Smart FAQ

Q: My Smart is using a lot of oil, why is this?

A: There are a number of reasons why Smart Car engines can use excessive amounts of oil, it is possible that the top breather pipe is blocked, or the one-way valve may be faulty, turbo seals may be worn and causing oil to enter either the engine or the exhaust system, however it is possible that the piston rings may be worn or `gumped up`. It is important to make sure there is sufficient oil in the engine at all times, and if the engine requires frequent oil topups it is worth having it checked out to prevent future potentially serious damage.

Q: My Smart Car has been sat unused for a period of time, I have tried to start it and the car refuses to turn over, even after I have replaced the battery?

A: If the key symbol for your immobiliser goes out as normal it is possible your alternator has seized after a period of inactivity, this causes high resistance through the auxiliary belt to the crankshaft and can effectively seize the engine.
The quickest way to check is to release the tension from the alternator belt, ( 1 x 15mm nut and 1 x 16mm bolt). You can now turn the engine over using a E18 socket on the crankshaft pulley, or alternatively try and start the engine as normal, IF THE CAR STARTS TURN IT OFF IMMEDIATELY AS THE AUXILIARY BELT ALSO RUNS THE WATER PUMP.
It is possible that the plastic chain guides may have snapped and caused the cam chain to lock solid, if the engine does not rotate freely it is important that it isn’t forced. Consult a specialist if in any doubt.

Q: My Smart Car has recently started to run badly / on two cylinders and has reduced power.

A: There are many reasons for loss of power and possible misfires, it is possible there is an electrical problem, a sensor failure, coil pack failure, or spark plug / HT lead failure.
It is possible there is compression problems within the engine, it is very common for piston ring failure and subsequent oil burning / increased temperatures to cause exhaust valve failure.
It is important to get your car checked before continuing to use, a diagnosis check and or compression check should highlight the issue quickly

Q: My exterior door handle has become loose, and no longer opens the door?

A: It is common for Smart door handle cables to fail, sometimes the door linkage needs to be readjusted, unfortunately 9 times out of 10 a replacement door handle is required.

Q: My Car is having trouble selecting gear?

A: There are a number of reasons why your Smart may be having problems selecting gears, check your brake lights are operational, your brake light switch may have failed, its possible that the clutch actuator or the gear selection motor has become sticky, its possible there is a broken wire going to the gearbox, as sometimes the wire wear and break on the intercooler cooling shroud.

Smart cars do have a clutch like a conventional manual car, despite not having a physical clutch pedal it is controlled electronically, these do wear out as they do in any car, it maybe that you require a new clutch.

Q: My Smart car has suddenly become very slow, and has reduced power but still sounds like normal?

A: Check the rod coming out of the turbo actuator going to the turbocharger waste gate, it is secured to the linkage by a small E clip that commonly rust and disintegrate. A new clip is required to reattach the actuator linkage.

It could be that one of the vacuum pipes has fallen off or split, causing the actuator to stop working.

You may have a faulty cycle (boost control) valve, which may have caused the engine to overboost, in this instance the engine will automatically go into `safe get you home mode` and will only run on reduced power. Its possible to reset the car by disconnecting the battery for a short while and then replacing, if this problem persists the car will require a diagnostic check.

Q: When I drive along the yellow traction triangle light flashes a lot or is on constantly, when the light is illuminated my car has no power?

A: It is most likely there us a crack in one or both of your abs timing rings, (reluctor rings), which are mounted on the outside end of each driveshaft. These cracks give the car a false wheel speed reading, and the car thinks it is sliding or the wheels are locked up.
You will need a new driveshaft, or a specialist to change your original timing rings.

Q: My Smart has recently become very noisy?

A: There are several different types of noise!? Smarts are prone to exhaust manifold cracks, its also known for exhaust systems to crack around lambda sensors, and on the edges of the exhaust casings.

Specific engine rattles need to be diagnosed by a specialist, most are related to cam chain wear, however if in any doubt do not start the engine and consult a specialist garage.