Unlocking Renault Scenic with a flat battery

So today, I spent over an hour getting into my Renault Scenic Grand (2005, 1.9 diesel), so I thought I’d write-up and rant about it, because it was, to be frank, one hell of a fight. In case you don’t know, I’m in the UK, where we drive on the left.

A bit of background – I park my car in the garage, it’s a fairly tight fit so I park it tight against the wall on the passenger side so I can get in and out of the car. I lock the car when it’s in the garage, and I’ve been having problems with the battery of late such that I have to jump start it each weekend as I don’t use it at the moment during the week. Due to that, I therefore carry the jumper cables in the boot so I can jump start it wherever I am. All of the above managed to work against me today.

So I go out to the car, and typically in the past when the car has failed to start due to a flat battery, the car has had enough juice to be unlocked. I mean, the amount of power needed to unlock it is surely a lot less than what is needed to start the car, obviously. However, today, it was so flat, that the electronic unlocking mechanism (you have a card that you press a button on to unlock the car) did nothing at all. So I can’t open the car, and therefore I can’t open the bonnet which you do from inside the car, which is what I need to do to jump the battery.

OK, so first things first, let’s unlock the car. It took a while to figure out where the emergency key goes. It goes in the passenger side, because Renault were too lazy when converting the car for left-hand side drive that they left as much as they possibly could on the “wrong” side. It’s not just the windscreen wipers, bonnet opener etc that is wrong… but the door with the emergency lock is on the passenger side, too. And of course, it’s hard against the wall in my garage.

I’m athletic in build, and after 20 minutes of fighting, I squeezed myself in but still couldn’t get the cap off the side of the car to allow me to get the key in the keyhole. Tip #1: it appears you literally just pull the bastard off rather than it being “unlocked”. I’m talking about the emergency keyhole cap here – there’s a cap next to the handle which you have to get off before you can put your emergency key in. In the end, I just wrenched the thing off, with the use of the emergency key. The key itself certainly didn’t seem to go inside the hole more than 2mm, so it seems you just pull the thing off with muscle power (not a lot of muscle power, you’ll be glad to hear).

So, the next thing is to open the door. That was easy. Key goes in hole, turn key, door opens. Does this then unlock the other doors? Of course not. I ended up getting a large stick to push the button inside the car that should have unlocked the doors, but because (I assume) there wasn’t on tiny bit of power in the battery, it didn’t work.

But I needed to open the bonnet, and because the door was hard against the wall, I could only open it about 3 inches, not enough for even my slimmest child to squeeze in. And it was so dark, I couldn’t see the lever that needed to be pulled to pop the bonnet. I ended up getting a child’s fishing net and randomly trying to pull things under the passenger side compartment, and managed it. Total fluke.

It was then I realised that this wasn’t the end, because although I could now open my bonnet, I couldn’t get my jumper cables out because they were in the boot. Which was locked. Man alive, what a PITA. I ended up getting jumper cables from a neighbour, jumped it off the wife’s car, and resolved to never by a Renault ever again.

9 thoughts on “Unlocking Renault Scenic with a flat battery

  1. I have same problem but key will not open the door it just turns round in circles, I have almost has a stroke and a fucking heart attack (french shite)
    whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

  2. Thanks for posting this. It helped me in exactly the same situation tonight. I used a (clean!) drain rod and with a worm screw fitting instead of a fishing net. I had to lie on the car roof to get at it, but managed it on about the 50th try! Looks like I need a new battery now. And I reckon I might leave the car unlocked in the garage in future!

  3. Aye, I needed a new battery too, but in fairness the original lasted over 7 years which isn’t bad at all, considering it’s a 1.9L diesel engine.

  4. Brilliant! It’s so nice to know that it isn’t just me! All the electrics went down Saturday night at my husbands place of work,breakdown got it started ,we got it home,went to start it this morning, won’t unlock to get it to the garage for a battery check ( which was recommended by mr breakdown). I have known about the back up key ,but was unsure of location,hence the fact I have stumbled on this. My next question was do I force the cover off? Again the answer appears to be yes! Thanks pal .

  5. Nice one. My car (Renault Megane Cabriolet) would not start on Thursday. Previous night i went into the boot to get some and when I closed it and set the alarm, thought that the lights looked rather dimmed when the car lock went on. Last night I tried to use the electronic key to get into the car but to no avail. I will have to call breakdown this morning to get it started.

  6. My battery is dead and the missis has lost the key off the card any idea’s how to get into it now ???

  7. You just saved my ass, owned Laguna for 19 months and never knew about the lock!!

  8. I knew about the key but not where it went as it’s not obvious! Thank god for people like you sharing their experience. All fired up to go home from work now and get into the bloomin thing that’s been stood for week’s while I decide to scrap or repair!

  9. I have has same problem neither of my key cards would work to unlock car. The passenger side was too close to the garage wall for me to see where to put emergency key. I got RAC out and they told me battery on car was flat but jump started it but key card still doesnt lock or unlock. RAC told me I needed two new key cards but I have been told since that if there is less than 10 volts in car battery key cards wont work

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