As much as I hate to admit it, I’m sort of attached to my 2008 Honda Accord. Both of my kids learned to drive in it, (son drove it off the lot in 2008 WITH the infamous VTC actuator issue!), and, well, it’s been on a lot of road trips with fond memories.
The latest road trip was to Tennessee, (rural area), where my car was parked outside. Upon starting it up one day, I was unpleasantly surprised to note the “malfunction indicator lamp”, (better known as the “check engine light”), was on. I thought it was odd as I hadn’t driven the car anywhere or done anything since making the 16 hour drive from Texas to Tennessee. I called my local dealer, Fernandez Honda, and they suggested that perhaps I had let the car sit too long and something was wrong with a sensor. I didn’t expect them to diagnose anything over the phone, and, before driving back to Texas, I took it to a local repair shop in Tennessee. They ran some diagnostics and told me it was a sensor, (fuel system related), and assured me they had cleared the code and I would be fine driving back to Texas. Problem was, the code wasn’t cleared and the check engine light remained on all the way back to Texas.
As I knew I would be coming right back to Tennessee, I thought it would be a good idea to run it by Fernandez Honda before I left to travel back to Tennessee. It was there that I received the happy news, (note sarcasm), that my rear, (floor), wiring harness had been chewed up by rodents, thereby rendering any check engine light code potentially erroneous. The young, (un-coached?), intake service guy told me, “yeah, the mechanic says that rodents like gas or something…” Now, I’m definitely NOT a mechanic, and I have heard that some animals are attracted to antifreeze,–however, I failed to see what “gas” had to do with the rear floor wiring harness. But hey, what do I know? Bottom line was I was given two extremely delightful options to fix my car:
- Replace the entire wiring harness: “PRICE ON FLOOR WIRE HARNESS (found floor wire harness to be chewed on. will need to replace floor harness) $2,538.65 or…..
- Repair for a cost of $520.00, (initial quote when it was thought there were only two places that were chewed through instead of five…)
I was, no pun intended; floored. I’ve never claimed to be a math genius, however, spending roughly half of what my car is worth didn’t seem to be logical. I opted for the repair and had to leave it at the dealership for the repair(s). But………given my previous experience with Honda, I wondered what the harm would be in searching for “chewed wiring”, other than high blood pressure should I find results. Surprise, surprise,–one of the first articles I pulled up was from Consumer Reports; “How to Protect Your Car From Rodents”¹, which was written after this article, “Lawsuit Claims Honda Refuses To Fix Vehicles With Soy-Coated Wiring That’s Irresistible To Hungry Critters”². Oh, and did I mention, in the first article, Consumer Reports shows a photo of and lists Honda part number 4019-2317 for “rodent-deterring tape”?
Honda’s “customer/vehicle problems and resolution process” is beginning to remind me of the movie Groundhog Day. The plot line appears to go something like this:
- There appears to be, (no admission), a problem.
- Hope and pray, hope for delay and hope and pray that no vehicle owners will notice the problem until there is some kind of “fix”, even if it is tape.
- When customers begin to complain,–deny, deny, deny until you must deflect.
- Deflection must include accusing the car owner of negligence, ignorance or incompetence.
- When next “problem” is exposed,– rinse and repeat above steps.
Lawsuit Claims Rodents Attracted to Soy-Based Wiring Highlights:
- By November of 2016, Honda already knew that its use of soy-based material to cover electrical wiring rendered the wiring particularly susceptible to being sought out, chewed and/or eaten by rodents and other animals.
- In fact, Honda had begun marketing and distributing “Tape, Rodent” as a “Genuine Honda Part.”
- Despite its acknowledgement that the wire coating needed to be taped over to perhaps dissuade hungry animals, Honda still refused to cover Plaintiff’s needed repairs.
- Despite being given a reasonable opportunity to cure said defect, Defendant failed and refused to do so and thus, the warranty failed of its essential purpose. Rather, Defendant averred that the situation was not a defect, re-installed more soy-based insulated wiring, and told Plaintiff he would have to pay for repairs out of his own pocket or make a claim under his insurance to repair the damage.³
“[Honda] has turned this defective soy-based insulated wiring into another source of income for Honda and its dealers by charging aggrieved vehicle owners for repairs or parts to deal with the adverse consequences of the very defective soy-based insulated wiring that Honda should have covered under warranty in the first place,”the car owners claim. (source)
Everyone makes mistakes; individuals and businesses alike. However, something feels incredibly wrong when instead of being honest, taking ownership of a problem and offering restitution to customers, the problem is exploited for financial gain.
An ounce of prevention if possible…
So after you’ve spent thousands of dollars to repair your vehicle, the question begs to be answered; can it be prevented from happening again? You may have options:
This article is helpful regarding prevention:https://www.wheels.ca/news/rodent-damage
Question: Will your next vehicle be a Honda?
To answer my own question; I don’t think so. I no longer view American Honda as a trustworthy company. I have been fortunate to do business with a dealership that has discounted their rates, which is really nice. But then, would I have been in the position of paying for Honda’s negligence if Honda had been proactive and acknowledged their mistakes upfront?
I now am left wondering, if I had known about the wiring lawsuit prior to authorizing the repairs, would I have been able to negotiate a better price? Upon picking up my car, I mentioned to the service technician that Honda made rodent-repelling tape. I was given a blank look; no acknowledgement that such a product was in existence. Aaaannnd,…..it’s Groundhog Day all over again.
¹ Consumer Reports. (2018, July 9). How to Protect Your Car From Rodents. Retrieved from https://www.consumerreports.org/car-maintenance/how-to-protect-your-car-from-rodents.
² Lawsuit Claims Honda Refuses To Fix Vehicles With Soy-Coated Wiring That’s Irresistible To Hungry Critters. (2016, September 27). Retrieved from https://consumerist.com/2016/01/25/lawsuit-claims-honda-refuses-to-fix-vehicles-with-soy-coated-wiring-thats-irresistible-to-hungry-critters.
³ ClassAction.org. (2018, January 9). Lawsuit Claims Rodents Attracted to Honda’s Soy-Based Wiring. Retrieved December 29, 2018, from https://www.classaction.org/news/lawsuit-claims-rodents-attracted-to-hondas-soy-based-wiring.
Manufacturer : AMERICAN HONDA MOTOR CO.
Service Bulletin Num : 06012004 Date of Bulletin: JUN 01, 2004
Summary: RODENT DAMAGE TO KNOCK SENSOR SUBHARNESS. *SC
TSB #105 – P0325, KNOCK SENSOR HARNESS RODENT DAMAGE
TSB #060-12004 – RODENT DAMAGE TO KNOCK SENSOR SUBHARNESS
Honda Emblem Image credit: @bernardsie on Pixabay