Saturday, March 26, 2016

Beware: Honda Cares

From the IntentionalPrivacy blog of Laurel Marotta: "In the meantime, my husband had taken our 2005 Honda into the same Austin, Texas, dealership to get it inspected because the power steering was making a noise. They resealed the power steering pump, and replaced the valve cover gasket and the cam plug. When he picked the car up and drove away, the engine light came on. He took it back and they charged him another $65 to tell him that an additional $670 was needed to replace the spark plugs and the induction coils. He went to an auto parts store and picked up four spark plugs for $52. When he pulled out the spark plugs, he found two springs under one of the spark plugs and none under one of the others."

She was referring to the induction coils over the spark plugs. Obviously, the mechanic just jammed everything back together.  The car ran rough, to say the least. It did not take much to remove the induction coil covers and see, and fix, the problem.

We used to own Toyotas, two Camrys and a Celica. Our friends with Hondas kept bragging about the customer service of their dealerships.  So, when it came time to get a new car, Laurel bought the Civic. We got along with one car for about five years. After we got resettled here, Laurel bought a new Accord. Her problems with that car are on her blog. It is not so much the car - 10,000 or 15,000 parts are what they are - but that the dealership cannot fix a cybernetic problem. Under Texas law, she can declare the car a lemon. She will probably just do what she did with her Ford Escort: put a big yellow lemon decal on it.

Over the years, I have worked for several multinational corporations. All that matters is the local office. And all that matters in the local office is your supervisor. Honda service might be the finest in the world, but here it seems lacking.

For myself, when we first got married, I kept our Ford Pintos running. One of them we bought used with 25,000 miles on it; and put another 50,000 on.  But I gave up being a shade tree mechanic when everything went electronic. No more setting rotors, or gapping the spark plugs. (She rebuilt the carburetor.)  As it turns out, cars are still just 19th century technology, so I will not hesitate to do what I can under the hood.

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