Renault Clio 2 - Bonnet Catch Failures - Page 146 - Renault Forums :: Independent Renault forum

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post #726 of 1147 (permalink) Old 19th June 2007
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Hi All, I purchased my RenaultSport Clio 182 from the Renault Main Dealer in Bristol 3 weeks ago (May 29th). It is a 2004 model, and really is in stunning condition. I didn't even think about the Watchdog report at the time of buying this car (I couldn't even remember whether it was specifically the Clio that was effected).

Anyway, I read a lot of this thread yesterday and went out to check my bonnet catch earlier - I should note that the bonnet opens and shuts perfectly with no trouble at all, and hasn't given me any cause for concern over the last few weeks.

So imagine my surprise when I checked and saw a nice clean engine bay apart from a terribly rusty bonnet catch - it looks totally out of place considering the nice condition of the rest of the bay! I'm also concerned about the plastic lever not being very sturdy (which I believe they have now changed on later models to a metal version from what others have said).

I phoned Renault straight afterwards to say I was concerned (I have never received a letter or any correspondance warning me to have it checked). I have booked it in for next week, so will be interested to see what they say.

I hope that they will replace the entire catch assembly just for my piece of mind - I'm especially concerned as it's a pretty fast car and I imagine the extra acceleration this model has over smaller engined models can only add to the strain put on the bonnet catch.

I took lots of photos anyway! (the last photo shows the bonnet closed perfectly with no indication of the catch not doing its job).

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post #727 of 1147 (permalink) Old 27th June 2007
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Well I got a letter saying that I could have a free check at a renault dealer and also I had to put this other notice in withmy MOT as it was now a requirement to have it checked every year!!! Funny how they have done a turn around!!!
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post #728 of 1147 (permalink) Old 27th June 2007
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I havn't read through all 131 pages so apologise if I am just repeating other peoples views. In my opinion the issue is not with the bonnet catch more about Renault no having it in the maintenance schedule.

My Clio 2 catch is very rusty but in 4 years and 130k it has become a problem twice. Both time were when I tried to shut the bonnet it would not shut. The latch had become stuck and after freeing off with a screwdriver and some WD40 it is now fine again.

I know of someone whom this has happened to i.e bonnet flipping open at speed smashing the windscreen and denting the bonnet and roof. They are competent with cars and say they did check the bonnet was closed though but to me the most important check when shutting the bonnet is to make sure it is shut by lifting it. Also when closing drop it from at least 10cm.

We can't blame Renault after all the Clio has spent most of it's life with a bonnet that this can't happen with
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post #729 of 1147 (permalink) Old 27th June 2007
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I had an X reg 2001 Clio for 4 years, got rid of it before all this was known about the faulty catches.

I had a plastic catch, and had no problems at all. I must have got the one that worked right! Although it was an odd bonnet catch which I thought was flimsy and fiddly to use, you don't think that it could be a danger.
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post #730 of 1147 (permalink) Old 3rd July 2007
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Exclamation VOSA's Response to My MPs Enquiries

Here's the letter I received from Stephen Tetlow - the CEO of the VOSA organisation.

"Dear Mr Soames,

Thank you for your letter of 1st May on behalf of your constituent Aaron Brigatti, [address removed], about the Vehicle and Operator Service Agency (VOSA) investigation of Renault Clio II bonnet and safety catches. I am sorry for the extended time it has taken to respond.

I have reviewed the investigation undertaken by my Vehicle Safety Branch (VSB) over the last 12 months. I can confirm that it has been robust and that within our remit, under the Code of Practice on Vehicle Safety Defects, the decision not to impose a safety recall was correct.

In April 2007, Renault UK began contacting circa 500,000 1998-2007 Renault Clio II Phase 1, Phase II and Clio II Campus customers to invite them to their local dealership to have the bonnet and safety catch components checked and, if necessary, serviced or replaced free of charge.

Unfortunately, I did not receive Mr Brigatti's earlier e-mails. We believe the e-mail address he used was incomplete. For further reference our email contact details are: [blah].

