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Diesel Emissions Claim Guide

Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Feb 28, 2024
8 minutes read
  • Affected cars
  • How a diesel emissions claim works
  • Evidence against manufacturers

Vehicle manufacturers have been under investigation for many years, even before the dieselgate scandal exploded in the headlines. If you owned an affected vehicle between 2009 and 2020, you could be due compensation. By making a diesel emissions claim against your manufacturer, you can join a group claim.

This article will explain what a diesel claim is and how exactly they work. It will detail which cars have potentially been affected and explain how much you could be due. Finally, the article will explain how long a diesel emissions claim may take, so you are more aware of the process.

Ready to start your claim? Use our eligibility checker to find out if you qualify. It only takes a minute.

An exhaust of a car pumping out smog

What Is a Diesel Emissions Claim?

To understand what a claim is, you have to appreciate the historical elements involved.


It all started in 2015 when Volkswagen vehicles were discovered with ‘defeat devices’. These were a means of cheating emissions tests by essentially shutting down parts of the engine when it recognised this was happening.

Since then, other manufacturers have been found to have abused ‘thermal windows’ or used software to hide true exhaust levels. These cases have been ongoing for years, and millions have made diesel emissions claims in that time.

The Economy of Diesel

Diesel Ban Vector

Diesel engines were originally thought to be more economical to drive and were advertised as a way to save the planet. However, the truth began to surface much later. Various studies showed diesel emissions claims about low levels of carbon and nitrogen oxides had been falsified or greatly exaggerated.


In 2012, the World Health Organization classified diesel exhaust fumes as carcinogenic to humans. Following data gathered by international experts, there was sufficient evidence to suggest that exposure caused an increased risk of lung cancer.

Diesel Claims

Based on the evidence against these vehicles, a diesel claim is simply a way of asserting your right as a consumer that you were misled. This could have been because your car or van was much more polluting than you realised or it became less economical to drive after a recall to fix it.

Emissions claims are against the manufacturer based on potential breaches of consumer protection laws, contract violations and failure to uphold the Competition Act. By making a diesel emissions claim, you are looking for compensation on these principles.

How Much Compensation You Can Claim

It’s currently difficult to put an exact figure on how much you could be owed for a diesel emissions claim. Some legal firms express that you could be entitled to up to £10,000 or more, but this is most likely an inflated estimate.

The difficulty comes from how no manufacturer has been successfully claimed against in court. Currently, only two carmakers have reached this point (Mercedes and VW), and Volkswagen settled their claim outside of court. This means a reduced settlement was reached.

If we look at the VW dieselgate settlement, affected customers in the UK received a share of £193 million. Between over 91,000 claimants, a rough payout of £2,100 was seen. In other words, an out-of-court settlement will see you with less compensation for your diesel emissions claim.

Factors Affecting Your Compensation

The other reason that makes it hard to predict how much you’re owed for your diesel vehicle is because every case is likely to be slightly different.

Your diesel emissions claim entitlement can be affected by:

  • Length of ownership

  • How many affected vehicles you had

  • Whether you bought or leased the vehicle

  • Age of the vehicle

Affected Cars

SUV Isometric

Not only is it hard to gauge how much compensation you could be due, but it’s tough to determine whether your vehicle was affected. Not all diesel vehicles from all manufacturers have been studied in detail, so the full scale of the issue is hard to judge.

Learn how Jaguar Land Rover is affected.

For the avoidance of doubt, you could be eligible for a diesel emissions claim as long as your vehicle follows the basic criteria outlined below.

  • It was a diesel vehicle

  • You were the registered owner of the vehicle between 2009 and 2020

  • You bought the vehicle outright

  • You financed the vehicle

  • You leased the vehicle

  • The vehicle was new or second hand

  • It was a company car (in your name)

If you’d like to perform an initial check, you can find the model of your vehicle in the interactive table below. These are just some of the models that you should be able to make a diesel emissions claim against.

