I said in a recent (my first) post that I owned a 1995 Clio MkI for a while.
Well, it appeared it was only £500 because the head gasket was going and whlie it was fine around town and back and forward to work for nearly a year it got worse. £500 and £400-£600 to MOT = scrap.
So knowing it was on it's last legs I drove it to Wicklow (300mile round trip). I figured on the motorway it would be able to stay nice and cool with 60-70mph air through the bonnet. WRONG!
The fact I sat at 70+a bit most of the way probably didn't help, but coming into Dublin ring road the dash lit up red. Confusing warnings like:
Pressure, Coolant temp warning (even though the gauge read in the upper middle), the
level gauge came on, registering half way and the
low warning light.
I let her cool at a filling station and checked the
, slightly above MAX, slightly cloudy.
The car made it all the way to Wicklow and ... all the way back to Belfast ... ish... Coming into Belfast on the motorway I realised my foot was on the floor and she wasn't gaining more than 50mph even when the slight up hill passed.
2 minutes later and a horrific grinding, slapping, clattering noise marked the death of my car.
She died with honor and in service and very nearly got me home, certainly close enough for a £20 break down tow. I got a tenner for it. If I had not have blown the engine I might have got £100 for it.
So I was placed under some pressure to get a new car and decided to stay with the Clio and move up to a 2002. Bought a 2002 Dynamique 1.2.
The third day I had it it failed to turn over and took some effort with a booster pack to get it to run. My mistake here was not immediately going and replacing the battery.
Two days later it failed to start after work and this time it took 10 minutes with a 1.9TDi diesel jump starting it to get it to run.
New battery at the dealers cost and thankfully it hasn't failed again ... yet. As it had the original 7 year old Renault battery and had been parked off road for 2 months before I got it, I'm assuming the new battery should be the last of that problem.
I have the rattly sun roof, no signs of leakage yet though. There is a water noise on occasion when driving in rain, sounds like you'd dropped an open bottle of something on the floor and it was slowly leaking out. It comes and goes. Seems to be coming from the floor under/around the front seats.
The only other things I could consider complaining about are just things I'll probably like when I get used to them.
1. Throttle release delay when shifting - If I.. release the throttle, and slip the clutch just as I do, the engine continues to throttle up causing the revs to spike almost like a
, which obviously it isn't. I've played with my pedal timing and I think this feature might be nice once I get used to it. It certainly does soften the throttle off forward lurch.
2. The power steering is a little too 'Nanny'. There is very little feel in the wheel, which makes the car feel lovely and secure on the road, when it's not! First time you really feel the car isn't totally secure on the wet road is when it leaps 2 foot to the side over a bump or man hole cover, usually followed by comments on my driving from the passenger. The old car you could feel every bump, lurch, kick and pull through the wheel.
3. The 'Nanny' PAS and torque steer. Granted my old car didn't have enough power left to spin the wheels except in the wet and under extreme duress. In the 2002 car, if I let the wheels spin even slightly pulling out of a tight junction say, then the steering wheel doesn't spin back to centre on it's own, but wanders around, stopping at, usually, the worst angle possible! Very disconcerting, but I'm sure I'll get used to having my hands in the right place at the right time to straighten the wheel myself.
These little things aside I'm quite pleased with the car. It's small, cheap and fun, all I need for now.
Service history for the car is up to date including a new set of belts at 6,000 miles ago. All Renault receipts. This can't be bad.