However, Mr Brigatti has been kept informed of the investigation progress through correspondence with my VSB and Hugh Edwards, Director of Goods Vehicles. It maybe easier to discuss questions and theories face-to-face. Jeff Sweeting, Head of VSB, would be happy to meet with Mr Brigatti and can be contacted on [blah].

I trust this addresses your concerns.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Tetlow"

My comments below:
  • The VSB investigation has not lasted "12 months" as implied - they received my filed case in April 2006, and only reviewed my report (and that of another "victim" (see second point regarding my comments on this)) and inspected 3 other unaffected vehicles in April 2006 - and submitted a conclusion response to me in January 2007. Firstly, to be correct this is not 12 months, and secondly it would appear that they made their decision within the first few months of the investigation, as I have received indication that in October and November 2006, the VSB declined to file or respond to any further cases filed to it - why? Is this a "complete" investigation? If anything, this should obtain details from ANY incidents that occurred related to the "sudden bonnet release syndrome" or see any commonality in the part mechanism / performance. Reviewing two REPORTS and spot-checking 3 undamaged cars is not a (thorough) investigation!
  • Regarding the "second report" they reviewed. Under a FoI request, this report has not come to light - therefore I am questioning it's existence. At this stage, there is nothing that indicates a second report was reviewed. Also reviewing two "reports" completed by the garage / manufacture in question does raise the question of their reliability and independence. I reiterate that the VSB investigation was based solely on these two reports!
  • The VOSA Code of Practice indicates that a defect has to appear on a "common number of units", which are "available in the UK" - and with "evidence that a safety defect exists in the affected unit". 1,000+ cases in the UK alone covers the initial points. I would question how they have come to the conclusion that there is no evidence indicating that a "safety defect" exists in the related part. Note: that the part in question that keeps a bonnet secure - is a two-part bonnet catch mechanism - which incorporates a safety catch. My understanding is safety relates to anything that endangers the life of the occupants or those that are around the vehicle. This is a very basic viewpoint of what I deem as "safety". Quoting verbatim your policy - a safety defect is "a feature of design or construction liable to cause a significant risk of personal injury or death" - ....I questioned to VOSA to confirm which bit doesn't apply in the Renault Case? And confirm to me the VOSA/VSB definition of a safety defect as apparently they are contradicting their own policies here?
  • Please consider this - a bonnet catch failure that removes ALL visibility for the driver - resulting in potentially a fatal "life-threatening" RTA (endangering lives!) - is what we would deem as a evidence of a potential safety defect (many people in the industry agrees to this very point!).
  • To bring them closer to a similar scenario, the VSB deemed a previous Alfa Romeo 147 & 156 "bonnet catch failure" as a safety defect - resulting in a manufacturer's recall of the affected vehicles. What makes the Renault case different?
  • They were correct in that Renault have "invited" owners of the affected vehicles for a free safety inspection (12+mths after early reports) - however, this doesn't address the root-cause of why it happened (maintenance is one small aspect of a bigger issue - which is likely to re-occur in the future - and cases continue to be reported!) - but importantly, comes too late relating to the 1,000+ cases (where people have had to claim via their insurance). It's a matter of a gesture which is "too little, too late", and still fails far short from a total UK and, in theory, a global recall. This was only due to the persistence of members of the public, like myself, and the media. If it weren't for us, Renault would have sweep this matter under the carpet - like they initially tried to do for all reported cases filed to them. This is not a "unique" incident as they implied.
What are the results of these points?

Well we are potentially questioning the role of VOSA, the VSB and the ambiguity and interpretation of their own policies - if they can easily contradict these - the vehicle manufacturer would be in a clear position to do the exact same thing! This should not happen.

Apparently, the organisation does not have any powers to force a recall (more of an advisory role!?) nor deal with these matters independently - i.e. they become reliant on anything that the manufacture advises / communicates to them - and they accept their findings in such cases. Is this a role of a safety agency - one that I believe was meant to be impartial?

More news to follow...and hopefully I will schedule this "meeting" at some point soon - depends on my work commitments etc...


Aaron Brigatti
Brigatti Online -

Clio Bonnet-Catch Issues?
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Last edited by brigatti; 9th July 2007 at 09:29 PM.
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