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jedspink

Joined:

Feb 05

Posts: 4

jedspink says:

Warranty versus "Wear and tear" help needed!

Need some legal help on whether I have any case. When my bike (Triumph) was less than 1 year / ~4000miles old it started developing clutch slip issues. Dealer adjusted, it returned. After the 4th visit to the dealer they opened bike up and it needed new friction plates. Having ridden the bike normally I was upset that Triumph would not fix this under warranty, claiming it was a wear-and-tear item. Understand the point but given that it failed so early do I have a case that I didn't get "fair use" out of the item - is there such a concetp?. Any thoughts / ways to pursue etc appreciated. Triumph have been no help - their customer service stinks IMHO

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  • Posted 3 years ago (15 November 2011 15:14)

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MarcusMarsh

Joined:

Aug 09

Posts: 2714

MarcusMarsh says:

Wear and Tear

It is not reasonable for a clutch to last only 4,000 miles and that would be my approach to fighting the case.  If Triumph then claim that you have been abusing the clutch then the burden of proof is on them.  And you could argue that, if that was indicative of your riding, other items, such as the chain and brake pads, would also have seen premature wear - which I assume is not the case.

Speak to Citizens Advice for free leagal advice and also get Trading Standards involved.        

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AdieR

Joined:

Apr 08

Posts: 3042

AdieR says:

Don't know

which Triumph you have (or what you use it for) but I'd want more than 4k miles from a clutch.

For someone who commutes to work on a bike, that could add up to 2 or 3 new clutches per year and become expensive.

You could try arguing the toss that the machine (or indeed the clutch) is not fit for purpose.

Just for info, your contract is with the dealer who sold you the bike (not Triumph itself) who should in the first instance be given the chance to sort the problem. I think four visits is plenty - maybe worth seeing if you can reject the machine.

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smidget

Joined:

Nov 07

Posts: 2424

smidget says:

Hi jedspink

I have to disagree with both MM and AdieR.


First off the clutch is deemed a consumable item as it is designed to wear all be it slowly,  yes 4000 miles is a very short life span for a clutch.  

However no manufacturer in their right mind would deem this as a warranty claim because they cannot guarantee how the clutch will be used.

Let us suppose you are prone to holding the clutch lever with your fingers in readiness / anticipation so that gear changes can be done quicker or for safety reasons. But you hold the lever so that the freeplay is no longer present at the clutch, you are therefore removing the freeplay from the system and causing the clutch to slip / wear. 
There are too many scenarios which can be presented which will cause clutch wear at a high rate which will effect no other part of the vehicle. 

How many clutches would it take to bankrupt the manufacturer, as they could then be deemed responsible for all clutch wear, mistreatment. It is for this reason that manufacturers classify certain items as consumables. 

Sorry but that is how it works, I would examine your riding technique just in case, seeing as the dealer adjusted the clutch 4 times.

[This Reply has been modified by the Author]

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tc330

Joined:

Mar 11

Posts: 168

tc330 says:

Clutch wear

4000 miles is an abysmal life span for a set of clutch plates especially as adjustments were made 4 times to rectify a problem - presumably a problem accepted by the dealer?

I'm an instructor and ride the clutch more than most whilst demonstrating slow control, and my z750 is still on the original plates at 104,000 miles. My BMW R1100 lasted 60,000 on each plate and that's aircooled single plate design.

We bought a pair of spanish made Suzuki GS500s once and the clutch plates disintigrated after 2000 miles. Suzuki said "wear and tear - tough" so we put aftermarket plates in and problem solved.

Manufacturers do have quality issues, that's why there is a recall system. To say that it's unfair to expect them to repair "wear and tear" under warranty is naive at the very least; what if his big ends had failed at 4000 miles? Is that acceptable? Maybe he didn't follow the handbook and warm the engine for 5 minutes before riding (KTM 950SM if you're interested).

