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Desperately need car advice ...

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by three_bags_full, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    Got a little problem and need some advice. Any advice from the board's lawyers is a bonus.

    Just under four years ago, we bought a new 2007 Accord from a dealer in Alabama

    We moved to Tennessee about two years later. Eleven months ago, while I was in Afghanistan, the air bag light came on in the car. She took it to the local Honda dealer, who said the passenger seat belt was faulty, and replaced it. The car had, at the time, 61,000 miles on it. It now has 75,000 miles.

    Since then, the light has appeared, and the same dealer has "repaired" the vehicle four times -- for a total of five visits to the dealer. They've replaced four seatbelt buckles (once, they even put the old one back on accidentally) and, the last time, a wiring harness in the seat.

    I'm obviously getting pretty upset and getting very angry about having to ask Mrs. t_b_f to drag two kids to a dealership twice for every malfunction (once for the diagnoses and once for the repair). We estimate she's had to sit in the dealership 20 hours -- with two screaming kids.

    The service manager called me back Friday after it happened the most recent time, and I told him I wasn't really interested in repairing it and would rather get out of the car. The general manager said he'd be willing to trade me out of it, but I feel the shaft coming.

    When I talked to the GM, he made a comment that after thinking about it for a day or two has really pissed me off. The seat buckles are covered by a 15/150,000-mile warranty, but the wiring harness was not (although they didn't charge us). I suggested some sort of compensation for the whole deal, and he had the balls to say THEY "ate the cost of the (wiring) harness." I'm pretty sure the physical and emotional time and effort my wife has spent in that dealership is more than worth a $500 wiring harness.

    I'm meeting with the GM tomorrow morning and have no idea what I should say or do. I'm on the fence between repairing the car or trading for another one. I don't really want a car payment, but really don't feel like I should be asked to pay for repairs when they're clearly guessing at this point.

    What in the world should I do?
  2. westcoastvol

    westcoastvol Active Member

    Two words: lemon law.

    Look it up, see if your sitch applies. I really don't know the particulars of the law, but it seems like four-five visits to fix the same issue could very well qualify.
  3. podunk press

    podunk press Active Member

    This shouldn't be happening over and over again.

    The last time I had a recurring problem with my dealer, they kept swinging at it until they fixed it ... with no charge to me.

    Let the general manager know you are pissed off. Explain all the hell you've gone through, and if he has any brains whatsover, he'll figure out a way to help you.

    The last thing dealers want in this economy are upset customers who can get on social networking and complain about how bad they are.
  4. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    Well, that's where it gets confusing. Tennessee's lemon law says it has to be under the original warranty. Car warranty was 3/36,000. The seat belt warranty, however, is 15/150,000. They obviously thought it was a seat belt issue the first four times. The seat and wiring harnesses are covered under the original warranty, apparently.

    This is where I fell the shaft coming.
  5. westcoastvol

    westcoastvol Active Member

    Maybe you could check Alabama's lemon law, since that's where you bought it?
    Just guessing/hypothesizing...
  6. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Well-Known Member

    As the owner of a Honda product ...

    Is it an "airbag" light or the "SRS" light? "SRS" is the Supplemental Restraint System, or airbags.

    If so, they're barking up the wrong tree. They should be able to pull up a diagnostic code. Likely that a reprogram of the module would do ... in some cases, they'll want to replace the module itself.
  7. podunk press

    podunk press Active Member

    Don't just assume they are going to try and screw you, either.
  8. murphyc

    murphyc Well-Known Member

    Three, how reliable has the car been aside from this issue?
    Also, is visiting another Honda dealer for a diagnosis an option?
    My other question would be if something related to the seat is actually tripping the warning light or if a) the light is sending a false signal or b) something else is causing the light to come on, but the dealership has been barking up the wrong tree. I believe the dealership should be able to read the codes. I would hope that already happened, but it would be good to check.
  9. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    That's what I'm thinking.

    Maybe it's just a sensor problem and there's nothing really wrong. My old Lexus averages about three warning lights every time we drive it, none of which mean anything.

    Does the belt restrain properly? If so, that's what it's supposed to do. Sure, the airbag is a nice added feature, but IMO not worth all this time and trouble for a problem that 1) may not be a problem and 2) something you (thankfully) likely will never need anyway.

    And finally, even though you don't want to pay for something that may be under warranty, having another place check out the car may be the solution.

    I had an air conditioning problem with my Toyota once. Toyota dealership said "must be an electrical problem" and failed to fix it in two attempts. I took it to my (now) trusty Goodyear place down the street, and they found the problem immediately: Loose wires, which only had to be reattached properly. No charge. I wrote the Toyota place about this --- documenting everything --- and they responded with a free 30,000-mile service (a $439 value at the time). I took them up on their offer and never returned for any other service.
  10. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    I would try going to a different Honda dealer because this current dealer is milking you.

    Does a dealer get reimbursed by the manufacturer for this warranty work?
  11. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    It's the SRS light. The owner's manual says that when it's on, the airbag system may not be working properly. They pull up the code every time it happens, and the code always tells them to replace the front, passenger seat belt buckle.

    It has been a very reliable car. We love it. I want to repair it, but I think it should be on the dealer's dime for causing us so much grief by guessing at it so much.

    Hopefully we won't get to that point. I think there's really only two more parts in the entire system they can replace. ::)

    The dealer isn't milking me because I haven't paid for anything. It's been a hell of an inconvenience, but I'm really not out of pocket anything at this point.

    Yes, they get reimbursed for the warranty portion of the work.
  12. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    TBF, they are milking you because of the time your wife has spent going there. Time is money.

    Go to an Autozone when the warning light is on and have them use their reader to see what the engine light means.
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