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Name and Shame: Keeler Honda, Colonie, N.Y.

4805 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  ramblerdan
January 2007: I began to hear a clicking noise coming from the front of the car in tight turns, especially on startup when the car was cold.

January 29, 2007—56,700 miles: I brought my Element to Keeler, reporting the sound and expressing the opinion that a CV joint was going bad. The car was covered by a 100,000-mile Honda Care warranty.

The tech said he couldn't hear any noise, and visual inspection revealed nothing amiss.

October 26, 2007:
I wrote to the Keeler service manager, stating that I still heard the noise every time the car was cold, and "to remind you that I am on record as having reported a problem with this part. ... I trust that once your service department is able to diagnose the problem, I won’t encounter any trouble about the warranty."

August 31, 2009—103,280 miles: I brought the car in again, reporting that the noise now occurred even in warm weather and was now accompanied by vibration.

The tech determined that the right front axle needed to be replaced.

A service rep told me that because the 100,000-mile Honda Care warranty had expired, Honda would't allow the repair under warranty, and that the work would cost $607 for parts and labor. He was unmoved by the fact that I had reported the problem twice while the car was still under warranty. I asked to speak to the service manager, gave my contact information, and was told he would get back to me. He didn't.

September 2009: I replaced the axle myself. The parts came to $358.59, including tax and shipping.

January 2010: A posting on EOC reminded me of the class-action lawsuit settlement that had extended mileage for lease and warranty purposes. I checked the Technical Service Bulletin and lawsuit settlement Web site, and learned that my car was covered.

February 2010: I faxed a letter and supporting documentation to American Honda.

March 2010:
Honda sent me a check for $340. (Apparently they chose not to reimburse me for the shipping cost. Meh.)

Thank you American Honda, and shame on Keeler Motors.


I have notified Keeler about this thread and invited them to respond.
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Just out of curiosity, what sort of supporting documentation do you have that shows that the problem was reported and misdiagnosed on the previous times?

what sort of supporting documentation do you have that shows that the problem was reported and misdiagnosed on the previous times?
Invoice for visit to Keeler in January 2007 indicating complaint about CV joint noise; copy of letter to Keeler service manager from October 2007; and receipt for parts. (I'm sure I brought the car in another time for this problem but can't find an invoice, so left that out of the narrative.)

The boot wasn't broken on the earlier visit(s), and the tech said he couldn't hear the clicking. In fact, the service rep said they couldn't hear the sound in September, even after they found the torn boot. Hell's bells, I heard it when I drove out of the place.

BTW the joint failed dramatically on Friday afternoon before Memorial Day weekend. I had to have the car towed to my place and didn't get the parts for almost a week, because of the holiday. Good thing I have a scooter, or I would've had to rent a car to get to work.
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How hard is it to pull the axle out of the stub axle? I want to change mine as the inner boot is torn and repair it before it starts tearing itself apart. I already have spare shafts. Waiting for the huge amount of snow to melt.
How hard is it to pull the axle out of the stub axle?
Easy enough to pull it apart, but I didn't have to put it back together!

The hardest part of replacing the complete axle assembly is removing the ball joint. If doing the driver's side, you have to drain the tranny fluid. It's all in the service manual.

I had to replace the stabilizer link
because the threads were rusted. Broke a couple of Allen keys trying to get the nuts off the old one.

Also note that the spindle nut is a one-use item and is not included with a new driveshaft.
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Keeler Honda

This is a prime example of a trend in this country in regard to businesses ignoring what the customer has to say. There was a time when the customer was always right, within reason, however that seems to have gone away. At least American Honda read between the lines and sent you a check. Today it seems to be about the "bottom line" and not the customer.
Dan, sorry to hear about your frustrations with a dealer. I had very similar problems with mine last year involving extended warranty work. They wanted to charge me for non-warranty work before they could accurately diagnose the warranty covered item.

I immediately told the that I would advise everyone I knew to avoid their business and proceeded to rip the dealer badge off the back of my E in front of their customers.:evil:

The sales manager apologized for the service department but I still haven't heard any response from the actual service dept.
They should of had the tech go for a test drive with you to verify the noise. Your story does point out the benefit of keeping your records and documenting the complaint.
Actually one of the times I brought it in, I did ride with the tech—but after he had already taken the car out by himself. At that stage, the noise only occurred on the first couple of turns after startup when the car was very cold, and by the time I was in the vehicle, it had abated. Very frustrating! The next morning, there it was again.

I suppose I should have brought the car in again at 99,000 miles and reminded them about the problem, in hopes that they would finally hear the noise (or admit to hearing it), but I'm alone here and would have had to rent a car, take a cab (twice), or bum rides. Besides, I was already on record as having reported the problem at least twice. How many times is enough?

There are two issues: 1) They wouldn't do the job under warranty despite multiple reports of a problem while the car was still under warranty; and 2) The car actually was under warranty, and the service rep failed to disclose that fact, either through ignorance or malice.

Yes, you do have to be very conscientious about documentation and asserting your rights. I had to go the extra mile by taking my claim to American Honda, and it paid off.
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I would wager that the service writer was ignorant to the warranty extension. When something like that exists Honda sends out electronic and print notices to the dealer and print notification to the vehicle owner on record. They do not always have current owner contact information at Honda as their records are created when the vehicle is originally sold and only get updated if you notify them. While the service writer should have known they may not have if they were not working in that capacity when the extension was created. Once the print and electronic notifications are sent out you have to know to look for them later or you may never know they exist. The easiest way to know would have been for them to do a VIN status inquiry online to Honda as it would show the extension and any recalls done or outstanding. I suspect most service writers do not do this especially on a vehicle of your age and mileage. It does not take long to do and they can do it at their work station but unless they have been trained to do so it is not standard procedure.
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Interesting point, AKRunner. If salespeople know nothing about the Element, why should I expect a service writer to know about its TSBs?
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