Clementine's Garage
Clementine the Cat
 
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Réparateur d'automobiles

I don't have a Renault 4 but...

foxyjo

Enthusiast
Messages
7
...I was hoping someone here might be able to give me a small bit of advice.

Quite simply - I have a Clio 1.4RT, which will be 5 years old next month, and when I phoned to book my 48k service the Renault dealer said that they suggest all Renault cars of 5 years or 70K (whichever is sooner) have a new cam belt fitted. Now I've had many cars before and have never heard this one! I also think it's not a very good advert for Renault's quality of parts, but that's just my humble opinion. Does anyone here think it's necessary (I don't hammer the car), and do you think I'm taking a big risk by not having it changed when the car is serviced?

Many thanks in advance to all.
Foxy
 

malcolm

& Clementine the Cat
Staff member
Messages
4,292
Location
Bedford UK
Hi foxyjo, welcome to the forum. A cambelt change at 70,000 miles is fairly common practice for most cars these days. There is no problem with Renault quality - they'll buy their cam belts from the same people that all the other manufacturers buy them from. The cambelts can become cracked with age, and if they do fail then you'll need a new engine. It happened to a German friend of mine with a Volkswagen.

The service intervals will be fairly safe, but then again there is no harm in being safe (other than paying money for it I suppose). If it was me I'd probably be happy to wait until 70,000 miles and not bother about the 5 years thing. While that would increase the risk of cam belt failure I'd probably balance that risk against not paying £200 to have them changed quite so often.

:clementi:
 

foxyjo

Enthusiast
Messages
7
cam belt query

Hi Clementine and thanks for the welcome AND the excellent advice!

I had more or less decided on the 70,000 service as being the time to get the cam belt changed, so your rather-more-expert opinion has set my mind at rest. Thanks for putting me right on the quality issue - my suspicious mind was swayed even though I have the utmost trust in Renault parts and service - my local dealer leaves all my ex-garages in the shade, so I'm glad to hear that it's not just a money-spinner on their part.

All the best to you and thanks again :D

Foxy
 

Mr Jelly

Enthusiast
Messages
57
Just out of interest, which dealer do you use? Only that I had a very bad experience buying a Clio from a Renault dealer in Manchester (no names but lets say it's near the MEN Arena) about four years ago. Used an excellent independant specialist in Stockport ever since......
 

ilocke

Enthusiast
Messages
15
With regard to the Cambelt change, I had my 1999 Meganne 1.4 16V belt changed last year at 56,000, but the five years were up so i ered on the side of caution.
Like you, i feel that the cost was excessive, £297 (main Dealer) because i had A/conditioning.
I asked for, and in the end ordered the garage to let me have the old belt, they were very, very reluctant and i had to get quite rude to get it.
Having examined the old belt it was as far as I could see almost like new, and certainly would have lasted the next 14,000 miles.
I suppose if a vehicle was used very little and stood around a lot it might make sense to change the belt every five Years, in case the belt perished, because as with most belts they seem to only perish when they stand around, but I wont be changing my belt in five years again unless the 70k is up.
I suppose Renault owners can look on the bright side because some equally large manufacturers recommend belt changes at 30-40K.
Incidentally, for all the money the dealer charged, i was a little concerned to find 3 X 10mm bolts and a circlip on the window gutterail when i collected the car.
After insisting they check this over they told me they were 'surplus bolts in with the cam kit to fit other models.
Also A REAL POINT OF WARNING, with the dealers is that they try to sell you two other rollers that the cam belt sits on as a 'precautionary change', and i was told that the Water pump looked 'weepy' and should really be changed while the belt was off to save doing it later, as i had lost no water at all in 5 years i told them not to do the pump, and 1 year later and 10,000 on the 'weepy' pump is still working fine with no water loss.
I am not trying to cast aspertions on all Main Dealers, but i think you have to be really careful and thoughtful about what they are asking you to pay for or replace, it just seems to me that a lot of dealers seem to want to replace everything that shows even a minimal amount of wear, and that they genuinely believe that most owners now are only just capable of driving a car, and can be talked to like uneducated donkey's.
 

foxyjo

Enthusiast
Messages
7
Just out of interest, which dealer do you use? Only that I had a very bad experience buying a Clio from a Renault dealer in Manchester (no names but lets say it's near the MEN Arena) about four years ago. Used an excellent independant specialist in Stockport ever since......