Good luck getting any satisfaction from any manufacturer warranty mate :blink:

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MarcusMarsh

Joined:

Aug 09

Posts: 2714

MarcusMarsh says:

Wear & Tear

OK, I can see the argument that a clutch is a consumable item; although to be honest I had not looked at it that way before. (Maybe because in 33 years of riding I have never had to replace a clutch)  However, even a consumable item must have a 'reasonable' lifespan if it is to be deemed of acceptable quality. 

Let’s say for arguments sake that you would normally get around 40K out of a clutch (No scientific reason for that figure I admit but bear with me)  If jedspink’s has lasted only 4K then it’s service life was only 10% of what it would be reasonable to expect.  Now if the same example was applied to tyres and a tyre that would normally have a 6,000-mile life-span was trashed by 600 miles you would have good cause to refer it to the manufacturer and ask them to inspect / replace it.  Why should the same argument not be applied to a clutch? 

Even ‘consumable’ components should be of good quality and meet reasonable life expectations.  OK, it might be up to litigation to determine what ‘reasonable’ is but the argument that any component can be deemed consumable and the manufacturer therefore wash his hands of any/all responsibility for its quality is just not right.  Remember, we are not talking about some cheap after-market spares, this is an OE component of the bike as built into it by the manufacturer.         

[This Reply has been modified by the Author]

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Amateurcynic

Joined:

Jun 09

Posts: 1050

Amateurcynic says:

Just to add extra weight

to what tc330 said,as an instructor myself also I too regularly use my clutch more than most, so too do all our training bikes! None of which to date have lasted less than 30,000 miles for the 125's and 50,000 for the 500's (Honda CB's).

Think you could go for "not of merchantable quality" as far as the Sales of Goods Act is concerned. Get some advice for the Citizens Advice et-al, really think you've got a case here

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smidget

Joined:

Nov 07

Posts: 2424

smidget says:

As

I said 4000 miles is a short life span for a clutch.


I then went on to explain a scenario where the rider may have a habit of holding in the lever which causes the clutch to slip whilst he / she is riding. this would accelerate the wear rate of the clutch plates.

Jedspink, did you see or were you given the clutch friction plates if not where are the original plates now?

tc330 and AmateurCynic in 40+ years of riding I have only ever replaced one clutch on any of my bikes, the reason is like you I know how to use the clutch correctly, the difference is in 'riding' the clutch and 'slipping' the clutch and there are degrees of 'slip' to consider.

tc330, big end bearings are not deemed as consumable items and an early failure would have to be inspected to determine the cause. 
Manufacturer recalls are a totally different kettle of fish to warranty claims, granted that they stem from high warranty claims of a specific model / component showing a high rate of claims. 
I would consider myself naive if I thought that a vehicle manufacturer was liable to replace consumables without proof of an items failure. The onus now rests with jedspinks to supply the original parts for inspection by an independent engineer. 

As I read it the dealer has carried out 4 adjustments and replaced the offending worn plates and as such has carried out their obligation, the problem is with Triumph and the only way forward is if the original plates are in jedspinks possession as it will depend on the inspection of said plates by a trading standards independently appointed inspector to determine why the wear rate is so excessively high.
There will be evidential pointers as to how the clutch plates were utilised whilst in the bike and tests on the materials used would need to be carried out.

Also the bike would have to be inspected so that all other components which are used in the clutch system can be inspected for a possible link to the cause of the problem. It is this inspection which is more likely to show why the friction plates have worn quickly and it would be this component that should be submitted for a warranty claim. 

Worn friction plates are the end result, not the failure, something else has acted on the plates to cause them to fail.

Jedspink old long ago did the clutch plates get replaced and has that rectified the problem? 

Lastly what if any were the comments from the dealer when they adjusted the clutch?

And with no disrespect intended to jedspnk we only have his / her word that he / she used the bike in the correct and proper manner.

[This Reply has been modified by the Author]

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arryace

Joined:

Apr 10

Posts: 198

arryace says:

difficult one

they adjusted the clutch you say?

adjusting a clutch or adjusting the freeplay in the cable would only stop a clutch from slipping if it had been poorly adjusted in the first place.
when the bike was new did it have any freeplay at the lever?
after they adjusted it was there more freeplay?

i would get them to explain exactly what they found when you took it in the first time.

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