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#3390772 - 06/06/14 02:50 PM Long distance help for an elderly lady
expat Offline


Registered: 05/12/09
Posts: 3792
Loc: Canada
I have a friend in the UK, her trusty Toyota was recently totaled in an accident, and she bought a 3 year old Renault Megane with the pay out.
The 'new' car has a 3 month warranty from the dealer, with 3 weeks before it runs out.

She got back from a 2 week vacation last week (the car had been sitting) and was driving into town, and she claims "all the warning lights came on" "Engine and transmission"

She returned the car to the dealer who cleared the CEL and told her "the problem was, the battery was low because she does not drive it enough"

I told her that does not sound plausible, and advised her to keep any paperwork related to the visit.

Any Ideas?

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#3390785 - 06/06/14 03:01 PM Re: Long distance help for an elderly lady [Re: expat]
yvon_la Offline


Registered: 05/20/14
Posts: 705
Loc: quebec canada
2 week ,sitting in a yard 0 driving ?yep it can empty battery ,the various thing like alarm clock etc require the car to run at least once a week .might be a good idea to unhook the battery next time or gun around for an icecream cone once a week
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#3390797 - 06/06/14 03:10 PM Re: Long distance help for an elderly lady [Re: expat]
Rand Offline


Registered: 08/20/03
Posts: 7346
Loc: Akron,Ohio
2 weeks doubtful, 2-3month... "might" be possible
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#3390799 - 06/06/14 03:12 PM Re: Long distance help for an elderly lady [Re: expat]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 13291
Loc: Upstate NY
Doubtful but not impossible. The battery and charging system should be checked at a minimum.
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#3390809 - 06/06/14 03:18 PM Re: Long distance help for an elderly lady [Re: expat]
Bud Offline


Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 134
Loc: Texas
Possible, but hard for me to believe after only a couple of weeks. I am with Donald about having the battery and charging system checked, and do it by someone other than the dealer. Do it before the warranty is out.
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#3390815 - 06/06/14 03:25 PM Re: Long distance help for an elderly lady [Re: expat]
Dufus2 Offline


Registered: 12/12/13
Posts: 146
Loc: Virginia
Sounds like this dealer is avoiding the issue of a covered warranty repair. I have seen Ford cars do similar things and the shop never could figure out the electrical gremlins... Sounds like the car had issues and the dealer dumped it on this elderly woman.
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#3390821 - 06/06/14 03:38 PM Re: Long distance help for an elderly lady [Re: expat]
expat Offline


Registered: 05/12/09
Posts: 3792
Loc: Canada
My thoughts are, if the battery were that low, the engine would not start.
Once started, there should be more than enough power for the ECU.

Also note, the car was not left during winter. this was 2 weeks in a mild climate!

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#3390844 - 06/06/14 04:10 PM Re: Long distance help for an elderly lady [Re: expat]
Trav Offline


Registered: 11/20/06
Posts: 9443
Loc: MA, Mittelfranken.de
Something doesn't sound quite right. Even after 2 weeks if it had enough juice to start the car the ECM had to have enough juice, it takes less than 9v to keep the memory alive.
The alarm could have drained the battery to the point that the battery was drained, my GM will drain the battery in 2 weeks but when the alarm isn't activated with the lock button the remote it will hold all winter.

Do you know if she needed a jump or locked it with the remote?
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#3390911 - 06/06/14 05:19 PM Re: Long distance help for an elderly lady [Re: expat]
Cardenio327 Offline


Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 475
Loc: Oaxaca, Mexico
Originally Posted By: expat
3 year old Renault Megane


^^operative phrase^^

I work on modern Renaults quite often. My impression of them is typical European lease car similar to Opel that really isn't engineered to last much longer than 3 years with high cost maintenance and repairs aplenty. They have probably the toughest suspensions, superbly engineered in that area, the motors generally are good, but with abnormally high maintenance, i.e. interference engines with the cheapest cam belt tensioner bearings imaginable that seize 500 miles after the cam belt service mileage is reached. The rest of the car is really sketchy, poorly engineered and assembled indifferently. The electrical systems are especially dodgy.

The worst cars I work on are Peugeot hands down. I would say Fiat and Renault hold the tie for second worst, and I would put Opel in third place.

All Renault woes aside, any newer car is going to have an elaborate electrical system that draws even when switched off. I can easily see the battery getting low after two weeks, especially with short old lady trips and using head lights, heater, a/c, &c. Another thing is that since it is only 3 years old, it probably still has whatever shady battery it came new with, and batteries just don't seem to last like they used to. It probably could use a new one by now.

DDEC, Detroit Diesel's electronic engine control system is capable of functioning perfectly with only 5 volts of battery power, but many car systems are not, especially questionable European marques. Some of them begin to malfunction when voltage drops under 11 and it isn't unheard of for some cars to have enough voltage to crank over but not enough to power up the engine management system, so the dealer's diagnosis to me isn't totally bogus.
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#3390925 - 06/06/14 05:40 PM Re: Long distance help for an elderly lady [Re: expat]
expat Offline


Registered: 05/12/09
Posts: 3792
Loc: Canada
I have asked her to clarify that she was driving the car when the problem occurred.

I also asked her to confirm that the 'dealer just handed her the keys (no paperwork) when she collected the car.

It would be nice to know what code the CEL threw, and have a record if it happens again, out of warranty.

I fear the lady is an 'easy mark' when it comes to cars.
She had a very nice. super low millage, fully maintained, Yaris wagon, that was involved in what seems like no more than a 'Fender Bender'

Her insurance looked up the 'Book Price' for a car of that year, and offered her that, claiming the car was totaled.