Why You Can Make a Diesel Emissions Claim

Evidence Against Diesel Vehicles

Thanks to pioneers in the industry, the real-world emissions of diesel vehicles has been challenged year after year. In 2014, West Virginia University discovered that Volkswagen diesel vehicles were capable of emitting up to 40 times more nitrogen oxides (NOₓ) than legally permitted levels.

In 2019, BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen came under fire for collusion. They were hit with a £750 million fine for trying to limit the adoption of clean energy technology.

The bottom line is, the evidence is out there. You can easily find various studies that highlight just how polluting diesel engines are. The fact that they break legal limits is just one reason why you can make a diesel emissions claim.

Reasons You Can Claim

As a consumer, you have a right to compensation through a diesel emissions claim on three grounds.

  1. You wouldn’t have bought the vehicle in the first place if you knew about its true levels of emissions

  2. You paid more for a vehicle that was advertised as environmentally friendly when in actuality it wasn’t, so you were misled

  3. Your vehicle was fixed as part of a recall to comply with emissions standards, but it suffered from worse performance. This could have lowered the value of the vehicle or caused you additional costs

While you couldn’t personally take a carmaker to court, you are able to put your name against a group litigation order (GLO) for diesel emissions claims. This gives your claim more merit, with the power of (often) multiple law firms working together on your behalf.

How Long Does the Process Take?

Diesel Exhaust Emissions Vector

It’s important to understand that when you make a diesel emissions claim, you must be patient with the process. It’s plausible that claims could take five years, or longer, just to get to the courts.

The initial VW GLO was amassed in May 2018, and the trial was due to commence in January 2023. However, before this date was reached, VW paid a settlement outside of court in May 2022. In all likelihood, had court proceedings happened, this would have dragged on.

As of the beginning of 2024, Mercedes and Ford are due to appear in court for diesel emissions claims in February 2025. Thanks to a High Court decision in December 2023, one or two other vehicle manufacturers will also be included in this hearing. This is to speed up the slow process and maximise the efficiency of multiple claims against various manufacturers.

How to Claim

There are many companies processing diesel emissions claims, and it’s relatively easy to sign up to one. You have the choice to either approach a law firm directly and do all the legwork yourself, or fill in your details and have it all done for you.

The simplest way to join a GLO against your vehicle manufacturer is to use the button below to fill in your details.

Reasons to Make a Diesel Emissions Claim

Although financial reimbursement is probably in the forefront of most people’s minds, there are various other reasons it’s good to make a claim.

Good for the Environment

The lies and deception about diesel have gone on for long enough. It’s been proven that some vehicles exceed legally permitted levels of NOₓ by multiple amounts, and this contributes to environmental hazards. Making a diesel emissions claim helps keep the environment healthy.

Not only are breathing difficulties more prevalent with higher levels of NOₓ, but it causes acid rain and the production of ground level ozone. Having ozone so low in the atmosphere damages crops, soil and water sources, which we all rely on. Habitats also suffer as a by-product.

Good for Health

Every year, there are thousands of premature deaths caused by emissions. Harmful levels of NOₓ are being breathed in throughout rural and urban areas by children and adults alike. This causes problems with breathing, such as asthma and bronchitis, which are easily preventable.

When it comes to making a diesel emissions claim, you’re pointing out that your health and wellbeing, and that of the planet, should come before profit.

Measuring Air Pollution Vector


It’s not surprising that carmakers have tried to downplay their involvement in the diesel scandal. The trouble is that vehicle manufacturers are dragging their heels. By making a diesel emissions claim, you are asking for them to be held to account for producing cars and vans that are way more polluting than you were led to believe.

Low Risk

Usually, you submit your diesel emissions claim on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. This means that, should the GLO not be successful at court, you won’t have to pay anything to cover any costs. Working as part of a group claim protects you as a consumer from the hefty cost of legal fees.

Ready to start your emissions claim journey? Click on the button below to add your name to the list with your eligible vehicle.

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