car is perfect, of course, there are far too many moving parts that
wear out and go wrong, although the Scenic seems more reliable than
most (see the Guestbook
for ringing endorsements). Nevertheless, this page will build into a
catalogue of real world problems (and possible solutions), discovered
by other Scenic owners. I hope you find it useful.
get the impression that the faults below are necessarily common. Most
have only been reported in by a couple of people, unless stated
otherwise. You can send in your own problem/solution by emailing me the details. If
it's been confirmed as something other than a one-off, it'll get
printed here. Thanks.
are general problems. Here is a dedicated
page relating to the single
most common fault, that of the air conditioning fan failing.
And here is another page, dedicated to the second most common
complaint, that of water ingress into the
passenger compartment (usually the footwells).
If this site has helped you or saved you money, then I'd
really appreciate it if you helped keep it going, affraying server and
admin costs - and maybe buying me a beer or two! To donate manually, go
money to my registered email address of firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any amount is welcome, from $2 or £2 upwards. Or just use the
Noisy tickover, bouncing alternator drive
From David Crook: Hi, I have a Renault Scenic 1.9 DCI Diesel. It
started to get very noisy on tick over and the alternator drive belt
was bouncing violently on tick over, I researched this for some time on
the internet and found conflicting results, two mainly, the first one
being a faulty belt tensioner and the other was that it was the
I favoured the belt tensioner as I could not work out how a pulley
could cause the level of noise I was experiencing, so replaced the
pulley and drive belt, and for good measure I changed the timing belt
and pulleys as well, but that's a whole other story and not related to
this one, however, to my horror the problem was still there.
Further research revealed that the alternator pulley is no ordinary
pulley, it has a one way ratchet mechanism built into it and it is this
that prevents the backlash seen when it fails when I say failed there
is no apparent or visible failure, even when you remove the alternator,
physical inspection reveals no sign of failure, the failure is seizure
of the ratchet mechanism and it is this that causes the noise and
bounce in the belt.
It is a bit difficult to test the pulley, as without a new one the old
one looks and feels OK, with a new pulley fitted, you need to grip it
tight and turn it as sharp as you can in both directions and you will
feel the slip in one direction, it's not easy to detect.
A new pulley alone is around £100 inc vat from a dealer and you then
need the special tool to remove and refit it, you can get this off Ebay
for around £15, I actually found a new alternator complete with pulley
on Ebay for £90.50 delivered next day, saved me £25 and a new
alternator as well.
One final thing you need to know about is the tensioner setting, it is
well advisable to replace the tensioner and pulley, as the bearing may
be worn and as with mine there may be chips broken out of the pulley
due to the violent jumping about, there are different spring tensioners
fitted to the Renault, all of which need to be pre-loaded, a new
tensioner comes pre-loaded with a bracket that is removable once the
tensioner is fitted, fit the tensioner with the bolts loose, then
adjust it as tight as you can by hand and secure the bolts, then using
a small gemmy bar and a piece of wood you need to put enough pressure
on the belt to release the pre-tensioning strap, once this is removed
release the drive belt and it is then at the correct tension, a quick
check of this is if you twist the belt between your finger and thumb
you should only be able to twist it through 90'.
Following this my engine sounded great, unfortunately whilst doing this
I had to remove the drivers side wheel to access the side of the engine
and found I needed new brake disks and pads all round, my I wish I had
bought a bus pass instead!
From Lorraine Taylor: We have a 2001 scenic 1.9 dci rxe. When we
purchased the car it needed a new engine as the cambelt had sheared.
Having put a replacement engine in the car, we noticed that the fan
belt was beginning to fray and was trying to ride off the pulleys, only
a week or so after we had completed the work on it. This we think was
the cause of the cam belt failure as it had only recently been changed
on the previous engine. Having inspected the the old engine we realised
that the old fan belt was only half its original width and was badly
frayed and the cambelt inner cover had been worn away over a period of
time. we found deposits of the fan belt wrapped around the lower
cambelt pulley. This was caused by the spring tensioner doing up the
belt too tight and the belt vibrating at certain engine speeds due to
the spring. The solution was to make an aluminium bracket out of a flat
bar to allow the fan belt to be set to a fixed tension. The problems
seems to be solved and the fan belt is no longer fraying or vibrating.
belt jumps sideways
From Andy Britton: I had this problem with even though the belt was not
that old. Replaced belt still doing the same. Stripped out belt
tensioner, the self lubricating bearings were dirty and binding.