I think she would (and should) have happily kicked in a few hundred herself, just to get HER car back, But felt Railroaded and stuck without a car, so bought the first thing the local dealer pushed her way. mad

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#3390957 - 06/06/14 06:31 PM Re: Long distance help for an elderly lady [Re: expat]
Cardenio327 Offline


Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 475
Loc: Oaxaca, Mexico
Originally Posted By: expat
Railroaded
the first thing the local dealer pushed her way. mad


Sorry to hear that. A re-constructed frame-damaged broom-painted branded-titled Yaris wagon trumps any modern Renault in my playbook any day of the week.

My prejudice against the marque stems from my Dad having 2 Alliances plus an extra Alliance and an extra Encore for parts when I was a kid. Parts cars are no help with Alliances because the several items that constantly break are always already broken on the donor cars, the rest of them holds up pretty good. The last 5 years of working on Meganes, Clios, Kangoos and Scenics has done little other than reinforce my prejudices.

I really like the concept, appearance, and percieved utility of the Renault Kangoo [kind of like a modern day Matra Rancho], so I went to a Peugeot dealer to look into buying a Grand Raid Maya, which is Peugeot's imitation of the Kangoo. Just touching the buttons and controls felt like each movement would be that piece's last before shattering into smithereens. There was something off putting about how the rear seat folded too, as if they should have just visited a junkyard and studied how a 1970s Honda Civic seat folds for inspiration and have ended up with a design light-years ahead. The quality of the instruments, controls, and interior fittings would have ashamed a late 1970s Chrysler or American Motors corporate accountant. I didn't even bother to test drive it and managed to slip out of the dealership while the salesman's arrogant stare was fixated in another direction.
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#3390964 - 06/06/14 06:43 PM Re: Long distance help for an elderly lady [Re: expat]
HosteenJorje Offline


Registered: 05/26/14
Posts: 118
Loc: Columbus,Nebraska
She replaced a Toyota with a Renault? After I recover from my laughing fit, I am turning this sucker off for the day. Can't take another one like that this day. Renault was a complete bust In the US. Even American iron was better than that disaster on four wheels. Fiat and Yugo came later and upped the ante on sorry automobiles. Regards

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#3391079 - 06/06/14 09:04 PM Re: Long distance help for an elderly lady [Re: expat]
Rick in PA Offline


Registered: 01/04/03
Posts: 2096
Loc: Southeastern, PA
How long a car can sit, undriven, reliably, should be something the manufacturer should know. Perhaps contacting the manufacturer with this question would be useful.
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#3391089 - 06/06/14 09:15 PM Re: Long distance help for an elderly lady [Re: Rick in PA]
expat Offline


Registered: 05/12/09
Posts: 3792
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Rick in PA
How long a car can sit, undriven, reliably, should be something the manufacturer should know. Perhaps contacting the manufacturer with this question would be useful.


I would think that it is not unreasonable to go on vacation for two weeks, come home and be able to drive your car*.

*Unless you leave from some parts of Canada, and it's winter.

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#3391446 - 06/07/14 12:21 PM Re: Long distance help for an elderly lady [Re: expat]
expat Offline


Registered: 05/12/09
Posts: 3792
Loc: Canada
I don't like the sound of this.
I received this Email today, after I asked for clarification on the problem.

She says: "thank you for your help, i was driving along, when first the "check ABS" came up, then shortly after "check gearbox" and just over the two, it said Service."

So, as I suspected from her fist Email, the car had Started and she was in motion when the lights started coming on.

It is also showing multiple faults CEL, ABS and Service reminder!
Dealer offered no formal explanation other than the Battery must have been Low after leaving it for 2 weeks.
"But everything is OK now"
When pushed, they suggested she buy an extended warranty.

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#3391913 - 06/08/14 01:26 AM Re: Long distance help for an elderly lady [Re: expat]
KitaCam Offline


Registered: 11/16/12
Posts: 1485
Loc: SunnySouthFlorida
Expat...
Have her document her trips to the dealer...
Have her get someone to photograph the warning lights on...

and this...."dealer"?
Did she buy from a OEM or other manufacturer dealership....or an indie? The type of 3-month warranty she has and its value depends on the veracity of the dealer...

The indie "fast-food" used car lot (esp. THIS one, based on its attitude thus far) is not likely to give two shifts about her "idiot" lights flashing...a franchise dealer on the other hand, might.

...but keeping the documents might offer her some legal recourse should anything serious go wrong...not that it hasn't already....


Edited by KitaCam (06/08/14 01:28 AM)
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#3392261 - 06/08/14 02:56 PM Re: Long distance help for an elderly lady [Re: expat]
HosteenJorje Offline


Registered: 05/26/14
Posts: 118
Loc: Columbus,Nebraska
I just bet the dealer tried to sell her an extended warranty. Those are big money makers and about as worthless as the paper they are printed on. Nothing more than a high priced insurance policy that the underwriter never intends to pay out on.

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#3393009 - 06/09/14 12:51 PM Re: Long distance help for an elderly lady [Re: expat]
expat Offline


Registered: 05/12/09
Posts: 3792
Loc: Canada
Thank you everybody for your help and input.

Seeing as the Dealer just wiped the codes and gave her a lame explanation. there is little more she can do at this point.

If or when this happens again, she is a little more informed with regard how she stands with this Guy (she does not trust him)

I also sent her this:
http://www.autofocus.ca/how-to/knowledge-base/what-if-the-dealer-cant-fix-your-car

and told her if she does go back to get a copy of the work order and a record of CEL code that came up, and to consider getting a second opinion from another Dealer.

Again She, and I extend our thanks to you all thumbsup

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