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Renault Clio Williams (1993 - 1995)

Last updated 4 September 2017


Buying Guide

Buying guide by the Williams Clio owners' club.


  • As soon as you come to look at the car, have a feel on the bonnet to see if it is hot.
  • If it is hot, there could be things being hidden; such as cold starting problems, or idle problems.
  • Have a general look around the car. Checking that the panel gaps are equal, remember this is a 10+ year old Hot hatch so its likely some will of been crashed in there lives.
  • Have a look at the rear arches for rust:
  • Have a good look around, checking where the bumper meets with the arch as this area can rust up too.
  • You can tell if the arches have been done before by the sticker position and type, as there are various poor copies of the proper sticker.
  • Then take off the petrol cap and have a look inside, this can tell you the true condition of the arch sometimes before it shows through.
  • Have a look at the boot for its general condition paying attention to the rear wiper.
  • If it is a Williams 1 check the washer jet for rust around it too.
  • Open the boot and have a look inside for signs of rust:
  • With the boot open have a look inside the boot.
  • Looking inside lift up the carpet if it has one, and examine the floor for any signs of accident damage.
  • Look inside the rear wheels at the rear brakes.
  • These should be a disc and caliper braking system.
  • Check if the rear discs have any rust on them.
  • If it does it may have been sat around for a while, or the rear brakes are not working correctly.
  • Check the rear discs again after a test drive to see if they have cleared.
  • Have a look at the doors under the bump strip for any signs of rust:
  • Open the door and have a look underneath it for any signs of rust as well.
  • While the door is open. Have a look at the kick plate area, and make sure that it has the Williams kick plate.
  • If it doesn’t have the kick plate, it may have had new sills or been re-sprayed in its life. Or maybe it is a Williams’s replica?
  • Then have a look at where the B pillar joins with the sill.
  • Look around this area for rust, as it is susceptible to stone chips which can start rusting.
  • Check the sills along the whole length for any signs of rusting.
  • Also try and look behind them if you can.
  • The sills do get bent by mechanics jacking the car on the sill, rather than the proper jacking points.
  • Check the windscreen for overall condition and look at the lower parts of the A frame for any signs of rusting, as this area is known for rusting on the Renault 5's
  • Look at the front arches, these are made out plastic so wont be rusting.
  • But have a look at the condition of it in the middle of the arch, if there is damage to the paint, then the wheel may be coming into contact with it.
  • Standard Williams are known for coming into contact with the arch but if there is excessive damage then the car may have been lowered or had big wheels on in its life. Or an enthusiastic owner
  • If you’re prepared to get dirty, lie on the ground and have a look at the subframe at the front of the car.
  • Check it for any signs of rusting or accident damage.
  • The subframe is susceptible to jacking damage so bear that in mind.
  • Also check that the sump isn’t leaking/cracked as these are an expensive item to buy new.
  • While looking under the car, have a look under the doors at the chassis rails and make sure these are solid.


  • Looking inside the car check the condition of the seats and for bolster wear.
  • The seats in the Williams do fair up to time alot better than the 1.8 16v seats.
  • Check the general wear and tear of the steering wheel, pedals and gearknob to the mileage indicated. Does it all add up?
  • Have a general look around the inside of the car, making sure it has the blue floor carpet.
  • Check the carpet isn’t damp underneath the glove box. As this could mean the heater matrix is leaking.
  • Test all of the electrics inside the car as they can be troublesome with age
  • One common one is slow electric windows.
  • Also check the full beam switch on the stalk works, as these can go to.
  • Make sure that when the car is running you get hot air coming out of the vents.
  • If you don’t, this means you may have to replace the heater matrix which is a labour intensive job.
  • When you put the key into the ignition, make sure that the three extra gauges work, as these are known for not always working with age.
  • Check that the oil level works; if the level is low this could indicate the sort of owner that owned the car.
  • When you start the engine the oil pressure should rise, as long as it rises upto a decent pressure then all should be well.
  • Oil pressure is regularly discussed about. If you are unsure about the pressure reading/not happy with it, then get the engine compression tested.
  • When the car is running listen out to see if it’s idling right, it should idle at 900rpm.
  • There are numerous idle problems with Clios. Some of which are cheap to fix others more costly. Worst of all they are often time consuming to pin point.
  • When driving the car, you may notice that the speedo wobbles at lower speeds. This is due to the cable being worn at either the gearbox or speedo end.
  • There is a revised contact mod available from Renault to resolve this issue.
  • Check this for any signs of damp, and that it works fully.
  • Make sure that on the parcel shelf you have the carry case for putting suits in etc.
  • Look at the front door cards, the Williams 1 & 2 don’t have speakers in the door cards. So if they have been cut for speakers it could be abit tricky sourcing new cards as they where only available on these 2 models of Clios.
  • Have a look at the condition of the gear gator, as you can’t get these new from Renault.


