The driver of this £15,000 Mercedes told of his “lucky escape” after it burst into flames.
Nick Lofthouse was sitting in the grey sports car when a stranger ran over and shouted: “Oh my God, your car’s on fire!”
The 43-year-old, who lives in Greenhead, had bought the used car just four months before from Mercedes-Benz of Huddersfield.
He was driving on the M62 when he pressed on the accelerator and the three-door car started making a ‘ticking’ noise so he pulled into the nearest service station.
He said: “When I got out, I saw that the car was on fire under the engine.
“Within 30 seconds, the fire had rolled underneath and the car was engulfed in flames.
“As soon as I got out, the flames really took hold. It’s not easy to get out of the back so if there had been a child or older person in the back, we wouldn’t have gotten them out in time.
“The whole thing just melted. I had saved up for it, it was heartbreaking to watch. I was gutted.”
Nick, an accountant, had bought the 2012 Mercedes C220 AMG Sport, which had clocked up around 60,000 miles, for £15,000 on finance with a £3,000 deposit in February this year.
The blaze happened in June and an independent forensic engineer carried out a review of the car, which came with a year of approved used warranty.
A month later, the engineer’s report concluded that there was an ‘absence of any mechanical failure’ and ‘road debris’ must have struck the underside of the car causing the sump pan to fall off, resulting in oil leaking down to the exhaust pipe and igniting.
Nick, who drives around 60 miles per day to and from work in Pontefract, had to then claim on his car insurance.
But the insurance company only reimbursed the car’s market value of £11,800, meaning he lost around £3,000 – as well as a no-claims bonus of 21 years.
Nick said: “When I first rang the dealership to tell them what had happened, they said: ‘It’s nothing to do with us, it’s to do with the insurance.’
“Then I got a phone call back saying: ‘It will have been an outside interference, something will have hit the car.’
“That was before the report was even carried out and then the report suggested the exact same. I can’t even dispute it because the sump pan is missing and another review would cost me too much.
“All I wanted was for them to agree a fault.
“This month, I was called by the dealership to say I had been chosen for an exclusive opportunity to benefit from genuine savings on a new car.
“I had to remind them that I’d bought a car from them in February which burst into flames, with me in it, while under warranty.
“So I’m afraid I just can’t recommend a Mercedes and certainly not from Huddersfield.”
The Examiner recently reported how a white Mercedes burst into flames in Brighouse and another Mercedes also burst into flames on the M62 near Huddersfield.
Despite e-mails and repeated phone calls to the dealership the Examiner has failed to receive a response.
In the final call the reporter was left on hold for 15 minutes. When the reporter rang back a recorded message said the dealership had closed for the day.