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Mike, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Renault
Satisfied Customers: 39198
Experience:  34 years of vehicle repair / diagnostics
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Renault clio Renault clio....2003 1.4.....intermittent fault

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Renault clio....2003 1.4.....intermittent fault on instruments and rear screen heater..

Bit weird this....the rev counter, temp gauge and rear screen heater suddenly stop working for no apparent reason. They all go off at the same instant and will usually come back on again at some point. And it's not just the rear screen heater warning light...the relay doesn't click.
I've tried waggling the fuses in the main fuse box and under the bonnet including relays whilst the fault was present but no luck. Have also thumped the dashboard with no luck so doesn't seem to be a loose connection!
Help please!

Mike :

Hello and Welcome to justanswer..

Hello and Welocme to justanswer..

Your underlying problems here are undoubtedly with the dash cluster failing -

This is a very common fault on these models and will give exactly the symptoms you are with the HRW - ( heated rear window )

You can try a reboot of the dash - in that it is a computer in its own right and sometimes they do "glitch"..

To do this - you need to disconnect the battery cables and connect them together - and keep them connected to each other for 15 mins... ( remove your keys from the car before you do this ) .. link the cables together with a wire if they wont reach each other..

Then - disconnect them after 15 mins and leave off the battery for a further 15 mins - then re connect and retry it . ( you will need to enter you radio code if its a coded type you have -so make sure you have the code )

Then see if that has cured the problems you have.

If it hasn't - a replacement dash is the answer - or, a repair ..

There are companies that do repair these dash cluster units - one such I can recommend is on 0 1 6 3 4 - 6 8 7 2 2 2 ... They are Kent area and operate a postal service with a 48 hour average turnaround - their prices are excellent as is their after service...and a 2 year warranty on the dash repair.

So if it comes to that - give then a call and they will talk you through it all./

You could have a plug in diagnostic done on the car if you wish - but the dash cluster is a very common problem -

I Sincerely XXXXX XXXXX have helped you - but do ask me if you need anything more..

Kind Rgds, MIKE


  • >>>>>>>>>Please don't forget ....Please press the ACCEPT button if you are happy with my answer/advice given - as that's how I get paid for my time, knowledge and expertise given. Thank you.

Feedback and any Bonuses are always appreciated too. Thank you.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hi Mike


Many thanks for your thorough and quick answer. My apologies for not reacting sooner but the emails have been going into my "spam" folder and I only checked it just now by chance....sorry!


This car actually belongs to my daughter but I have it at the moment to try and resolve the problems. As well as the dash fault, the engine isn't completely happy and has stalled on idle and also surged on idle. I think, but at this minute am not certain, that when I was in the car yesterday, at the instant the rev counter etc came back, the engine surged momentarily and the airbag and service warning lights flashed. I'm using the car myself at the moment to see if I am correct in this.


I'm not trying to get "two for the price of one" here........but I'm just thinking that this info about the idle speed (if I'm correct) may just change your answer. I've actually been thinking it's an ECU problem and am a little surprised at your answer (but please don't take that as an insult-modern car electrics are a mystery to me).


I'd like to defer accepting your answer for the moment while I try and see whether the idle speed does jump actually at the moment that the instruments come I think that if so, you might re-assess your diagnosis. It does seem strange to me that this dash problem seems to have come about at about the same time as the engine starts misbehaving. I have by the way just changed the plugs and the coils (the coils have been dying one by one over the last year or so).


Mike, I hope that you are not too unhappy at me holding off accepting your answer at this time, but I would appreciate your waiting a little longer while I try to satisfy myself as to whether there is a connection between the engine idle and the dash problem.


Kind regards,





Hello again - thank you for your reply..

Thats ok re the emails - best to put justanswer in as "accpetable" emails in your system then that shouldn't happen ;) It catches a lot of people out that !

Re the problems you have with the car and accepting the answer..., thats fine.. I can see what you are saying..

To help you further - yes - you could have an ecu problem ..but this is rare...

Too - you could have a crank sensor problem - this is common on these cars and wil create cut outs / surging etc... as will problems with the IAC - Idle control valve and even a dirty throttle body..

None of these though would cause your dash problems... so - it is just possible that you have more than one fault to include the above.... There are also issues on some of these with the wiring looms chaffing and rubbing through on the engine - etc under the bonnet - causing such issues - and in fact all different issues as it can and often does, create multi circuit faults when this happens...