  • Open up the bonnet, the bonnet release catch is found under the steering wheel, to the left of the headlight height adjustment.
  • Looking at the engine bay you should see a large engine and not a lot of room.
  • Looking at the engine, check the oil level on the dipstick. This is found at the front of the engine by the inlet manifold. The oil colour should be a golden colour if it has been recently changed. Make sure that the dipstick is yellow with a white dot on it, this indicates it’s the 2ltr engine. Although bear in mind it is simple to change around.
  • Undo the oil cap and have a look for any signs of mayonnaise on the cap.
  • This could mean it’s either done alot of short journeys or the head gasket is on the way out.
  • Then have a look at the coolant bottle found just above the battery and to the left.
  • If the coolant is rusty then this indicates that the cooling system has been neglected at some point in its life.
  • With the coolant being neglected there could be future overheating problems.
  • The bottle will stain with age so bear that in mind.
  • Take the cap off, making sure that the engine is cold otherwise the coolant will come out.
  • Have a look inside, to make sure you can’t see any oil in the coolant.
  • Have a look at the cap to see if the seal is worn as this could cause future issues.
  • Have a look at the exhaust manifold, make sure that it is a thin tubular manifold, this also indicates that the engine should be 2.0-litre.
  • Have a look at the bulkhead, what is the condition of the heatsheild like?
  • These are £50 from Renault so room for haggling if there isn’t one.
  • As you can see here there isn’t a heat shield, which would be protecting the brake lines from the exhaust manifold heat.
  • Have a look at the power steering reservoir, check the level.
  • Power steering on the Clios is noisy due to the age of the units. So don’t turn down a car due to noisy power steering.
  • Worst case you will need a new pump. But usually a power steering additive or a flush and re-bleed of the system keeps it quiet.
  • To the right of the power steering reservoir is the main engine mount. Examine this for cracking and excessive play when the engine is on. These cost ~ £70 new from Renault.
  • Just below the engine mount is where the fuel lines go up to the fuel rail.
  • Have a sniff around here to see if you can smell petrol.
  • If you can you will need to replace the fuel lines as there prone to wearing due to poor Renault routing.
  • Have a look at the Ht leads and remove one to see if it is covered in oil.
  • Rocker cover gaskets are prone to leaking on them. It is a cheap job to fix, but it’s something to haggle with.
  • Have a look around the area for signs of water, on Renault 19s the plugs are prone to getting wet due to the rain catcher, so it’s a possibility that the Clio’s one could do the same to.
  • Just above the headlight to the left of the slam panel is the VIN plate. Make sure you check this against the v5 and examine the rivets. If they look new it should raise concern.
  • If you can look inside the front arches, try and have a look at the front springs, as these are known for cracking which will mean a mot failure and the springs are quite expensive from Renault.
  • Have an examine of the exhaust, and make sure that you have the Catalytic converter supplied with the car or fitted. Aftermarket exhausts are all poorly designed so expect to put up with rattles and knocks if one is fitted.
  • On the driver's side, open up the scuttle panel and have a look around here.
  • You should see the jack stored here, underneath is where the ECU lives. Check for any signs of damp as this could mean future idle problems.

Test Drive

  • Start the engine and listen out for any untoward noises. If you hear tapping it could mean that the hydraulic tappets are worn. This is quite common, and can be resolved with a few oil changes or an additive. Although it could need new tappets.
  • If you hear any knocking then there could be some big bills around the corner. On the test drive wait till the oil temperature is 80deg before giving it full revs. One thing you should notice while driving is the low down torque the car delivers.
  • If it doesn’t have any low down torque and only starts to go after 4k then it could have a 1.8 16v engine in it. The standard rev limit for the car is 6500rpm.
  • Check that all of the gears change smooth without crunching. The boxes on the Williams are strong, but don’t take well to being rushed and misused so a lot do go. Accelerate up to say 4-5k and let off the accelerator and watch the gear stick for movement. There is usually quite a bit of movement in the gear stick but any excessive could indicate worn engine mounts, or mainly the dogbone mount. If the car is jumping out of gear then it will mean it will want a new gearbox soon.
  • The clutches are always stiff compared to modern cars. This is due to the car being designed an LHD drive car therefore the cable isn’t routed ideally thus making it stiff. New clutches are quite soft though. If there are signs of the clutch cable being replaced recently this could mean that the clutch is on the way out as they tend to do this near the end of its life.
  • Rev the car up to around 5000rpm and let it slow down under its own momentum paying attention to the rear window. Do you see blue smoke? If so not a cheap fix. While driving also keep an eye out for white smoke, this could indicate that the headgasket is going.
  • Check the steering column for play whilst driving. These are common to have play in. The cheap option is to have the steering column welded up.
  • Listen out for wheel bearings whilst driving, as the Clios have a habit of going through them. Check that the car brakes straight. The brakes when in good working order are good. The handbrakes on these cars never work amazingly well so bare that in mind.
  • Keep an eye on the water temperature. It should be about a 1/4 on the gauge while driving. If possible try and get the fan to kick in to check it works. If it comes on quite early it may have had a low temperature thermostat/fan switch fitted. Why would it need one fitted? Could be related to rusty coolant/overheating problems.
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