Apologies if you are sick of hearing about this complaint but I need a bit of help to decide how I am going to proceed on this issue of the faulty bonnet clip.
I spoke to Stuart Jenkins from VOSA today who informs me that VOSA have decided there is no fault in the Clio bonnet clip but rather a maintenance issue. I posed a number of questions to Mr Jenkins and was surprised by the response. I have no great knowledge of what should and shouldn’t be on a car so if you can expand on the answers I would be very grateful.
I asked if it was acceptable that the bonnet clip should be rusted on a car that is less than three years old –
SJ replied that as I live in Scotland the salt on the road will have led to it
rusting, he explained that the clip is in a vulnerable position so this is why it happened so quick.
I now ask – I understand it has to be in a vulnerable position by nature of its purpose but if it rusts so easily does that mean that it is not fit for purpose? Should it not have some kind of coating on it to stop it rusting? Should it be metal in the first place if the other two options are not possible? Could they not have some sort of cover on it? Thus, does this not mean that it’s a design fault and not a maintenance issue?
I then asked if the primary clip is so susceptible to rusting is in not important that the secondary clip is fully functional, if this clip is prone to
sticking then surely this is also not fit for the purpose?
SJ – This clip should be maintained by lubrication.
Mr Jenkins told me that my bonnet failed as I had not closed it properly (there has been no examination of my bonnet clip by anyone at VOSA). I strongly disagree with this theory as I always ensure my bonnet is closed properly, I drop it and listen for it clicking then look to see it is flush, I am certain there is no way I did not close the bonnet clip properly. I informed Mr Jenkins that I had not had the bonnet up for about two months and asked if it had not been engaged properly would it not have started to vibrate or move a little in that two months as I drive 60 miles a day on the motorway.
SJ – If it was not closed properly because of the rust on the clip it could have taken time for it to open completely.
Do any other cars have an alarm if the bonnet clip is not fully engaged? What is the function of the safety clip? Should the safety clip work if the primary clip is not fully engaged?
If this clip NEEDS to be maintained by lubrication is it not reasonable to ask that Clio owners be told about this? Should this be something that is in the manual? I believe it should be as the average Clio owner would not automatically know to do this. If it should be maintained surely we need some guidance on how often etc.
I suggested to Mr Jenkins that Renault should be issuing a letter to Clio owners advising them to maintain there bonnet clip or even to the garages to make them aware of this issue if they are not already. Mr Jenkins stated that there was no way Renault would do this.
If Renault are as big on safety as they make out then why not issue information to their customers? It is not asking them to make a recall but merely to potential prevent a fatal accident on a matter they failed to include in there manual.
At the moment I am not happy at my response from VOSA, if others who are more mechanically minded than myself agree that this is not an acceptable response I will go ahead with a complaint to VOSA. I intend to make a Freedom of Information request to them over the issue to find out how many cars they examined, how many complaints they have received and what they are recommending to Renault on the matter. In the mean time my lawyers are on the case so hopefully might get somewhere with Renault!
Well no surprises here!
I actually implied to SJ that I was prepared for such as a response.
One thing he failed to capture is that it is the garages responsibilities and duty of care to ensure a car is road-worthy after a maintenance service (major or minor) - guess what it isn't! So liability is actually with the dealerships who maintain the cars....and they imply that they just follow the checklist supplied by Renault UK - so guess what Renault UK are liable!!!!
Lets what through your points:
1. "Vulnerable position" - if this is the case, then this implies a design issue, doesn't it? Are these guys thick or something? or just plain incompetent (or both?)
2. "maintained by lubrication" - but it isn't - this is ultimately the issue. 2 points, I agree that the parts are cheap and tacky, but most people agree that if lubricated they seem to operate fine (seems VOSA concur!), but the problem is if they aren't lubricated, they are prone to stick or not engage fully! (even though one DOES close the bonnet properly!). It's nothing to do with the parts of the Country one lives in (this is actually examples of incompetence - wrong time of leaves type of excuse!). I live in the South and one could argue it's too hot for the lubrication....also when I went to Heathrow one time when it was bitterly cold, I overtook a 2 gritters who threw grit all over the front of my car (yes into the vent too!).
3. "if not closed properly" - you are right, it DOES NOT take 2 whole months to open....in my case 6 weeks! Again, blatant incompetence. Actually we have closed the bonnet in accordance to the manual so actually we have done "nothing wrong" (Renault refers to the manual for how to close the bonnet properly - even though it doesn't explain height, what sounds to listen for etc!). This is all common sense, flush and tugging to verify it is secure is 100% proof for me! Even the Renault garages agree on this last point!
4. My concern is that if the main catch fails why doesn't the safety operate. Renault accused me of not engaging ANY of the catches which is ridiculous, because the bonnet would not be flush then!
I think VOSA are as stupid as Renault!
Class action is the way forward, but currently I just don't have the time to follow-up. Any ideas / takers that could assist this?