I took my 2008 Honda Accord to Fernandez Honda for an oil change yesterday and, as I have done since 2008, I mentioned to the new service advisor, Kevin Whitaker, that my car has always made a terrible noise when starting the engine cold. (It never does this when the engine is warm.) For the FIRST TIME in SEVEN years, I received some feedback. He told me it sounded like the VTC actuator, and I should not continue to drive the car if this was the case as it can cause catastrophic engine failure.
The result of VTC actuator complete mechanical failure is catastrophic. The valves from the intake of either cylinder 2 & 3 or 1 & 4 WILL result in a tensioner to fail and a fantastic collision of the valve with the piston. ~ drive accord.net
Rattle At Cold Startup
I was concerned. I purchased my car brand new from Fernandez Honda, and have NEVER taken it anywhere else to be serviced. I am fanatical about keeping my car running and looking nice. As no one at the dealership ever seemed concerned about the “rattle” that I attempted to describe, (it never made the noise at the dealership as the engine was always warm), I put it down to a “quirk”.
At any rate, I drove straight home. Within 2 seconds of typing “vtc actuator” the search engine automatically populated the search field with “2008 Honda Accord”. I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I went to YouTube, and clicked on one of the videos. I didn’t have to watch anything, the noise that I heard was exactly the same as my car has always made. I couldn’t believe it. Why in SEVEN years had no one suggested this could be the problem? It took me less than 5 minutes to discover this after being given the “potential problem” information. A HUGE thank-you to Kevin Whitaker, as without his input, I would still be driving around in ignorance.
The amount of people who are on the Internet complaining about this problem is UNBELIEVABLE. Honda has not issued any kind of recall, although they HAVE issued more than one TSB (technical service bulletin) to the dealerships. *NOTE: This vtc actuator problem affected all 2008 Honda Accords.
This bulletin is a PDF, so you will need to have Adobe Reader installed in order to open. Download it free at: https://get.adobe.com/reader/
*Also note, this TSB is an older version,–for the latest version, (TSB 09-010 v5 updated February 2017), you can purchase my eReport here.
I called Fernandez back yesterday and left a message requesting a call back. Did not receive one.
Today I called Honda directly at 1-800-999-1009 and spoke with Leonard. He gave me a case number and said it will be dispatched over to a case manager and someone will call me back within one business day.
After hanging up, I called Fernandez Honda back and asked to speak to Kevin. I was told he was on a call and I would be put through to his voice mail. I’m still waiting for a call back… I’ve always had excellent customer service from Fernandez Honda, so my expectations are high. (Sadly, this isn’t the case anymore. See my update as of August 2020.)
Honda Vehicles Affected by the “Engine Rattles at Cold Start-Up” VTC Actuator Problem
- 2008-2012 Honda Accords (ALL)
- 2007-2014 CR-V’s (Check year and VIN number. Initial TSB 09-010 listed all 2007-2012 CR-V’s as affected. TSB 06-012 lists 2013-2014 CR-V’s as being affected.
- 2012-2015 Crosstours (See this post for more information)
News flash for those people who own a 2014 Honda Accord, apparently they have problems too. Click here for more information. For ALL Honda owners, if you would like to know if there has ever been a recall or any other issues related to your vehicle, click here to be taken to their site where you can enter your VIN number.
Note: See my post on how this VTC actuator problem can and has contributed to the “Sticking Piston Rings Resulting in High Engine Oil Consumption“. Download the latest TSB’s and all information in my eReport in easy PDF format; only $7.97.
Contact Information For Honda:
- American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
- Honda Automobile Customer Service
- 1919 Torrance Blvd.
- Mail Stop 500-2N-7A
- Torrance, CA 90501-2746
- Phone: 800-999-1009
Update August 30th, 2020: Unfortunately, Fernandez Honda has sold out to a large conglomerate, Group 1 Automotive and I no longer recommend them. Their ethics and service both appear to have disappeared with the new ownership. (Read my Yelp review here.)
Update: 9/25/2014 For those who were wondering how this was resolved, Fernandez Honda graciously offered to fix my car for a very small charge of under $100.00. So far, so good. For the first time since 2008 when I bought my car brand new, it does NOT make any noise when I start it. How much damage driving it with the VTC actuator like it was for over 100K miles…well, I don’t suppose we will really ever know. The fact that I purchased my car brand new from Fernandez Honda, and had only taken it there for service, probably had a lot to do with their agreeing to fix it for a very small charge. So far my car is purring along and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it lasts for a little while longer. *I apologize to those whose comments I lost. I am no longer hosting my site through GoDaddy, but through SiteGround. When I transferred my site, I lost my comments. Feel free to comment again if I haven’t answered your questions with my update. 🙂
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