The Renault Clio is a compact hatchback made by Renault from 1990 to the present day. It is one of the most recognizable and longest-running continuous models in Renault’s history while also being one of the most successful Renault models ever. Renault managed to sell a ton of these in the past 33 years, and it seems like the Clio isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
In this article, we are going to mention the most common problems with Renault Clio. We will tell you what breaks on the Clio, and what you need to do to fix it. We will first start engine issues which include a rattly engine and problems with the ignition coils. The Clio is also known to suffer from electrical issues while transmission problems are also a thing.
The power steering system can fail and leave you with an immensely heavy steering wheel which can even lead to an accident. The brakes can become unresponsive, no matter how hard you press on the pedal.
All in all, some of these issues are indeed serious and need to be mindful of whenever interested in buying a Clio used. If you go for a model that hasn’t been abused throughout its lifetime, you should be able to enjoy a fairly trouble-free experience if you do all the maintenance needed.
One of the worst issues you can encounter with a Clio is an issue where the engine can start rattling due to timing belt problems. The 1.2L gasoline engine and the 1.5L diesel engine are known to have belt rattle problems as these belts are said to last only around 5 years or so. If you hear any rattles coming from your engine bay, be sure to inspect it and replace the belt if needed.
One other notable engine problem is linked with faulty ignition coils which cause the car to splutter on startup and sometimes even cut out completely. ECU problems can affect the car’s ability to idle consistently, especially if you notice any engine coughing.
Electrical issues are something rarely any car can do without which makes sense as modern cars are so complex and filled with all sorts of technological wizardry that something is bound to go wrong eventually. The ABS sensor can fail and prompt up the ABS warning light on the dashboard.
However, the worst electrical problem is likely one where water can find its way into the fuse box and then cause all kinds of electrical problems. The most common of all is a key that fails to start the car up and typically leads to water inside the fuse box.
2005 and 2006 Renault Clio models are notorious for experiencing a strange gearbox problem in which the car can switch from automatic to manual without any logical reason. Moreover, owners also complained about the transmission jumping gears which can lead to car stalling. This can be dangerous, especially if it happens at higher speeds.
Newer Clio models are linked with clutch problems with manual gearbox units and many have said that the car sometimes has problems with even selecting a gear. All in all, the transmissions on modern Clio models aren’t the best, so be sure to pay close attention to them when in the market for one.
Power Steering Problems
Another fairly major problem with a few generations of the Renault Clio, and Renault in general, is a fragile steering column that can disengage power steering assistance and thus cause a whole load of problems within the column itself. Renault even recalled the Clio back in 2019 because of this issue.
The warning light typically starts illuminating and the power steering system fails. As mentioned, you will need to replace the entire steering column to fully solve this issue.
Many post-2015 Clio models suffer from badly protected brake lines which can deteriorate over time and start leaking oil. Renault recalled the Clio multiple times because of this problem, but the worst part is that this problem can lead to unresponsive brakes which will easily cause you to end up in an accident.
Thankfully, replacing these isn’t too difficult, so be sure to include these in your regular maintenance and service intervals.
Should I Buy a Renault Clio?
Answering this question isn’t particularly difficult as the Clio is already a really popular car. This means that many people deem it to be worthy of purchasing which is why Europe is brimming with Clio models from all generations. As such, yes, you should buy a Clio if you are after an affordable, easy-to-live-with, and easy-to-drive daily driver.
On the other hand, if you are into luxury cars and you want to feel special while driving a car, the Clio isn’t the type of car that is going to offer you such satisfaction. Sure, it does the job of a normal commuter, but it can’t come close to luxury cars.
Which Cars Rival the Renault Clio?
The Renault Clio rivals cars such as the Ford Fiesta, the Opel Corsa, the Peugeot 208, the Seat Ibiza, the VW Polo, the Skoda Fabia, and the Citroen C4 Cactus. With such a numerous pool of competitors, it is difficult to stay alive which is why Renault has made sure to always keep the Clio up to date.
Some of these such as the Fiesta, and the Peugeot drive better while others such as the Polo and the Peugeot feel like higher-quality cars. However, the Clio is one of the more spacious models out of the bunch while also being one of the better-looking ones.
Is Renault Going to Discontinue the Clio?
There are many rumors out there that the Renault Clio is going on the chopping block and is going to be replaced by the Renault 5 soon enough. This is likely not the case as the Renault Clio seems to be holding on for many more years to come.
This makes sense as the Clio has always had a good market reception and the sales numbers are still fairly strong.