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2013 Smart Passion Cabrio
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Ugh.... One thing about these cars; they really do mostly seem to have the exact same set of problems and flaws.

Clutch actuator is starting to go in my 2013 too. Have about 67,000 miles on this one, but the problem has been around since something like 58-60K miles, really. Nothing snapped or totally failed (yet) in mine, but it's randomly sticking and causing the car to get confused occasionally about what gear it's in after it signals a shift. That results in it going into "limp" mode in a low gear and the 3 horizontal bars on the dash in place of displaying the gear I'm in, until I go through that whole "relearn" procedure with holding the brake down for 30 seconds after turning the ignition to the first position.

I found out brand new replacements are available on eBay for about $410 after shipping, but they come from foreign countries and take weeks to arrive. Looks like I can buy one of those, though, and just pay some mobile mechanic to swap my existing one for the new one for $100-200 or so and come out ahead of taking it to a dealership. (I'd attempt it myself because it's really a pretty simple procedure, except I don't own any ramps to put the car on -- and you have to work on this from underneath. Don't own a creeper either. Just prefer to let someone else do the work on my vehicles that involved jacking it up or putting it on ramps and working from the bottom of it.)


Hey Churpee, I feel your pain. I just had to have the clutch actuator replaced on my '09 and it only had 52,000 miles on it. It cost me about the same as yours did, but since I got it back, it's been driving like a champ.

My car is peeling too and I have the Rally Red color that seems to be cursed with the pox. :cry:
 

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Swapping the clutch actuator is a sub 10 minute job. For the sake of saving cash I'd happily lay on my back on an old blanket for less than 10 minutes. You don't need a crawler board or to jack the car up to do it.
 

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Anybody have problems with the clearcoat peeling on their smart? I've got a 2009 red smart, solid color, and a 2008 red smart, painted, and the '09's clearcoat is peeling. I use the same soap & wax on each but only the '09 is peeling. The '09 has the red plastic, the '08 is red painted over a black plastic panel. Could the fact that the clearcoat was applied to the plastic, not paint be the cause?
My 09 Smart, bought new, peeled badly and I finally had to repaint just recently.
 

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I didn't know these could be repainted. Did you do it yourself? Go to a professional auto painter? What was the rough ballpark cost?

Thanks!
I have a very good friend who is an experienced painter and we painted the car. Removed the panels from the car to paint. The surface of the panels were deteriorated and required bodywork but I am pleased with the result. Removing the panels is easy but there is a formula to putting it back together.
 

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2013 Smart Passion Cabrio
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21 Posts
I didn't know these could be repainted. Did you do it yourself? Go to a professional auto painter? What was the rough ballpark cost?

Thanks!
I talked to a couple of auto body shops about the clearcoat peeling off of the panels on my Smart, and was told by both that they could strip the rest of the clearcoat off the red plastic panels and re-spray new clear. But the cost they talked about was high enough that it was cheaper for me to call Smart Madness in Texas and have them locate a couple of new red body panels in a warehouse to ship to me. Then I swapped them out myself. Now, the only panel left that's peeling badly is the rocker panel along the bottom of the driver side door. I think I can buy one of those for under $100 and swap it out too, but I believe that one typically needs the right clips as well. (The original clips tend to break when you take the old panel off.)

Unfortunately, the body panels are starting to get hard to come by and you may not have any luck getting the ones you need. There seem to be far more used panels out there, like ones that pop up on eBay occasionally, but they typically have clearcoat issues too.
 

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I talked to a couple of auto body shops about the clearcoat peeling off of the panels on my Smart, and was told by both that they could strip the rest of the clearcoat off the red plastic panels and re-spray new clear. But the cost they talked about was high enough that it was cheaper for me to call Smart Madness in Texas and have them locate a couple of new red body panels in a warehouse to ship to me. Then I swapped them out myself. Now, the only panel left that's peeling badly is the rocker panel along the bottom of the driver side door. I think I can buy one of those for under $100 and swap it out too, but I believe that one typically needs the right clips as well. (The original clips tend to break when you take the old panel off.)

Unfortunately, the body panels are starting to get hard to come by and you may not have any luck getting the ones you need. There seem to be far more used panels out there, like ones that pop up on eBay occasionally, but they typically have clearcoat issues too.
I agree that the clips tend to break when the rocker panel is pulled off, but you may want to try lifting the front and rear of the rocker panel and then driving the whole thing back toward the rear of the car. This worked on my car.
 

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2012 Smart Fortwo Passion, 2013 Smart Fortwo Passion, 2013 Smart Fortwo ED
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I have 4 Smarts in my yard. 3 2013’s and a 2012. 2 of the 2013’s are white and one is the golden/grey metallic color. The 2012 is red(red molded plastic, not painted)and the only one with the clear coat blistering off. I’ve often wondered if the clear on the plastic parts are a film applied instead of sprayed on. I say this because I can see a distinct raised edge to the clear that does not go quite all the way to the end of the panel. This post has been very informative and alleviates my fear that my other Smart cars will start “delaminating” as hopefully the problem is isolated to the red cars.
 
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