I’m new to this site, it’s a fountain of knowledge. I understand Diesel engines, but my petrol / gas engine knowledge is flaky at best.

2 days ago the heavens opened and I had about an hours drive through heavy rain and partial flood waters. The car got me home. When I restarted the car it started fine but after about 500 metres after coming down the gears it started sputtering as if it was going to stall. Which it then did. I managed to restart and get to a safe place.

I’ve started at idle and left for 30mins with no problems except I have small amounts of white smoke, and water from the tail pipe. Tried to drive again, was ok at speed but when slowing down same stalling issues occurred. The distributor is sealed, and looked dry on the outside, the oil looks fine and not milky and apart from that I’m stuck, I’m hoping it’s not hydrolocked.

  • You need to read your OBD codes, you'll likely find your answer there.
    – GdD
    Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 10:53
  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Considering the engine is running, it is not hydrolocked. The entire definition of hydrolocked is a cylinder fills will enough water for the engine to stop running and not start again. The piston comes up in the bore and tries to compress the water, which it can't, and the engine stops. No amount of trying without pulling plugs is going to allow the engine to turn over again. Hydrolocking can also damage components along the way, but I don't see that happening with a 1.2L engine because of lack of power. I'd suggest to look at the spark plug wires Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 11:04

1 Answer 1


I'd have to concur with Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 - you haven't hydrolocked it; if you had you wouldn't be able to get it running at all.

As a previous owner of a Clio with the 1.2 16V engine (I'm assuming this is what you meant as I don't believe Renault did a 12V 1.2 - just 8V and 16V) I'd be looking at the coil pack/plugs they're notorious for suffering from water ingress and failing as a result (fun with spark flashover!).

The car has a single coil pack with four leads (one for each cylinder) and you'd need to do the spark plugs as well because this sort of damage invariably damages the plugs as well.

The good news is a coil pack and a set of plugs isn't expensive either!

  • 1.2L isn't a 3-cyl? Was kind of assuming that, but I'll concede I don't know much about Renaults. Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 22:10
  • Yeah sorry it was a typo, it’s the 16v., managed to get the car to my local garage for a check over, and I think you’re dead right, it seems to be misfiring and hopefully it’s just the coil pack and plugs. Thanks a lot for the help, this website is brilliant
    – Tomac
    Commented Nov 4, 2022 at 7:00
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Yeah it's a 4-pot - not a bad little engine (when it's working!) Commented Nov 4, 2022 at 8:47
  • @Tomac Fingers crossed! Commented Nov 4, 2022 at 8:48

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