Cleaned bearings and shaft with solvent, lubricated with a small amount
of silicone grease. Problem solved. Basically the bearings had built up
with a kind of varnish and were slowing the tensioner arm when the belt
jumped, i.e. when the engine stops.
power, glow plug light
permanently lit (all diesels)
From Dave Mears: I've just bought a Scenic 1.9 diesel auto and on the
second day I started it and it just cut out, so I started it again and
selected drive and off I went but it seemed slow and gave out a bit of
smoke , well i just made it back to the garage where I bought it, there
is no power at all and the glow plug light is on all the time and d3
has lit up twice. I turned out it was the ERV valve - this had broken,
one repaired valve later and the car runs as good as new.
From Tony Brown: Twice now my Scenic has been a pain to start,
especially if by accident you press the accelerator pedal before
starting it. Turned out it was the Top Dead Centre (TDC) Sensor each
time. Apparently on the Scenic and other Renaults, the sensor collects
fragments of metal/filings on the sensor (must be magnetic) which, if
not cleaned away, leads to starting problems (sometimes up to 20
attempts before it does start !) It is bolted to the engine by two
bolts and is easily removed for a clean up - I used a wire brush, a rag
soaked in WD40 and rebolted it back in and the problem went away. It
took 12 months to return but a repeat clean up sorted the problem
again. A friend took his to a local car repairer and they charged him
£60 to sort - they tried to say they had replaced the TDC but hadn't,
just cleaned it like I did. See also here
on the Renault Forums.
From Darren Aldrich: Sometimes my Scenic will start first turn of key
and other times it can take up to 8 turns of the key. [Later] Turned
out to be the petrol pump relay.
Starting problems after very damp and cold
From Phil Senior: Had appalling problems getting my Scenic to
start recently. Apparently water leaks (from the sunroof) into the
lamp-box above windscreen and the moisture travels down the wiring to
the ECU, housed in the offside wing. Solution was having the ECU
noise in line with engine
More from Tony Brown: You have a note on your site about alternator
belt and pulley failures but did you know that a failure of the
alternator belt or pulley can lead to a shredded/snapped belt that can
get caught up in the cambelt/crankshaft pulley, causing the cambelt to
jump or stretch causing top end failure ?
I only found this out after visiting my Renault dealer for them to
examine my engine which was making a whistling noise which rose and
fell in line with the engine speed (sounded a bit like the interference
you used to get on car radios which didn't have suppression). Renault
thought it might be the power steering pump bearing or alternator
bearings failing and suggested I took off the alternator belt and spin
the pulleys on the aforementioned to determine which was the problem.
I then accidently chipped the alternator tensioner pulley belt wheel
meaning I had to order new ones from Renault. I took the tensioner
pulley wheels off so I had them with me to take to Renault and noticed
that when you spun the tensioner pulley wheel it made a noise like an
old roller skate wheel !. This must have been the cause of the
whistling noise. The power steering pump and alternator pulleys spun
cleanly without noise so presumably are ok. Owners should be very wary
of belt, tensioner or pulley failure due to the potential disasterous
Owners should check for signs of wear and cracking, especially across
the grooves which run longitudinally, signs of fraying and if there are
any noises eminating from the belt area get them checked out. In
addition Renault advised me that pulleys on certain alternators fail
and can become undone or shear causing similar failures. I also
understand that the crankshaft pulleys on certain engines are made in
two halfs with a rubber insert and that they can fail too.
My problem turned out to be a relatively cheap fix compared with the
cost of replacing the engine. Renault were very helpful and informed me
that they had the pulley tensioner kit in stock for about £37 plus VAT.
The kit contains the sprung tensioner unit and pulley wheel, the idler
pulley wheel and a Renault alternator belt. (out of interest - the
tensioner and pulley wheel on its own without belt
and idler pulley costs £98 plus VAT ! The parts chap who served me
couldn't explain why but knew of many similar strange pricing policies
on Renault Parts!)
