I read with interest your recent letter.

Unfortunately, I am having a very similar experience, but, in my case, Renault wants to charge us £9,121 to repair the heater on our Zoe, which we bought new for £30,000.

After two years – well within the warranty period – it developed an intermittent fault with the heater.

We asked the local Renault dealer to examine it but it was unable to do so as it didn’t have the “correct diagnostics software”. We later learned that the technician had failed to put the request on the service sheet.

At the time, I did not have time to travel farther afield, and, as the heating sometimes worked, l didn’t follow up.

One year later, another Renault dealer suggested we re-gas the air conditioning system. I took it to my local independent garage, which found and fixed two leaks and re-gassed the system.

A few months later, the heater died completely.

At this stage, the car was four and a half years old and I took it to an EV specialist garage, which diagnosed a compressor fault. Unfortunately, it could not source the Renault part to make the repair.

So back to my local Renault dealer, which told me it could do the repair for £1,650. After a two-month wait, work finally started.

On removing the compressor, it found it had exploded, sending shards of metal throughout the air-conditioning system.

Renault said the whole system had to be replaced – a total of 33 parts throughout the car.

The dealer then said it couldn’t do the repair as it didn’t have a hoist to remove the EV battery, and we would have to find another garage that had the equipment.

My husband contacted Renault UK customer service again to see if it could help but it couldn’t even tell us which dealers had the equipment to remove a battery. Eventually, we found one but we have now been quoted £9,121 to fix it. With the £2,000 we have already paid, this makes a grand total of £11,000 to repair a heater, making the car a write-off at five years old.

On the basis it is out of warranty, and the matter wasn’t recorded when we first complained, Renault appears to be washing its hands of the matter.

MS, by email

Based on this, and the previous letter from the other Zoe owner quoted £7,500 to fix the charging unit, it is hard not to conclude that it is a very brave person who buys a used five-year-old Renault Zoe.

A string of other owners have reported similar heating problems, as well as charging issues, and, as both letters show, the aftercare in the dealer network just isn’t there.

If any more of these stories emerge, the value of used models will plummet. Who wants to own a car that can be written off by a relatively minor problem – one that dealers won’t touch?

I asked Renault about your case, and the response was very disappointing.

Rather than explaining how you got into this situation – or, better still, offering you a meaningful solution – it sent a long technical explanation as to why this has happened. In essence, it claimed compressor failures are incredibly rare.

It also claimed the failure may have been caused by the work done by the independent garage when it re-gassed the system.

The moral of the tale is to deal with these matters during the warranty period – particularly if you own an electric car. I suspect you will have to sell the car for the battery’s value and move on to another marque. Potential Renault Zoe owners be warned.

Car insurance: any minor claims with a major bill?

I am interested to hear from readers who have had minor car accidents recently – and how much was paid out by the insurer.

It comes against the backdrop of soaring car premiums that have risen more than 50% in two years.

I was recently contacted by a reader whose car was involved in a tiny rear-end shunt at 3 mph (see the photo below).

Reader’s car that was involved in a rear-end shunt

His local garage quoted £350 to fix it but the driver who had caused the accident said he couldn’t pay, and wanted to claim on his insurance. The car was taken to the insurer’s approved garage. It was there for two days. And the final bill? An astonishing £4,500 – to replace a bumper.

I suspect this is happening every day across the UK – paid for by us. No wonder repair costs are up 32%.

Can you beat that? Email the usual address.

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