15th Sep 2010, 06:51

Colin Chapman of Lotus fame claimed the perfect racing car would last until the chequered flag, then fall to pieces as it crossed the line. If it didn't go the distance, it wasn't strong enough, and if it still ran at the end, it could have been made lighter somewhere.

Renault apply the same philosophy to their cars, substituting 'chequered flag' for 'end of the warranty', and 'lighter' for 'cheaper'. Our Scenic was fabulous until 3 yrs / 60,000 miles (the end of the warranty). Then it sprang £4,000 worth of repairs on us in its fourth year. The dilemma around whether to pour more yet money into a car to get it back on the road, or cut my losses, bodge it and sell it on to an unsuspecting punter is one I last had to make on the 15 year old, beer money valued heap of barely legal junk I drove as a teenager, not a well treated, sub four year old, outwardly immaculate and religiously serviced family car.

Renaults are unfeasibly and unrealistically expensive to maintain as they age, with design features that seem to maximise revenue for servicing dealers. You can't even replace the main beam bulbs on a Scenic, for example, without taking the front end of the car to bits. As for big stuff like clutches and power steering systems - four figure bills are just a fact of life.

I won't ever buy another Renault, and implore everyone I come across that I like to avoid them too.

24th Dec 2015, 11:58

True Renaults are designed for the many as dealer only.

One particular item is the AL4 automatic transmission unit; it has what they call a condition sensor that's linked to the computer that has a counter. Renault told its customers that this unit only needs topping up now and again, while every other transmission manufacturer on the planet will tell you to change the fluid at 30,000 miles.

These units suffer from fluid cooling problems, and in a lot of cases the wrong type of fluid; THEY HAVE TO HAVE SYNTHETIC FLUID. Dextron 2/3 won't cut it!

Debris from the friction clutches and steel spacers is pumped around the system, causing damage to seals/bearings/solenoid valves/valve body and torque converter. In one case the pan was taken off to replace the 2 EMV valves and it was seen that the 2 magnets in the pan had a ball of swarf on them; swarf getting into the converter will destroy the lock up clutch, causing slip.

A number of these units were made without a drain plug; all they had was the level plug. They then they made a drain/level plug all in one. These units need to have the fluid kept very clean and need an aftermarket cooler fitted, then you have half a chance of keeping the inherent problems down!