Reverse lights always on

electrical-wiring
lights
sensors
transmissions

#1

I have a mk2 Clio 1.2 petrol with a manual transmission which I recently got as a first car a a family member was going to scrap it. I have have fitted a clutch and after doing this I noticed that the reverse lights are on all of the time when the key is on. I am unsure whether the lights were like this before I did the clutch, but I have gone back and ensured the the plug was fitted to the reverse light switch cleaning out the connector. This made no difference and (strangely to me) with the plug off of the switch the lights remain on. I have checked the wiring in the area I have worked for a short and have found nothing. The only thing I can think that is left that it can be is the reverse light switch, but I’m not convinced with the fact that the lights are still on with the switch unplug. Has anyone got any experience with a similar issue or any advice on checks that I can do to find the issue?


#2

There is a switch on the transmission that is triggered every time you put the car in reverse. Seems like it is stuck. I am not familiar with that particular car though.


#3

“I am not familiar with that particular car”

…and with good reason, since Renaults haven’t been sold in The US for…decades.

That being said, the OP may want to use the approach that I used when the same thing happened with my Volvo. Rather than dropping the transmission in order to replace the internal switch for the reverse lights, we simply wired a toggle switch on the dashboard for the reverse lights.

Having a dash-mounted switch for the reverse lights came in very handy in two different types of situations:

It can be very helpful when loading/unloading the trunk in an area with poor lighting.
It can be used to…signal…a tailgating driver to back off. The sound of those screeching brakes behind me was…priceless.

:blush:


#4

Oh, I like that…


#5

@VDCdriver Thanks for clarifying the make. I did happen to have a Renault Le Car at some point and I remember working on it was a royal PITA. As far as the OP problem, some transmissions have the switch mounted externally, worth a check.


#6

“some transmissions have the switch mounted externally, worth a check.”

That is true, but if Volvo (which has the bogus reputation for superior engineering and reliability) uses an internal switch, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Renault also uses an internal switch.


#7

I don’t have access to a wiring diagram for this vehicle.

But the reverse light switch may ground the circuit instead of supplying power to it. So if you removed the transaxle to replace the clutch, and that ground wire got pinched when the transaxle was reinstalled, that could cause the reverse lights to remain on. Even when the switch is unplugged.

Tester


#8

VDCdriver: “Renaults haven’t been sold in The US for…decades”. I think the Alliance cured us of Renaults forever. I have often thought that foreign auto manufacturers building cars in the 1970s early 1980s (Audi fox and Austin America come to mind) examined our domestic cars of the period and determined that they had to make their cars extra crappy to sell here. I like the back-up light manual switch as a tailgater deterrent. It seems safer than just yanking the “E-Brake”!!!


#9

If the switch has only one wire going to it, I think @Tester nailed it. Alternately, if there are two wires to the switch, they have become crossed at some point away from the transmission.


#10

Let’s be fair, guys

It wasn’t JUST the europeans selling junky cars in the US in the 1970s and 1980s

Some of the Asian cars being sold at the time also weren’t that great


#11

" I have often thought that foreign auto manufacturers building cars in the 1970s early 1980s (Audi fox and Austin America come to mind) examined our domestic cars of the period and determined that they had to make their cars extra crappy to sell here"

About 20 years ago, my brother and sister-in-law had true “neighbors from hell”, whose house was–literally–falling apart, and was lowering the property values of the other houses on the block. The icing on the cake was the Austin America that the guy had parked in his driveway–sometime in the '70s–and whose suspension had subsequently leaked all of its fluid. Additionally, the tires had all gone flat long ago, so this rusting hulk was in complete contact with the pavement.

When the city’s Code Enforcement inspectors finally forced the guy to remove the Austin America, the tow truck had a heck of a time getting it out of that very narrow space, as it had essentially fused itself to the pavement. The screeching sounds as it was dragged out of the driveway were almost ear-splitting, but the applause from the gathered crowd was even louder as that wreck was finally removed.


#12

Db4690 is 100% correct. Asian cars of the 70s and 80s had just as many issues as the domestics and European cars. No more, no less.


#13

So Volvo may have been relatively reliable compared to similar cars of the era.

Austin America! Tons of fun and tons of trouble. We got the same unreliable vehicles that British Leyland build for everyone. A college friend was telling stories about how unreliable my America was at a party. A Brit heard the part about replacing a couple of burned valves at 7500 miles and said it was SOP in GB to do a top end job on all BL vehicles at 5000 miles since warped heads were so likely. That car was fun in the twisties, though.


#14
"So Volvo may have been relatively reliable compared to similar cars of the era."

Not in my experience!
One of the biggest mistakes of my life was to trade-in my '71 Charger (which never had any mechanical issues) on a '74 Volvo, in the interest of better gas mileage. Unfortunately, I fell for that “ultra-reliable Volvo” meme, and in the process of gaining only ~4 mpg, I wound up with the absolute worst car of my life.

You don’t really want me to list all of the problems with that Volvo again, do you?

:wink:

However, I have to say that the Volvo’s engineering and reliability were on a par with my brother’s Datsun SPL-311. Ergo…they were both crap on wheels!


#15

@VDCdriver

We have a hoarder lady in our street. Retired librarian, keeps the plants and the outside of her house looking perfect

But always had lots of abandoned vehicles in her driveway, cars, trucks, RVs, all at the same time. All with flat tires, dusty, faded paint, and the RV was literally covered in moss

After several years of BS, one of the neighbors networked and got the city involved. She was forced to remove all but one car, the one that was only 3 or 4 years old and actually registered, insured and driveable

We were also ecstatic when the vehicles were gone

The weird thing is that AFAIK she has no wrenching abilities. It’s not as if SHE was capable of fixing them herself.


#16
Asian cars of the 70s and 80s had just as many issues as the domestics and European cars

70’s yes…80’s not even close. The end of the 80’s was probably the widest the gap in reliability between Asian and the Big-3. The early 80’s Asian vehicles were still having premature rust issue.

My 84 GMC pickup was junk after before 100k miles.