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Electrical Problems - Recurring Theme

  Carrera 4S. Clio 172. M5
I have noticed a theme running through a lot of posts recently, which must be lining the pockets of Renault dealers all over the land and promising a Merry Christmas, for them at least.

Questions about failing immobilisers, central locking, radios loosing memory, trip computers not working, alarms going off at night, dash lights not working etc etc. being answered by some, with suggested trips to your dealers to hand over large sums of cash for transponder rings, ECU’s, keys, modules and goodness knows what else. YOU GUYS MUST BE MADE OF MONEY.

I am not having a go at those who are genuinely trying to help, but come on guys, think it through….
Its winter, we have the shortest daylight hours of the year, its raining sometimes cold, during your trip to and from work your heater, wipers, rear screen heater, headlights, fog lights (no lets not go there) are on, you probably have an upgraded amped-up sound system…do I have to spell it out……?

Modern cars, even small family cars like the base Clio, are being fitted with more and more devices that require power. This is the car maker responding to demand and trying to win market share. Electric windows, central locking, heated screens are fitted to just about every new car, add the compulsory lighting, alarm/immobiliser, the required heating and demisting and you are already into quite high levels of demand before you start with the “Toys” and don t forget the biggest battery user, your starter motor.

Car makers will do anything to save space, weight (and money) when they design a car. And the amount of each they will allocate to a battery is getting smaller by the minute.
How many dealers would actually accept an argument from you that your month old Clio 197 has a battery that is barely capable of sustaining all the on board systems. I think I know the answer, but that is the reality.

If you are a rep pounding up and down the motorways all day then it might not be a problem, but if you do, lets say less than 50 miles to work in the dark and cold then reverse the journey in the same conditions, perhaps stopping for a paper on the way home, you are certainly near the limits. Add a few toys and you are starting to push your luck. Add a few years of this abuse and the next person to own the car is on a hiding to nothing.

A car battery is a very crude device, which hasn’t changed much in design in 100 years. It will dump huge amounts of current into your starter motor on demand and is expected at the same time to supply micro amps of current at a constant voltage to a voltage sensitive device like an immobiliser transponder reader. If there is not enough power available, guess who is going to win. Then it has to recover before the next time you start up.

I have seen lots of cars that have been diagnosed with expensive to repair faults that have turned out simply to be knackered batteries. Its so easy to have a battery checked, Lucas or LSUK as they are now called, can do it for you. It takes lass than 5 mins and often they wont even charge you. (no pun intended)
A new battery for a Clio 172/182 is £37.00 with a 4-year warranty. So before you go replacing expensive components, GET YOU BATTERY CHECKED.
1st thing i did mate when immobiliser started to act up. but these are renaults and clios espesh are renound for having cheap electrics, not just bad batteries (mine is checked regularly when i check the oil etc for longer than 1 hour journies). but it is still a fair bit of advice.


p.s you can buy battery checking equipment for very little money nowadays.