively.”

But Mrs McGlinchey – a tour guide at the Palace of Holyroodhouse – admitted she hadn’t put the car in gear.

General Motors UK claim it was her duty of care to ensure the vehicle was left in gear. The hearing continues.

David F April 15, 2012 at 2:09 pm

My wife has just had the encountered same handbrake realease problem on corsa D 09 plate. She parked it up with hand brake on and it rolled back into someone else’s car 2 days ago. Damaged both cars. She originally thought she had left it without the handbrake on until today, while she was sat in the car fortunatley on the flat, the handbrake just disengaged itself! Will take it up with Vauxhall tomorrow

Val Noble April 16, 2012 at 3:45 am

I am conducting research through Loughborough University focusing on the design and application of parking brakes. Please help me to progress work in this area by completing a questionnaire at the following address.

Thank you

Ricky Angel December 19, 2012 at 7:45 pm

I recently hired an Astra. It was fitted with an electronic handbrake. After parking the car I flicked up the handbrake switch and got out. However the handbrake did not activate so the car rolled and hit a post. The hire company are saying that I was negligent for not applying the handbrake and I have to pay £2000 to have it repaired. I have since found that the switch must be held up for a second or two for it to activate and a simple flick doesn’t work. Has anyone else experienced this issue? If enough people I have I’m hoping to demonstrate that I wasn’t negligent and in fact the car has a design fault. Any comments welcome.

Laura Makin-Isherwood January 24, 2013 at 10:44 pm

Hello all,

I’m a journalist working for ITV News.

Both myself and my uncle have had the hand brakes on our Corsa’s fail while the vehicles were unoccupied. Both of us have been hit with insurance claims and my Uncle’s pelvis was crushed when his car pinned him against a wall.

After taking the problem up with Vauxhall and being turned away, I’ve decided to do a little research into the matter.

It would be great if you could email me your accounts of hand brake failures. There seems to be numerous people having problems and nothing being done to resolve the issue.

Many thanks,

Laura Makin-Isherwood

[email protected]

Ricky Angel February 5, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Hi Laura, I fully support you going after Vauxhall for their disgraceful and dangerous implementation of the electronic handbrake. So many people have had problems, myself included.

The electronic handbrake on the Vauxhall/Opel Astra is very dangerous, for a number of reasons:

1. Handbrake does not come on automatically when you switch engine off. Almost every other car fitted with an electronic handbrake does this.

2. Switch to operate handbrake isn’t like a switch you press to call a lift or a light switch – on the Astra you have to hold the switch up for 2 seconds whilst the handbrake comes on. If you flick the switch the handbrake does not fully come on (or at all). Surely, if you move the switch you want the handbrake to come on!!

3. If you try and get out of the car with the lights on you get a warning sound. If you get out of the car without being in gear or have the handbrake on you do NOT get a warning sound. I would much rather come back to the car to find a flat battery than to come back to discover it has rolled down the hill into a bus stop full of children.

4. Finally, if your Vauxhall does roll away your insurance will not cover you as it is considered negligence on your part if you fail to apply the handbrake. You won’t get anything from Vauxhall either as they say that the extremely poor implementation of their handbrake is as per design.

Good luck!


Mike June 18, 2013 at 5:29 pm

My wife has an o4 Vauxhall Corsa purchased from a garage it was through a known and trusted salesman. The car is parked on our driveway which is on a slope towards the road. After a few weeks the hand brake would not hold as there was insufficient friction between the brake pads and drum. The car would sometimes roll a short way on its own or if you leaned against the car it would roll. The veh was returned to the garage for attention, it was fine for a couple of weeks then the same problem occurred. The veh has been to several different garages re this faulty and its always the same so she just lives with it always leaving the car in gear. Several MOT stations I use are aware of this problem . I have a fried who has a Corsa and has the same problem. The method recommended for the application of the hand brake is very poor. You always depress the button to apply the brake as their method will cause undue wear on the ratchet teeth making failure by jumping off the teeth more likely. Having applied the handbrake you release the button and push down on the brake to ensure it is firmly engaged and wont slip. There is a problem with their system but the vast majority of people, like us, accept it’s easier to put up with it. Needless to say we’ll never buy another Vauxhall.

g.sheppard June 13, 2015 at 5:10 pm

Own a 2011 Vauxhall corsa 1.3d handbrake has always felt sloppy since we have had it (6months old). But on 11th June despite applying the handbrake at the top of my drive the car rolled down to the bottom of the drive. I managed to eventually stop the car, despite using all my strength to apply the brakes. My own car was damaged and also my neighbours, and my wife injured her hand trying to hold the car back. We have had Vauxhall cars on and off since 1975 but are seriously considering not buying
another. We were not aware of this problem before this accident and someone mentioned looking at this fault on-line. We are now in debt for our repairs and our neighbours. Any further advice would be welcome.

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