I love my 2003 Accord EX. But I have a problem that the dealer says
will only cost me about $1000 to fix. Last week my radio display just
went dark - couldn't see anything - no climate information, time, radio
stations, etc. Nothing. The unit continued to work OK - I can still
play the radio and change stations, select differnt climate features
and temps, but I just can't SEE anything on the screen - have to
control it from memory. I checked the fuses - nothng doing there.
Very frustrating. On the positive side, I've discovered some new local
radio stations by using the SCAN button that I would not normally have
found since I usually stick to my preset stations....and temperature
selection is a bit of a gamble.
I did some checking and found that Honda issued a service bulletin on
this problem right after the 2003 models shipped - it's a known
problem. But they didn't issue a recall (there's a difference). I
called the dealer (Fairfax Honda in Fairfax Virginia) and explained the
problem. I told him about the service bulletin, etc. He said yes,
they know about theis particular type of problem. I began to feel
better. But his first question was about the car's mileage - I have
39,000 miles, and the warranty expired at 36,000 miles. I then started
to get that very uneasy feeling in my stomach. The dealer says, so
sorry, it's out of warranty. I said, but there was a manufaturer
service bulletin on it and surely Honda will fix a known problem, even
if I'm a few thousand miles out of warranty. Dealer says, sorry, it'll
cost about $1000 since the replair involves replacing the entire audio
unit. But, the good news is that they have several units in stock and
can do the replacement the same day. Interesting. I guess they've had
a fair number of these to replace so they're planning ahead and
stocking new audio units. Dealers don't do this unless they have a
demand (and Honda has a problem). Too bad Honda didn't choose to make
this a recall and cover the cost, no matter what point in the warranty.
A bad design is a bad design and should be covered. The dealer said
they had no ability to work with me on this, that it was a Honda policy
that when it's out of warranty, its out of warranty and the dealer has
no lattitude to work with the customer on a solution. I was told I
could appeal to Honda if I didn't like the policy.
So I called Honda Customer Service (1-800-999-1009) where a very polite
person took down all of the key information about my problem including
what I was told by the dealer. She said that she will "open a case on
my problem" and one of their examiners will get back to me soon.
I'm very hopeful that Honda will make this right for two reasons - I'm
barely out of warrantly, but more importantly, it's been a known
problem since 2003 and should not (IMHO) be limited by the warranty
period. If I don't get any support from Honda, I'll probably swallow
hard and pay the price since it's still cheaper than buying a new car.
But it would probably be my last Honda. I'm counting on Honda doing
the right thing. Honda makes pretty good vehicles and I think they
have earned their reputation by not only making affordable and very
reliable cars year after year, but also by treating their customers
right with the goal of making them want to remain Honda owners and
buyers for many years.
I'll do a repost and let you know how it turns out.