Not sure if you are interested in the steps required to replace the
tensioner, pulleys and belt but...... Firstly
if your belt is still on the car, make a drawing to record the route
the belt takes around the various pulleys. After you remove the belt (I
cut through mine but be careful as the tensioner will spring back at
speed - keep your hands clear) you can remove the old pulley wheels
using a 13mm spanner on the bolts that pass through them - it is
difficult to get a socket in as they sit tight against the chassis leg.
The tensioner pulley unit itself is held on by two more 13mm bolts.
Again it is hard to get a socket in to remove them and I took off the
inner plastic wing liner to get better access - it is fastened by three
plastic push fasterners and 2 screws into the outer wing lip. You can
then just about undo the 2x 13mm bolts which hold the tensioner unit to
the engine and it simply drops down. You have to be really careful when
refitting the new tensioner unit as it is pre-sprung to allow you to
refit the new belt over the pulleys. It has a pin inserted to keep the
spring under tension and if it gets knocked it can come loose and give
you one hell of a crack whilst you refit it. Tighten it up carefully
avoiding hitting the pin. Refit the new idler pulley wheel againt being
careful not to hit the pin on the tensioner unit. You can now fit the
new belt, which has longtitudinal grooves which line up with the
grooves in the pulleys (the idler and tensioner pulley are plastic and
not grooved). Make sure the belt is perfectly lined up on the pulleys
and not overhanging the side. I managed to refit the belt on my own but
it would be easier with someone to help you. Watch you don't catch your
hand or finger in the belt or pulleys (ouch). With some dexterity you
can relieve the pressure from the spring in the tension using a 13mm
spanner turning it clockwise whilst at the same time pulling the pin
out using pliars - watch your hand as the pulley wheel bangs down hard
under the tension of the spring. Check the belt is cleanly on the
grooves and that it is under pressure fro the tensioner. Double check
that all the bolts are tight and give the engine a quick turnover. If
everything is ok then refit the inner wing and take it for a test
drive. Tools used - big screwdriver, 13mm ring and open spanners, 13mm
socket and slim drive ratchet and pliers. The whistling noise on my
Scenic is no more. Time taken - about 45 mins to strip down everything
ready to fit the new parts and approx 45 minutes to refit everything.
on acceleration (all
From Mike Sullivan: I'm experiencing loss of engine power with the 1.9
dci diesel. My glo-plug heater light comes on and stays on now and
there is a complete lack of power from the engine, it just wo'nt pull.
There is no over heating of the engine, and the exhaust emissions
appear to be fine. This has just happened suddenly. [later] I finally
got to the root cause. After much time spent checking out the engine
timing, exhaust system, fuel system and gving the engine a flush out
with fuel and oil treatments, I put the car onto a diagnostic test
system, this revealed several faults in the electrics (various codes)
but they all pointed to the turbocharger. Turns out the turbo is
defective. A costly repair with what Renault are asking for the turbo
and the garage to fit it as I don't have the facilities to do this job.
trouble (all dTi models)
Two owners wrote in about this: "there are 1 of 2 possible turbos you
may have on your vehicle: a ''kkk'' or ''garret''. The latter being the
best turbo and it's important to change your oil every 6000 miles. I
think you should give people fair warning that there is a possible
design fault. Engine oil flows through the turbo to lubricate it, the
turbo is there to pump air at pressure into the inlet manifold, and a
seal inside prevents the oil from leaking into the air inlet. If this
seal leaks, oil is allowed to flow into the engine combustion chamber,
then we have a problem because a diesel engine will run fast on oil,
because its like giving a child chocolate - they love it. Constant oil
monitoring and listening to the turbo is needed. Thanks for your time"
transmission from standing start
This is caused by a leak in the transmission oil system and is
especially noticeable when the engine is cold (lower oil pressure).
