A few weeks after I bought my Renault Zoe, I was heading out to get some groceries. As I sat at the wheel and pressed the start button, the car didn’t start. I pressed a few more times, with the same result.
What could be happening? Why was my new Renault Zoe not starting?
That’s when I realized it: I didn’t have the key fob. It was in my partner’s pocket, who had come to the car with me and opened the doors, but had stepped away to take a phone call.
Naturally, as soon as the key fob was in the car, it started without any problem.
But that experience made me wonder: what other causes could lead to a Renault Zoe not starting?
I decided to dig into the subject and came up with a list of potential issues. From battery problems to software glitches, or motor controller malfunctions, there are plenty of reasons that can cause a Renault Zoe to not start.
Thankfully, they mostly have fairly simple solutions.
Ready to learn about the six most common reasons why a Renault Zoe might not start, and what you can do to fix them? Let’s go!
1. Check Your Battery Level
Just like with your phone – if the car’s battery is dead, it ain’t gonna be turning on.
First things first: check the battery level. Since you won’t be able to start the car to see this information on your dashboard, you can do it on My Renault app.
If the battery level is low, charge it using a cable and a charging station or wall box. Reaching a battery level that allows you to drive around will take a bit. But it should only take around 10 minutes to see if the car starts.
If you see the battery is empty but it is not charging for some reason, you can troubleshoot it by following our guide on Renault Zoe charging issues.
Have you gone through all the steps, and your battery still isn’t charging? It might be damaged and need replacing. You can check the battery warranty information in your owner’s manual or by contacting Renault customer service. In some cases, Renault may offer a replacement battery under warranty, but in other cases, you may need to buy a new battery.
If your battery is charged but your Renault Zoe still won’t start, it’s time to check the next point on this list.
2. Is Your Key Fob Working Properly?
The Renault Zoe doesn’t require you to put the key in its place on the panel, which is a convenient feature. Still, it requires a working key… And if your car isn’t starting, it might well be a key fob problem.
The key fob can fail for a number of reasons. One of the most common issues is related to the battery. If the battery is low or dead, the key fob may not be able to communicate with the car’s computer system, which is the same as not having the key around at all.
If this is the issue, don’t worry: there’s a quick and easy fix. Simply try replacing it with a new battery, following the manufacturer’s instructions. You can see how to go about this procedure on this straightforward Youtube tutorial.
Another issue that can affect the key fob is related to its programming. If the key fob isn’t properly programmed, it won’t be able to communicate with the car’s computer system. In this case, you’ll need to have the key fob reprogrammed by a qualified technician or Renault service center.
Finally, it’s also possible that the key fob itself is damaged. For example, if you dropped it or exposed it to water, it may not function properly. In this case, you may need to replace the key fob entirely.
If you’re experiencing issues with your key fob, make sure to address them sooner rather than later. You don’t want to find yourself away from home only to realize your key fob has completely died and you don’t have a way to start your Renault Zoe.
3. As Usual With Electric Cars: Can It Be a Software Issue?
Electric cars, such as the Renault Zoe, rely on software to function. While software issues may not be the first thing that comes to mind when your Zoe won’t start, this might indeed be the root cause of the problem.
One common software issue is related to the car’s immobilizer system, also known as the anti-theft system. This is a component designed to prevent the car from starting unless it recognizes the correct key. If the system is not working properly, it might prevent the car from starting, even when you do have the correct key with you.
It’s as if your own car thinks you’re a thief.
I know it hurts your feelings, but it’s really just a software problem. Once it’s fixed, your car will love you back again!
This is a sensitive part of the car for you to troubleshoot on your own unless you have advanced skills. The best option is to take your Renault Zoe to a service center to have it checked. Most likely, a technician will reprogram it to make it work again.
Another common software issue is related to the Electronic Control Unit (ECU), the car’s main computer system. If this system is faulty, it can prevent the car from starting up or even cause issues with the car’s performance. If you suspect the problem relates to the ECU, contact a qualified technician or Renault service center for help. This is a delicate part of the car for you to touch without proper skills.
When contacting Renault, you’re likely to be asked what is your car’s VIN Number (Vehicle Identification Number). This is a unique identifier that contains vital information about the car, such as its manufacturer, year of production, the plant it was produced in, type of engine, model, and more.
The exact place where you can find your VIN number depends on your car’s model, but it’s usually on your V5 document, as well as inside your car, engraved somewhere. Try the driver’s door or the trunk, as shown in this video.
4. Check For Loose Connections
Loose connections: here’s another possible cause for your Renault Zoe not starting at all. The car’s electrical system relies on a complex network of wires and connections, as you’d expect in an electric vehicle.
All these wires need to be in a good state for everything to function properly. If any become loose or corroded, you might find yourself with a Renault Zoe that simply won’t start.
One place where it’s common for connections to become loose is on the battery’s terminals. Over time, the terminals can become corroded, preventing the battery from delivering enough power to start the car.
If this is your case, try cleaning the terminals with a wire brush and applying a small amount of petroleum jelly to help prevent future corrosion. It sounds complex, but you can follow a simple tutorial, as described here.
It’s also possible that other connections within the car’s electrical system have become loose or damaged. If you’re comfortable working with electrical components, you can try checking these yourself. Just remember to always be careful when working with electrical components.
Otherwise, it’s best to have a qualified technician or Renault service center inspect the car for loose connections. They’ll identify any problems and make any necessary repairs.
5. Could It Be a Faulty Electric Motor?
Like any other car, the Renault Zoe relies on an electric motor to provide power to the car’s wheels. If the motor is faulty, it will certainly prevent the car from starting. So, it’s worth checking if this is the root cause of your problem.
The motor can become faulty for several reasons. One of the most common is related to the car’s cooling system. The electric motor generates a great amount of heat, which requires a cooling system to keep it operating at optimal temperatures. If the cooling system isn’t working well, it can cause the electric motor to overheat and fail.
The car’s battery pack can also impact the motor’s health. Its purpose is to provide power to the electric motor, so in the cases where it is not delivering enough power, the motor may not function properly. To get this fixed, you need to have the battery pack inspected by a qualified technician or Renault service center.
It might also be the case of the electric motor itself being damaged or malfunctioning. This can be assessed by a technician and the repair should also be done by a professional.
6. Check For Motor Controller Issues
As described by Renault, the motor controller “drives all the processes occurring within the motor and the battery, as well as the gear reducer which transfers the motor power to the wheels”. If it is faulty, it will impact the car’s ability to start.
One common cause of motor controller issues relates to water damage. The motor controller is located near the car’s floor pan, an area vulnerable to water and moisture. If water or other fluids get into the controller, it might become damaged.
Another possible cause of motor controller issues has to do with electrical shorts or faults. If the electrical circuits become damaged or overloaded, it might prevent the car from starting.
If you suspect that the motor controller is causing your starting issues, make sure you take care of it as soon as possible. The motor controller is a critical component of the car’s electric powertrain and if it fails, it can damage other components of the car.
In most cases, motor controller issues need the assistance of a qualified technician or Renault service center.
In this article, we’ve explored the six most common reasons why a Renault Zoe might fail to start. By understanding these, you can avoid the uncomfortable situation of getting stranded on your trips.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article! I hope that it has been helpful in keeping your Zoe running smoothly! If you’re looking for more tips and advice on owning a Renault Zoe, be sure to check out the related articles below.