The Renault Clio is a so-called supermini that was released by the French manufacturer way back in 1990. Since then it has been one of Europe’s top selling cars thanks to its quality engineering, sleek design and front wheel drive set up. Interestingly, alongside the Opel Astra and VW Golf it is one of the only cars to be awarded European Car of the Year twice.
Buying any second-hand car can be a process beset on all sides by difficulties. It is hard enough dealing with the negotiation process, so we have created a handy guide to take you through the most commonly occurring problems with the Clio.
Idling Problems – ECU
One of the known issues with the Renault Clio is with the ECU, which can cause several problems whilst out on the road, particularly when the car is idling, leading to stalls and running problems. Fortunately, a good test drive should uncover any faults with this electrical computer system.
Another common problem to watch out for on the test drive is a spluttering and misfiring engine. The most likely culprit in this situation is the ignition coil, which is known to cause running issues and can even lead to the car cutting out completely. The only remedy here is to replace the faulty part.
Is the ABS light lit on the dashboard of your potential purchase? If this is the case then you are probably looking at a faulty ABS sensor. Another symptom that can accompany the light is a pulsating feeling coming from the brake pedal. Obviously, this will require a trip to the mechanics to fix and could turn out to be quite a costly repair.
Does the brake light in your potential purchase appear to be always on? Does the owner tell you not to worry about it? This could well be down to a widely known problem with grease in the circuits, which could cause the electrical connection on the switch to melt through, leaving it in the active position.
Check the brakes. Does there appear to be lag between depressing the pedal and the brakes properly engaging? This could well be down to a known fault with the servo assistance, which occurs due to the incorrect positioning of an air pressure sensor in the inlet manifold. Fortunately, this problem can be easily rectified with a little mechanical attention.
Next up it’s the accelerator. If the car doesn’t appear as responsive as you’d normally expect then the likely cause is a faulty contact on the sensor, which will need replacing to ensure that you get full control on the vehicle’s forward motion. This issue is most likely to be uncovered during the stop start nature of urban driving.
When you’re out on the road during the test drive, make a point of taking this small Renault over some bumpier terrain. If the car bounces then you could be looking at a break or fissure in the right or left suspension. If you suspect this could be an issue then put some pressure on the car’s bonnet when it is stationary. If the car fails to return to its normal position within a one to one and a half bounces then you have a suspension fault.
If the Renault Clio you are looking at purchasing was manufactured during the period between November 2005 and May 2006 then take special care to check the functioning of the gearbox. There is a known problem with automatic systems where it can suddenly switch into manual mode or third gear without warning.
Buying a Renault Clio is a good investment and with the sheer number of second hand cars available, there is no excuse for settling for a problem car. If there are any issues that make you feel uneasy, especially if you are not satisfied with the seller’s explanation, then simply walk away. You should be able to find the exact Clio to suit your needs and budget without difficulty.
For affordable replacement engines, gearboxes and more, check out our new and used Renault Clio parts page.