longer turns off car immobliser
As an alternative to buying a new key, from Jamie Ford: I have found a
solution, It can be used all the time but does take a few moments to
perfect. What the owner needs to do is find out the 4 Digit code for
the immobiliser from the dealer. They usually complain and say this
number does not exist but it does. Depending on the dealer there may be
a charge for this number (no more than £30). When you have the number,
you turn on the ignition. The red light on the dash should flash
rapidly, press in the lock button on the dash and the light should slow
down. You need to count the number of flashes to correspond with the
first digit of the code, then release the button pressing it in again
for the second number and so on. When all numbers have been entered in
this way the button should be released and the light will stay
illuminated for about 10 seconds - when the light goes out the
immobiliser is turned off and you can start the car.... It sounds a
little long winded but when you get the hang of it it takes about 30
sec to complete and saves the owner about 150 quid on a new key....
air dam moulding
Original Scenics had a stapled-on(!) extra section on the bottom of the
front air dam moulding. It's not unknown for these to start falling
off, but don't worry, they're not really needed. If it starts coming
away, just lever it off completely and throw it away. Car performance
and economy isn't significantly impaired.
from the engine
From Alan Graystone: "I have tracked it down to where the bottom hose
(metal part) goes into the pump housing. Managed to fix the water leak
myself. There is an o-ring around the pipe where it goes into the
block. Single screw holds the pipe, and it pulls out. The o-ring was
worn away around half of the circumferance. Fitted a new one and no
more leaks. 50p o-ring is a bit cheaper than the £75+ Renault were
engine sound, lower power
(1999-2003, petrol models only)
Many owners find that one or more of the ignition coils fail. If this
does happen, it's definitely worth having them all replaced, to avoid
them failing one by one. Typical symptoms are "misfiring, smelling hot
and losing power at times...". Complain to Renault about these -
apparently they acknowledge that it's a design fault and they fit a
newly designed replacement part free of charge. Or get a Diesel model,
like me 8-)
the body cavities (2000-2003)
After heavy rain, water does tend to collect in small pockets at the
top of the engine bay, underneath the windscreen and then you can hear
it sloshing around on cornering for a mile or two until it's all found
a way out to the ground. Annoying, but don't worry about it.
side sills (just 1997-1999
Should you ever hear a swooshing(!) sound when braking, it'll be water
that has somehow found its way into the side sills. The cure is to
remove one of the rubber plugs on the sill underside, to let the water
out. It's not entirely clear how the water gets in there in the first
place, but leaving the plug out certainly makes sure it doesn't hang
around and cause rust problems.
going rusty (all models)
To be fair, this probably applies to all cars to some extent, but the
Scenic doesn't like being left to stand, unused (as if!) for long
periods. If you're not going to use it regularly, at least give 10
miles every week, using the brakes a lot to try and keep rust from
developing on the discs.
window fails on the driver's
The regulator for this window has been known to fail.
water under engine on hot days
(models with air-con)
This isn't unique to Scenics but is worth noting. On very hot days,
significant condensation builds up on the air conditioning compressor
unit. Once parked, you'll find water dripping down onto the road. It's
water from the air though, don't worry, your Scenic isn't losing fluid!
belt keeps jumping pulley
One owner with a 1997 1.9 dti had this, went through several belts and
tensioners. One day whilst buying yet another belt, he asked a Renault
mechanic about it and he remembered something about it on an internal
memo - it turns out there was a modified alternator pulley that solves
lock the car, unlock it again
before it will start (1997-1999)
You haven't been reading your manual properly. This is a design
(security) feature. You have to switch on the ignition within 30
seconds of unlocking the car. If it takes you longer than this to
settle the children, etc, why not put the key in the ignition and turn
it on without actually starting up? Then, a few minutes later when
you're ready, just advance the key and start up for real.
wiper linkage (1997-1999)
From Robert West: Wipers..... one knuckle of the linkage gets water and
road salt running onto it. This then corrodes and falls off. This has
been corrected in the new linkage by a bellow cover to keep the water
off. You can no longer buy the plastic fittings, the whole linkage must
be replaced. Advice: if you don't have the extra bellow cover
modification, grease up the linkage before it falls off.
driver's door electric window
mechanism (all models)
From Paul Swift: "I am now on my second 2000(V) model Sport Alize 1600
(first was written off - tail-ended by a 52-seater) and have
experienced the same fault with both. We also have a friend with one of
the earliest of the new model (2003 to date) who now has the same
fault, so it doesn't look as though the new ones are any better. In
each case the nylon plastic wire guide at the top of the driver's door
window slider broke away from the metal part of the slider. This then
de-tensioned the cable causing it to wind itself messily round the
In the short-term, a quick solution was the usual block of wood once
the entire mechanism was removed from the door, but for a longer-term
Solutions: 1. Have the entire window winder mechanism replaced by
Renault (£230+VAT+fitting). You can't just get the plastic guide bit!