Hi and thanks for your reply

I use one that sounds like 'Bookers' near the centre of Stockport :wink:
Must say in their defence that they have been absolutely 1st Class so far on the Customer Service side. They noticed a mistake at my last service (tyre treads were apparently higher than at the previous service!) and not only did I get a substantial discount, but they also cleaned the car and threw in a basket of chocolate and wine! Pound for pound they've been far better than any independent I've used in the past. However, I might be moving down to Dorset soon, so I might just have to find another independent :(

Cheers,
Foxy
 

foxyjo

Enthusiast
Messages
7
Hi ilocke

Many many thanks for your shed-load of valuable information. Luckily I'm not a donkey when it comes to car services etc (see my last reply re: tyre tread), so I would probably argue them across the floor if they tried to flog me extra 'bits' with a cam belt. I agree completely with your comments, and even though I trust my dealer on the whole, I still believe there's always room for them to manipulate that trust, especially since they know I've been taking my car there for the last 3-4 years.

Anyway, your advice is much appreciated - thanks again.
Foxy
 

malcolm

& Clementine the Cat
Staff member
Messages
4,292
Location
Bedford UK
To muddy the waters a little, it is often a good idea to replace other bits and pieces with the cam belt. For certain mid 1990s VW diesels need to have the cam belt tensioner replaced with the cam belt as they tend to break. I've also heard of idler pulleys and water pumps siezing which have caused cam belts to snap.

That's not to say you need to have all these bits replaced every time as a matter of course. I guess it's a case of finding a knowlegeable and trustworthy garage who know which bits tend to fail on your model of car.

Garages do have a bad reputation for saying bits need to be replaced when they don't. I know a completely honest garage in Bedford - homan tyre Maybe we should start up a "good garage guide" on the internet.
 

foxyjo

Enthusiast
Messages
7
Hi again Clementine

I suppose you're right about replacing extra bits - like you say, we need a 'good garage' guide. It would be nice for once for people to be able to walk into somewhere and not have to do an employee's job for them. That's partly why I started taking my car to a main Renault dealer because I felt I'd get a better standard of information and customer service compared to an independent, especially when it comes to mistakes - a big name has an image to uphold, and it also has an easily contactable Head Office :lol:

I'll just see what happens and try not to make generalisations when it comes to whether or not bits and pieces apparently need replacing.

Ohhhh the joys of a pushbike :D
Foxy
 

Chris H

Enthusiast
Messages
72
the cambelt is recommended for change at 5 years/72k miles.

This is then changed to 5 years/36k miles after the 1st belt change.

The RT you have may be either the 8V or the 16V, depends on what they had going spare.

Anyway this time you can get away with just swapping the belt but not the tenioner (and idler if its a 16V).

Most other manufactureres have a recommend change interval of 36k miles to start with.

Bottom line is the dealers not spinning you a line and if you don't get it done it will go ping and then depending on how fast you were going it can range from bent valves to a new engine.

I change belts and idlers and tensioners all the time and I often have the lovely pleasure of stripping down engines and repairing the damage from the belt going.
 

foxyjo

Enthusiast
Messages
7
Hi Chris H

Don't do this to me!! :? I had just decided to leave it til the 70K service!!

*walks off scratching head*
 

malcolm

& Clementine the Cat
Staff member
Messages
4,292
Location
Bedford UK
Chris is right of course - bear in mind he knows more about this sort of thing than I do. The manufacturers do recommend service intervals to minimise the risk of anything going wrong with the car although they play it pretty safe as it would damage their reputation if their cars kept going wrong.

My attitude is generally high risk - for example I don't have breakdown cover. I've needed a tow once in 10 years and it cost less than one years cover. I kept ribbing a flatmate about this (he did pay for breakdown cover). He won in the end when the AA went public and gave him a big payout.
 

Chris H

Enthusiast
Messages
72
at the end of the day its a fancy rubber belt (actually its a very fancy rubber belt) and rubber breaks.

The cambelt has enormous strain put on it, and oil leaking onto it or it rubbing on the cover or incorrect tension and large variances in temp doesn't make its life any easier.

Rubber belts were introduced mainly to quieten down engine, from a performance point of view its far easy to alter a cambelt pulley's position compared to that of a cam chain.

Chains have made a comeback, not due to the fact they are better but more due to owners that neglect the belt is ignored and it breaks causing massive out cry, despite the manufacturers stating when the belt should be changed.

Bear in mind chains snap as well not as often but they do snap.
 

malcolm

& Clementine the Cat
Staff member
Messages
4,292
Location
Bedford UK
I should admit here that I'm an automotive noise specialist. I've been doing the job for about 10 years (I try to fit it in between Renault 4 stuff). It's folk like me that forced the move to cambelts. From a noise point of view they are great - they don't whine too much, and they don't rattle.

The great thing about cam chains is that they tend to rattle when anything goes wrong, and if something goes wrong the owner has a chance to go to the garage and say their engine is making funny noises. The garage changes the chain and tensioner and everything is well. In the case of the cambelt the owner needs a tow truck to get to the garage.

Best of all, manufacturers are indeed heading back to chains, and are paying people like me to stop them whining.

:clementi:
 
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