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post #607 of (permalink) Old 28th March 2007
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Originally Posted by jacquidenise View Post
Did anyone watch watchdog tonight and manage to take down the customer service number that they mentioned. Sorry i didn't get home intime to watch it
Sorry but I didn't make note of any number; however the Renault guy did say that within 15 minutes of the programme ending, their website would be open.

Was that a nervous guy or what? It was a sad thing to watch really and left something to be desired. I would have liked to have heard more about VOSA about whom, the implication made was they had been testing vehicles when we all know that they merely accepted Renault's reassurances as de facto.

Part of a clip shown tonight actually illustrated the malfunction of the "T" bar-puller. It actually appeared to stick in the retracted position after the person operating it let go. And this is a major part of the problem because, once stuck open and dropped to lock, the safety hook folds "under" instead of returning to its engaged position; in that scenario, it is in fact physically impeded from returning to a viable position. I have seen photos of some other Renault catches that appear to be less worrysome because the "hole" for the safety hook is rectangular (rather than square) and considerably elongated which allows the safety to engage without hindrance if the vibrations release its "seized" status.

I can also state that last Saturday 24th March, I had sight of a 2004 Scenic which had a much heavier-duty safety device involving a metal "U-bolt" attached to the bonnet and a broader plastic (or plastic-coated) hook attached to the bodywork. I operated this device repeatedly in the presence of the owner and the mechanism got stuck in the open/disengaged position several times. This car had recently been serviced by a franchised dealer but no appearance of grease or other lubricant was evident. Being plastic, this may not be entirely a bad thing. The bad thing is that even after manipulating and lubricating all the moving parts, some friction and harshness remained. It would not surprise me if similar incidents were to be registered in relation to this model too, because although this car is relatively new and maintained, their was severe scoring to be seen on the striking surface of the safety hook, caused by the u-bolt as it descends towards the engaged position when dropped. I would recommend that anyone with that model Scenic should open the bonnet and 'play' with the little toggle (in the grille) to see if it sticks or if it proves difficult to operate. If there is any friction or harshness, they would be well-advised to visit their dealer for an opinion and if still dissatisfied to do whatever it takes to make it function freely. I have not really considered the angle of attack on this particular bonnet so it may be that even if the locks fail, the wind pressure may press it down rather than lift it up... but I wouldn't like to test it on the move; can you blame me?

We don't really want to hear of any more accidents, so lets hope this situation improves very quickly.

And, by the way, Westminster is aware now, but nobody has questioned if VOSA acted in a satisfactory manner or whether they have knowingly given false information to cover up their earlier short-comings.

The saddest part was the news that Watchdog had heard of a fatality involving a Clio2 and the police had said that the accident was caused by the bonnet flying open at speed. This happened in South Africa and the casualty was a passenger not the driver, which goes to prove that all road users are at risk from these malfunctions. I wrote to VOSA about my concerns nearly a year ago but they don't seem to have been particularly worried, not even when I asked them recently to make enquiries about the two Leicestershire fatalities of last December. So much so, that they told me to do it myself and only just stopped short of being offensive to me. Their email had an undercurrent of dismissal bordering on "stop bothering us".

Any other observations anyone? The debate has been thrown wide open even more now.


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