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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone. I have a problem with my Element, and I am hoping to get some advice from this forum.

I live in Boston, and I got my Element in February. I love the car, and as of yesterday I have put 2300 miles on it.

Yesterday (Friday,4/25), I had to take a business trip to meet with a client in Connecticut. About 2 ½ hours into the trip, I noticed a “pissy” smell in the car, and minutes later the check engine light came on. Within 5 minutes there was a lot of smoke and/or steam coming from under the hood, I pulled over at the next exit ( I was on I-95, and there was no safe shoulder to stop on). I popped the hood open to find that there was coolant splattered all over the engine compartment. There was also a white jelly like substance. A hose was blown off the radiator near the cap; I do not know if this was a cause or an effect of the problem.

I called Honda National, and was given the name of a local dealer in Milford CT, and I arranges to have the car towed to their service department. The service manager was great, and assured me they would take care of everything. The reaction I got from the mechanics was pretty funny...they could not believe that there was an Element with a problem in the shop. They said on first look that there was no coolant in the sytem. They set me up with a rental car, and I proceeded to my meeting, 1 ½ hours late.

Later in the afternoon, I spoke with the service manager, who told me that “something strange is going on” with the car, and They would need to keep it over the weekend. I drove the rental car back to Boston that evening.

So now it is Saturday morning, and I am wondering how things are going to go next week. I am in Boston driving a rental car, and my car is at a Honda dealer in CT. I really can not afford to take a day off from work to drive there and pick up my car and drop off the rental. Here are some questions I have that I would like some thoughts on:

Should I expect or demand that my local Honda dealer (from whom I bought the car) drive the rental back and pick up the Element for me when it has been repaired?

Should I expect Honda to cover the expense of the tow and the loaner car?

Should I be worried about the Element and any long term damage the incident may of had on the car?

Is there anything else I should be concerned about?

thanks for your thoughts.
 

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Unfortunately your warranty does not cover consequential damages, which is what you are looking for. I seriously doubt Honda corp will help you. Not saying that they shouldnt just that they probably wont. It would be a goodwill expense for the selling Dealer. I would remind them of the loyal customer you are , or want to be, and ask politely that they assist you.

This is one area where having an Extended warranty can be helpful, most third party(non-manufacturer) warranties have trip interruption benefits, which would pay for some of the expenses you are going to incur. I dont know off the top of my head if the Honda Care new car plans provide such a benefit. Its worth reading your contract if you bought one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The service manager told me that thecoause of the problem was a blown hea gasket. I do not know why the head gasket blew. This seems pretty ridiculous for a car with 2300 miles on it.

No word from anyone at Honda or the dealer about whether they will assist me in getting the car back to me in Massachusetts.

You know, in the past I have only driven chevys and VWs, neither brand known for exceptional mechanical reliability. But they never let me down like this.

I shoulda just waited for the Toureg.
 

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I don't want to downplay your concern any, but I can almost assure you that Honda will help you out in this case. My experience with Honda has been that they usually go above and beyond in these cases to ensure the happiness of their customer. It is quite embarrassing for them to have a head gasket blow this early. I would also think that the originating dealer would offer some type of help in regards to the rental vehicle, etc, if Honda were to deny that claim.

Honda does not typically pay for rental vehicles, but on a case by case basis I have seen them do so. Our policy is usually to immediately get the customer in a replacement vehicle (rental) and then worry about who's footing the bill later (Honda or us). We can usually work something out with our rental companies if we get stuck with the bill, to help ease the cost.

I would think the originating dealer needs to also do some research to make sure the vehicle was properly prepped off the transport. Not that I would expect them to admit wrongdoing, but they will be checked by Honda I would imagine.

Last thing to keep in mind, is that even though it is a Honda, there are occasionally problems that arise. No car is perfectly built, 100% of the time. If you continue to experience problems with yours, keep a log of such problems and be prepared to ask for something different to be done. It is not easy by any means to ever get Honda to buy a vehicle back, but in extreme cases where multiple problems cannot be fixed, Honda does.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Honda national called me today. There is an agent on the case, and she assured me I would be taken care of. They seemed to agree that this situation was pretty bad.

The service department is waiting for a head gasket, and they are concerned that the bottom of the engine may have been compromised.

The car probably will not be ready until next week at the earliest.
 

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I had a Land Rover that blew a head gasket at about the same mileage. They came and got the car, and put it on a car-carrier truck (carried, not towed) and took it to the dealer 80 miles away. They carried it back to me when it was finished. I still have the car, with over 85,000 miles on it and never have had any engine problems. I already had purchased a 7 year/100,000 mile bumper to bumper no deductible warranty, so I never worried. If Honda wants you to keep the same engine, I think that they should provide a 7 year/100.000 mile warranty on the engine at no charge.
 
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