Honda Element Owners Club banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Since there are only a limited number of ways to milk the unsuspecting E owners, I suggest we share our experience.

Here is what Honda dealers tried on me:

1. Suggest (i) complete AT fluid flush, hooking the AT to external pump instead of (ii) simple drain and fill, which only replaces 5 quarts out of 14. According to Honda Corporate, whom I called, method (i) is not allowed because it may damage the transmission. Guilty, I did it on my E at 57,000, at a cost of $130 + tax. I should have known better!

2. Suggest cooling fluid change at 30,000. They charged me for it, but I caught them not doing it in reality, by gluing the drain plug with chewing gum. Explanation was: it is not actually recommended by Honda at 30,000, this is why we didn't do it!

3. Suggest pollen filter replacement at a cost of $70. This is not unnecessary, but the part is $16 and takes only 18 seconds to install, just like on your home A/C. Same with engine air filter. It is as easy as replacing it on a shop vac.

4. Delivering less service than promised when rotating tires. A couple of times a guy just switched the passenger side wheels and on the other side - the driver side wheels. The correct way would be, after this is done, to exchange the rear wheels on the back in addition, so that 2 wheels out of 4 are moved crisscross. Explanation from the shop: the other way is also a legit way to rotate.

Any other experiences? Did anybody try a timing belt replacement (there is no such thing)? Rear wheel alignment (there are no adjustments for that)?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
861 Posts
No matter what establishment you walk into... you can get conned into spending more money than you need to actually spend. Whether it's a dealership or an independent mechanic.

I found a good dealership nearby me, unfortunately, through trial and error. I ONLY go there if I need to get work done with OEM Honda parts, which I tend to be picky about.

Most of the time, I find that the Honda service representative are aware of Honda protocols (i.e. no "flushing" of coolant, just a simple drain and fill....etc), but when they are mistaken, I certainly know better (having done my research online) and I am quick to inform or correct them.

Since I try to do research and stay educated about my own car, there are very few chances they can con me. There are plenty of shady, expensive and incompetent dealers out there. Unfortunately, no two dealerships are equal (why do we treat them all as equal...???). I avoid DCH Honda and Pacific Honda in my city, while preferring to do business with Mossy Honda.

If you're an old lady and you walk in, any dealership has the ability to rip you off. But then again, every mechanic in town can also rip you off. The important (and often difficult) part is to be educated and have a good sense of awareness.

People often complain about dealership this... dealership that...
1) Dealerships will cost more money than independent mechanics, so if you don't want to feel 'ripped off' then why not just go to an independent mechanic?

2) The number one thing you can do to protect yourself and minimize opportunities to be taken advantage of, whether at the dealership or shopping for a necklace, is to try and be educated as possible and be prepared!

It seems like your experiences mostly all due to an incompetent technician, service representative and/or dealership. I have about 4-5 dealership Honda dealerships in my city, which is more than most, and only 1 good Honda dealership. I know it's hard in other parts of the U.S. (especially more rural areas), but you gotta find a different dealership if this one is ripping you off...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,024 Posts
1. Suggest (i) complete AT fluid flush, hooking the AT to external pump instead of (ii) simple drain and fill, which only replaces 5 quarts out of 14. According to Honda Corporate, whom I called, method (i) is not allowed because it may damage the transmission. Guilty, I did it on my E at 57,000, at a cost of $130 + tax. I should have known better!
My own dealer insists on dumping in a pint of graphite additive on every oil change (in an aluminum engine no less). They know it's not Honda approved even though they still represent that Honda told them to do it. Even when I gave them specific instructions on what I wanted done, they STILL added the graphite to my Mobil-1 oil which cost me better than $150 more to get cleaned out. That was 5 years ago, Honda was notified, and they're still doing it. That dealer doesn't get any more of my business.

2. Suggest cooling fluid change at 30,000. They charged me for it, but I caught them not doing it in reality, by gluing the drain plug with chewing gum. Explanation was: it is not actually recommended by Honda at 30,000, this is why we didn't do it!
If they charged you for it and didn't, then press charges. That's how you get these places cleaned up.
Something you should've had done at least every 30,000 miles was to change the dual pump fluid. You didn't mention if you've been getting that done. How about the brake fluid?

3. Suggest pollen filter replacement at a cost of $70. This is not unnecessary, but the part is $16 and takes only 18 seconds to install, just like on your home A/C. Same with engine air filter. It is as easy as replacing it on a shop vac.
The average owner takes about 10 minutes to change the cabin filters. If you're good, I expect you could do it in 5, but 18 seconds is past silly. Yes, Honda Stealerships charge outrageous prices for simple maintainance because that's how they make money. That's why they're called Stealerships.

4. Delivering less service than promised when rotating tires. A couple of times a guy just switched the passenger side wheels and on the other side - the driver side wheels. The correct way would be, after this is done, to exchange the rear wheels on the back in addition, so that 2 wheels out of 4 are moved crisscross. Explanation from the shop: the other way is also a legit way to rotate.
They're right. The method depends on the tire wear and either method is perfectly valid. Your way isn't the only "correct" way.

Any other experiences? Did anybody try a timing belt replacement (there is no such thing)? Rear wheel alignment (there are no adjustments for that)?
Yes, my own dealer has sent me more than one coupon for money off on getting my timing belt replaced - coupons that said right on them that I had a Honda Element and including the VIN number. Of course, I think I've made it clear that my own dealer is incompetent.

BTW, the rear wheels ARE adjustable. It's only the camber that's fixed and even that can be roughed in a bit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
861 Posts
The first time I went to a quickie oil-change place (Valvoline), they told me all sorts of things needed to be done. Kind of freaked me out, but I denied their services and I took the information they gave me to my mechanic. He told me they were definitely yanking me chain and the car needed absolutely nothing but the oil change...

Other oil-change places, such as JiffyLube, have been caught MULTIPLE times ripping people off (document on camera, no less) and they are still continue to do it.

See video:

They'll tell you all sorts of things like... "Your car manufacture recommends we flush out the transmission with this special machine...etc" despite the manufacture warning service technicians and customers alike NOT to do certain types of services.

So dealers are definitely not the only ones who have the potential to rip people off!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
...Something you should've had done at least every 30,000 miles was to change the dual pump fluid. You didn't mention if you've been getting that done. How about the brake fluid?...

Yes, I did the dual pump fluid and power steering fluid myself, following publications on this forum. I am doing brake fluid religiously via the dealer, it is a safety matter in hot and humid Florida.

Did not mention it, because the thread is about unnecessary repairs and maintenance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
when they are mistaken, I certainly know better (having done my research online) and I am quick to inform or correct them...

Since they are not Einsteins at the dealerships, and there is a finite number of ways they can con us, I suggested to put all the stories in one place, so we could "do our research" the easy way. You never know what would be the next trick out of their sleeve (unless you listen to them and then take a timeout to do your own research). So it is better to master some condensed volume of knowledge ahead of time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Here is a "sweet deal" just from yesterday:

Honda Cabin Air Filter Replacement https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCgZrmWDpZ8

$74.95 With Coupon
Regular Price: $89.95
Breathe easier while driving! Keep dust, pollen and pollutants out of your passenger cabin with a new In-Cabin Air Filter:
• Blocks dust, pollen, mold spores and other pollutants
• HEPA filter technology

Ed Morse Honda, 561-844-5700
Prices may vary by model. Plus taxes and fees where applicable. Please present coupon during write-up. Not to be combined with any other discounts. Other restrictions may apply. Expires 12/31/14.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top