This problem generally affects Astras manufactured between May 2009 and September 2010. The handbrake cable can loosen to the point where the handbrake is useless, so any kind of parking on an incline is going to be a problem.
The fix for this is to replace the bracket that supports the cable. This is a relatively straight-forward job for any mechanic but might prove tricky for the DIY mechanic.
The dashboard airbag warning light can light up when there's no apparent problem. This is commonly caused by a loose connection for the airbag sensor connector block.
A simple DIY fix for this problem is to just remove the connector block, give them a clean and replace them securely. The blocks are found under the front seats.
A common problem for Astras is a build up of dirt and contaminants on and around the MAF sensor. The MAF provides essential measurements for controlling the air and fuel mix in the engine so when it's not sending out the right readings it can cause all kinds of problems. Click on the MAF below to find out more and read about problem symptoms.
To fix the issue the first thing to try is to clean the MAF with a suitable cleaner. If there's no improvement after cleaning the next step is to replace the MAF.
Earlier generation Astras can suffer from gear linkage issues which will result in difficult gear changes between first and second, it can also affect changing into reverse. The cause of this is often a ball joint disconnecting in the linkage, so the entire movement of the gear shifts is thrown out making it difficult to engage gears accurately.
The fix for this is to replace the affected linkage parts. It's not really a DIY job and can totally disable your car if you get it wrong.
Modern diesel Astras have diesel particulate filters (DPF) fitted.
"The diesel particulate filter system in your Vauxhall filters harmful soot particles out of exhaust gases. It includes a self-cleaning function that runs automatically during driving when the filter needs cleaning. This can take up to 25 minutes and fuel consumption may be higher during this time. You may also notice an emission of odours and smoke and an increase in heat, which is a normal part of the process."
If for some reason this process repeatedly fails to complete then you could end up with engine damage through contamination of the oil system with fuel. This will lead to an increase in oil level which will have consequences for the engine.
The solution to this problem is to make sure that the cleaning process completes on your car, running it for 25 minutes is enough and the process is quicker at higher engine speeds.
If you're looking to buy a diesel Astra you should make sure that problems connected to the DPF have been checked and the car has a clean bill of health before parting with your money.
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