Vauxhall Adam Problems: Common Causes & How to Fix Them

When deciding on a small city car, the Vauxhall Adam is a popular choice. Launched in 2013, the Vauxhall Adam has been popular for those wanting a stylish, small car. Its looks, custom options, and smooth drive make it stand out. However, it’s crucial to know about some Vauxhall Adam problems you may face later. Here I’ll discuss common Vauxhall Adam Problems and how to prevent or fix them.

Engine Problems

Vauxhall Adam engine problems
Photo Credit: CarMagazine

The Adam’s small 1.2 and 1.4 litre petrol engines are efficient, but not faultless. Here are some common engine problems to be aware of:

  • High oil usage: This is often due to worn piston rings or valve stem seals, allowing oil to burn in the engine. Replacing the rings and seals fixes the problem in the majority of cases.
  • Timing chain damage: The Adam’s timing chain can become loose or snap unexpectedly. This can lead to major engine damage. Inspect the timing chain regularly, especially as your vehicle reaches the 70,000 + miles mark.

Vauxhall Adam Electric Problems

The Vauxhall Adam relies heavily on electronics, as do most modern vehicles. This can, at times, cause issues:

  • Battery difficulties – Faulty batteries and charging system problems may drain the battery. Ensure the battery terminals are clean and the charging voltage is working properly.
  • Engine control unit failures – The engine control unit can malfunction, causing the engine to run poorly. Reprogramming or replacing the engine control unit may be required.
  • Starter motor troubles – Faulty starter motors together with electrical issues can lead to intermittent failure to start. Diagnose and replace the starter motor if necessary.

Suspension and Steering Issues

Vauxhall Adam Suspension and Steering Woes
Photo Credit: CarMagazine

The Adam’s suspension and steering components have had reported issues:

  • Uneven tyre wear – Improper wheel alignment often causes uneven tyre wear. Regular alignment checks and adjustments help prevent this.
  • Knocking noises – Worn suspension bushes and ball joints create clunks and knocks over bumps. Replacing bushes and ball joints fixes the problem.

Ignoring these issues speeds up deterioration and can compromise the car’s handling and safety. Don’t delay repairs.

Vauxhall Adam Gearbox Problems

The most common Vauxhall Adam gearbox problems are:

  • Difficulty changing gears – The gearstick can become stiff and clunky to operate, especially when the engine is cold. Oil leaks from the gearbox can worsen this. Check the oil level and inspect for any leaks. Top up or repair as needed.
  • Gears slipping out – Gears can disengage unexpectedly whilst driving. Usually signifies the gearbox needs an overhaul or replacement.
  • Noisy gearbox – Whining and grinding sounds from the gearbox point to internal damage. Have the gearbox thoroughly inspected and repaired if noisy.

These gearbox problems negatively impact how the Adam drives. Fix them before more serious issues arise.

Vauxhall Adam Clutch Problems

There have been reported instances of the Adam’s clutch failing. Symptoms to look out for are:

  • The clutch may judder when pulling away or changing gears. This could mean a problem with the dual-mass flywheel.
  • Gear changes can become stiff or hard to do. This may show the clutch or release bearing needs replacing.
  • Strange sounds when pushing the clutch pedal down could be the release bearing, fork or other parts inside.

Checks should look at how the clutch pedal works, fluids and getting the clutch checked by a mechanic before it fails completely. It may need replacing.

Vauxhall Adam ECU Problems

Warning lights for the engine management or emissions system could indicate there are problems with the ECU.

  • Problems accelerating, idling or sudden loss of power can point to ECU faults.
  • Stalling, not starting or random electrical problems may come from a bad ECU.
  • Error codes read by a diagnostic scanner can help find any ECU issues. For guidance on the top diagnostic scanners read our article:

>> Best OBD-II Scanners for 2023 <<

Vauxhall Adam Starting Problems

  • The engine may not turn over due to issues with the battery, starter motor or related parts.
  • A clicking sound when turning the key shows the battery needs charging or the starter is faulty.
  • If lights and accessories work but the engine won’t start, it points to a starter motor problem.

Check the battery charge, terminals, starter fuse and connections. A faulty starter motor may need replacing to fix no-start situations.

Maintenance Tips

Regular servicing is essential to minimise issues in a Vauxhall Adam.

Check oil and fluid levels regularly and refill when required. Excessive oil consumption is common.

Have the annual service done on schedule, including filters, belts, fluids, and spark plugs. For major work, use a trusted Vauxhall specialist.

Inspect the engine timing chain around 60,000 miles and replace if any sign of wear is spotted. A snapped chain causes major damage.

Listen and feel for strange noises, vibrations or handling changes that could indicate problems. Investigate anything unusual promptly.

Review service bulletins for recalls and other known issues for your Adam’s model year.


In summary, the Vauxhall Adam has some common problems a driver should be aware of to ensure reliable performance. By monitoring oil levels, maintaining the gearbox, regularly inspecting the timing chain and electrical systems, most issues can be avoided. With routine servicing and care, the Vauxhall Adam can be a dependable city car for many years.


Are electric problems common in the Vauxhall Adam?

Electric problems in Vauxhall Adam are a known occurrence. These issues can involve power windows, door mirrors, or the in-car entertainment system. It’s advised to consult an experienced auto electrician for any electric problems to swiftly prevent further complications.

Is the Vauxhall Adam clutch reliable?

The reliability of the Vauxhall Adam clutch has been questioned by some owners who have reported problems such as a stiff clutch pedal, or difficulty in gear engagement. Regular maintenance and check-ups can help deter these issues or diagnose them early when they’re typically easier and cheaper to fix.

Are there frequent ECU problems in the Vauxhall Adam?

ECU problems in Vauxhall Adam do occur. This can cause erratic engine performance or difficulty starting the vehicle. If you experience warning lights on your dashboard or abnormal engine performance, it’s crucial to get your vehicle checked immediately.

Can cold or damp weather cause starting problems in the Vauxhall Adam?

Yes, cold or damp weather can cause starting problems in Vauxhall Adam. This could be due to a faulty ignition switch, a weak battery, or a malfunctioning starter motor. Consistent servicing and battery health checks are vital for preventing such issues.

Dave Marlow
Dave Marlow
Dave has been a petrohead since he can remember. He worked as a mechanic for 12 years before transitioning into automotive content writing. His dream car is a classic Red Ferrari 458.

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