So - Ive mentioned all that just in case really for you - things to check if you like and to be aware of.

As far as I can see with your one - you can have the sensor issues etc as above - and again - just to sum up.. none of these would cause all the dash issues you mention.. Other than a faulty dash as explained at first - what would cause that ...would be chaffed wiring etc - - so do check that as well - just in case..

I hope that all helps you further. Please bear in mind that when you press the accept button, you can still carry on and discuss the situation with me for as long as it takes - just be coming back to this post and re using the reply button. I am always happy to work through as long as needed with you.. with anybody. Pressing the accept does just mean I get credited for my time etc....

So again - I hope that all helps you further and dont be afraid to get back to me on it if you need more help..

Best Rgds,. MIKE


  • >>>>>>>>>Please don't forget ....Please press the ACCEPT button if you are happy with my answer/advice given - as that's how I get paid for my time, knowledge and expertise given. Thank you.

Feedback and any Bonuses are always appreciated too. Thank you.

Mike and other Renault Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hi again Mike,


I appreciate your help and the info you've provided. I've not used this site before, so was wary of pressing the 'accept' button when I felt that things weren't quite finished...but have now accepted your answer.

I would however appreciate a little more help.......


I have now confirmed that when the dash fault clears itself whilst the car is parked and idling, at the instant that the rev counter and temp gauge come back to life, the engine judders, almost stalling, then momentarily surges and the airbag and Service warning lights illuminate for a second or two. I have now experienced this happening 3 times.


Thumping the dash, around the fusebox and waggling the wiring underneath the dash all had no effect on the non-working gauges. And the HRW doesn't work when the gauges aren't working.


Two other bits of (probably useless) very cheap OBDII scanner is showing no faults (I don't think it will pick up Renault specific codes) and the rear fog warning light flickers when the brake pedal is pressed or the reversing lights come on (I don't believe there's an earth fault on the rear light units).


So, summing up, I'm certain that the dash fault caused the engine to hiccup when it cleared itself...or the engine hiccup caused the dash fault to clear....Is it your opinion that a faulty instrument cluster could have such an effect on the engine?


Sorry to trouble you further on this but I'd just like to be sure before I go to the expense of getting the instrument cluster repaired or replaced.


Kind regards,


Hello again - thank you for your reply / message ..

Ok- given your extra info on this - test or have tested, the charging system.

You will need a meter on the battery for this - If the reading is showing 15 v or over - you are getting an overcharge -and this will cause surging - and can cause all manner of odd issues on the dash etc..

The same is true actually if its not charging exactly as it should- under..and then surging up if you understand me... It should show circa 14.6 volts on normal ...with a small amount of revs. Try it through different rev ranges and with different electrical loads - such as headlights on - heater fan - etc etc... and keep an eye on the meter.. It should not go below 12 - and not above 14.6 - 7.... anything other would indicate issues in the battery / charging system - circuits / wiring etc ... so all that needs to be checked through then if you do have any problems highlighted on the meter..

If all checks out as normal , you are back to your cluster issues - but do check it all through as above - to inc the looms and earth circuits first..

I hope that helps you further -

Best Rgds - MIKE..
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hi Mike,

Many thanks for your further help. That should keep me busy for the rest of the weekend!

When, or if, I finally find the problem, I'll let you know what caused it!


Thanks again,



No problem Graham...

Im glad to have so far..

All the very best with it-

Kind Rgds, MIKE....

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hi Mike,


After a couple of weeks, I finally figured out what was causing all these symptoms!!


It was the new spark plugs I fitted! The shop had supplied me with plugs that have no resistor and the electrical noise from the ignition was causing all these faults. Because they were a different make to the old ones and not one of the makes shown in my Haynes manual, I couldn't easily check that they were the right ones. And because it was my daughters car, I didn't get to know about the faults for a few days and didn't connect the faults with the change of plugs.

From now on, I'm only ever going to buy plugs with an "R" in their type number!!


Best regards,



Hello again Graham..

Non Resistor plugs are known to cause some issues with the electrics on vehilces but your case is certainly extreme...

Anyway , Im glad you got it sorted - & thank you for letting me know..

Best RGds ..MIKE..