And yet even more on the legendary Honda failing transmissions--Honda won't let you buy a new one on your own

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wrote:


No doubt there's some extra labor involved, but I think most of the additional cost was the transmission control computer that Honda also replaces as part of these particular repairs.
I have to say, overall my total bill (including a couple other things I had them do while it was in) came in a bit under what I expected.

That's not the point. This isn't just "one of those things;" this transmission was known by Honda to be pure junk from the get-go. They let the accountants design this, cutting costs so far as to guarantee that every unit will self-destruct at around 80K miles or so.
When Honda discovered this, it was on the heels of the pure junk 4 speed automatic they hooked to their V6 engines, the unit they put onto Accords from 98 through 02 and on Odysseys from 99 through 01 (and various Acuras, naturally). That unit was the center of the largest recall and service campaign Honda had ever been pushed into. When they discovered that its replacement, my 5 speed auto that they introduced with the 02 Odyssey, was also junk, they were quite sensitive to the cost situation. They quickly fixed the design of the 5 speed auto, such that mid-04 and up models got good units. But instead of taking care of the customers that got the initial design of that unit, they stuck their heads in the sand.
Keep in mind, this transmission was in a family van, which is traditionally filled with children and mothers. And when the transmission goes out, the car just STOPS accelerating forward. This is NOT good when driving in the city, going through intersections and trying to squeeze into various traffic.
I would go so far as to consider this dangerous to drive from the first moment it starts failing.
Now, allow me to frame the above with a bit of context. In 1984 or so, I bought a 79 Civic. Loved it. But at one point the front end started swaying around. I took it to my dealer--this very dealer that I've dealt with ever since, and which handled my Odyssey this go round.
The dealer called me to say they wouldn't be giving my car back that day. Why? Because the FRONT BEAM was rusted out, and the car was--get this--dangerous to drive. The good news, though, was that Honda was picking up the repair COMPLETELY and I'd have the car back the next day, after they got a new front beam installed. It was a safety issue, they said, and Honda was simply taking care of it to the point of shipping a new front beam across country for next day installation.
Great. (Just like they should have with my transmission--read on.)
Fast forward a few months, and my gas tank is leaking. ????? Back to this dealer. Hey, guess what? Honda admitted to a bad design with the gas tank straps trapping moisture and causing the tank to rust. They'll buy me a new tank if I'll pay the labor to install it ($50 at the time). Absolutely!!
I didn't even have to ASK for any of these things to be taken care of. Honda and this dealer did this for me AUTOMATICALLY. No stonewalling, no "we've never heard of anything like this, don't know what to tell you," nothing like that at all.
Man, I am loving this Honda thing. They really know how to engender loyalty. This is the mid-80s, and THEY ADMIT TO THEIR MISTAKES. Not only that, THEY CORRECT THEIR MISTAKES and they don't force their customers to pay for their mistakes. Wow.
Late 86 or early 87, my girlfriend (now wife) needs a car. I love my shitbox Civic (we're college students), and that's all she really needs, so we find one. A 79, copper, 1200 4 speed, just what the doctor ordered. Fast forward a few months, and guess what? The gas tank is leaking.
Oh HO, say I. No problem; take it to the dealer, and explain how there's a campaign on that, and that Honda will buy the part. She's much closer to a different dealer, but I don't care. She takes it in on a Thursday. Friday they call, the car is ready--but they want full price for the repair. She asks them: didn't you check with Honda like I said about this being covered by a service campaign? Well, no, they didn't. If she wants the car now, she'll have to pay full ticket and they'll check with Honda later (fat chance). Otherwise, she'd have to leave the car there while they check with Honda on Monday.
She calls me, upset. She doesn't have the cash, and she needs the car that weekend.
Hmmmm. It's 4:15 on a Friday afternoon. Hmmmm. I dig up the number for the Honda zone office in my area, and I call them. I briefly explain what's going on, and my history with this same situation. The guy listens politely, I finish my piece, he says "that's crap, hang on" and puts me on hold. A few minutes later he comes back and says, "It's all taken care of, all you pay is labor. Go get your car."
WHEEEE! Sure enough, we roll into this other dealership right before 5pm on Friday. The service manager is there at the service desk, hears my wife give her name to pick up her car, and addresses us with, "So, you went over our heads, eh?" Sure as hell did, lady. Thanks for nothing. Have a good life, we're out of here.
That was 1987 or so. That series of events nailed it shut. When I went to spend my money on a car, it was "of course I'm buying a Honda. This is a huge expense; why would I risk it with anything else?" This led to my family buying Hondas, and finally to me buying the most expensive car that dealership had sold to date--on Sept. 12, 2001, when I rolled out of there in a $30,500 van (and then last year, when my brothers and I went to buy our father a luxury SUV and ended up with a $50K Acura MDX on the very same basis--"it's a Honda, why are we even looking at Volvo or Lexus?").
Fast forward to this situation. Honda has radically changed, and really doesn't give a rat's ass about their customers anymore. Honda is just GM of the 70s and 80s--seeking the almighty immediate profit at the expense of long term business and profits.
In one fell swoop, Honda has changed my tune into, "I'm spending a huge amount of money to acquire a car; why would I risk that by buying a Honda?"
That's a full 180, Honda. A full 180. Now you're no better than any other crappy manufacturer out there, and in addition I have incentive NOT to reward you for your recent behavior toward me.
How many others have you done this to, Honda?
I just read an editorial where someone has studied and claims that true profit, long term profit, cannot be sustained when you're focusing so hard on the short term. Honda *used* to understand that, but they no longer do.
I will still tell the original stories, partly because they're true but mostly because they put a good framework to the final story showing just how far Honda has fallen and what a sucker bet it is to buy that 06 90K mile Odyssey for anywhere near the $20K asking price (just as an example). I *want* the Honda legend to die, because it deserves to. I *want* people to stop thinking that a used Honda is worth insane amounts of money simply because it's a Honda.
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yeah, me too. I can't find the link. Still looking.
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Certified used?
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On 08/22/2010 11:35 AM, Elmo P. Shagnasty wrote:

read the fine print - they're only "certified" for the "window" that's left over from the warranty - it doesn't extend beyond the original. dealers taking up the slack on what /is/ built in to the design life.
and if you get a sucker in to buy that brand of used vehicle, maybe you can get them to buy new when that one craps out. "free maintenance"? same thing - suck the suckers in.
--
nomina rutrum rutrum

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Ah, so they don't do what Honda does.
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Al wrote:

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If a manufacturer cannot produce an automatic good for at least 150K miles, his product is not worth looking at.
JT
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Years ago when I used to ride motorbikes (45+) it was said that it's no good having a good forth gear, if the rest of the box can't cope. (In those days manufacturers used rubbish metal for all the gears except top as a cost saving.)
--
Clive


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Elmo P. Shagnasty wrote:

Maybe you should search the junkyards for a unit. I'll betcha you could get a warranted used unit installed for less than $1K.
It's gotta be a bitch to be in this situation. Have you thought about complaining to the media?
JT
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yeah, I gave some thought to grumbling in public, point out what schleps American Honda are being.
I really didn't want to go with a junkyard dog. I mean, they came out of the factory dogs; imagine what they look like in the junkyard today.
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Is this "legendary transmission problem" something that I should start watching for in a few years when the mileage on my 09 Civic EX (4cyl/4-door sedan/5-speed auto trans) gets into the high five figures?

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Not the same one, but yes--the auto transmission in a modern car is by far the weakest link in the whole chain.
And let's face it: Honda is just like GM now, where they plan the car to become obsolete so that you come back and buy a new one.
From what I've seen, it's cheap insurance to change the trans fluid at least twice as often as what Honda says. No guarantees, though. But if you're religious about having your maintenance and repairs done at the dealer, that kind of diligence shows Honda that you're serious--and when the transmission fails at 75K miles (not saying it will), you have a leg to stand on when demanding accommodation for the repair.
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So, then, if I think I'm likely to keep the Civic beyond the expiration of the factory warranty, would the "legendary transmission problem" make it advisable to purchase an extended warranty?
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In my case, it wouldn't have helped. However, I am a big proponent of HondaCare.
That being said, I haven't seen a HondaCare contract lately, and I can't speak to today's terms and conditions. Read it carefully to see what it covers and doesn't cover.
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