£300 hurts too much when all that's broken is a bit of plastic?
2. You could try to get a window mechanism from a scrappy, though
Scenics seem pretty rare.
3. Conveniently. the guide already has a small hole through it meaning
a short metal plate can be bolted to it then stuck to the window slider
guide using Evo-stik liquid metal. I used one of the small steel
joining plates available from B&Q etc though I'm sure there's
something in a Meccano set that will do. Left to cure for a day and the
bond is pretty strong. Make sure you glue it to the side away from
where the glass attaches and that the bolt comes through from the glass
side. The winder motor then needs to be removed from its housing (3x
star drive bolts) and the cable runs tidied. Each cable attaches to
opposite sides of the spiral and runs from there via the top and bottom
wire guides on the slider and into the sliding centre block. Wind each
cable around the spiral towards the other one until there's just one
empty groove. Reassemble motor and spiral into housing. There's a
tensioning mechanism on the housing at each side of the spiral which
will allow you to 'stretch' the cable over the last guide. You should
by this point have a motor with two cables running to the slider block
in from opposite ends of the slider track all nicely tensioned and with
the slider in the middle of the slider track and the empty groove in
the middle of the spiral. Back to the door panel and plug in the motor
power cable. Test that you've put the cables right way round i.e.
switch up = window up and correct if wrong by disconnecting the cables
from the slider and recabling the correct way round. (I've made this
mistake once and failed to test before reassembling the door!).
Reattach the motor and slide to the door after removing your temporary
block of wood. Getting the top end into position is a bit fiddly but
not too bad. Slide the window down until it reaches the slider and pop
it over the lug. Put the lock clip back into place on the other side of
Reattach the door panel ensuring you have a) passed the opening
mechanism through the appropriate hole, b) reconnected the window motor
connector, c) reconnected the electric mirrors connector (I've
forgotten to do this once too!) and d) ensured the speaker wire is
accessible through the speaker mounting hole. Reattach the speaker and
clip the cover back into place and you're done. Run the window up and
down through its full range to ensure the electrickery knows where the
top and bottom are and to ensure it's running freely on the spiral.
Total time taken - about 30 minutes to get the mechanism out of the
door, about 1 hour messing with bolts and plates and liquid metal, 24
hours curing then about 2 hours messing with the cables and spiral
before reattaching to the door - another 30 minutes. Total cost - £8
most of which was the liquid metal cartridge. "
dims, blinks and then goes
From Leslie: I have a 04 Renault Megane with 47500 miles on it. The
dash started dimming & blinking, then went completely blank.
Renault wanted £450 a new one plus £170 for the labour! After lots of
searching, I found a solution online "intermittent fault with dashboard
on renault scenic: £150 + £8.25 for UK next day postage", Renault
Megane or Scenic digital dash clocks repaired for a fraction of the
£620 Renault quoted me! With a longer warranty also! If you've also
been messed about by Renault over your faulty dashboard, then give
these guys a call: 07599 159222 (direct line to 'Ian') Told him how I'd
been treated by Renault and got his permission to give out his personal
number. He said they can usually have dashboards for Megane or Scenics
back with the customer within 48Hrs after receiving them. I posted mine
on a Monday & had it back repaired on the Wednesday! They were
very helpful, I even got to speak to the engineer who actually repaired
my instrument cluster... He gave me instructions on how to remove my
instrument panel from the dash, took me around 10 minutes and about 15
to refit it. Renault said they would be charging me 2hrs labour for
this. UPDATE (thanks to
I Whyte): Renault UK have now officially acknowledged this problem and
apparently will fit a replacement dash cluster for £100 all-in.
problems here soon...