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Old 12th August 2010, 19:37   #1
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Default NHC starter problem: HONDA refusing to honour warranty! UPDATE: Warranty honored.

Hi,

I own a Sept 2007 Honda City ZX GXi, done about 35k kms.

Since a couple of weeks now, I've been facing a weird starting problem in my car.

When I start the car first thing in the morning, it starts without a fuss. But if I drive for around 20 minutes or so, and then switch off the engine, the car refuses to start after that. Then it has to be push started, which it does without any hitch.

On the other hand, if I park my car for a couple of hours somewhere, then it starts again. It's as if the car needs some kind of "rest" period before being started again!

I took the car to Capital Honda Chennai, and the service advisor there said "Saar battery problem". I told him it couldn't be a battery problem, since the car starts fine first thing in the morning, and then it refuses to start after running a few kms. But he insisted it was a battery problem. They checked out the OEM battery, and found out the battery water was less (this after the car had been with them for regular service and body work for 10 days with them just a week back). So they topped up the water, told me that I needed to get the battery changed, and sent me on my way.

So the next day I got a new Amaron battery. But still the problem persists. I'm planning to take the car to them this Saturday, but would love to have some insight into what the problem could be, so that they don't feed me some story again. Could it be the starter motor? The alternator (improbable)? Some loose connection which becomes disconnected on getting heated up?

Any suggestions and ideas are welcome.

Thanks in advance,
Vineet
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Old 13th August 2010, 10:59   #2
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Check your starter motor. your solonoid switch might have gone bust
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Old 13th August 2010, 11:10   #3
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Thanks for the reply sushrutha.

Any idea if it can be repaired, or it'll have to be replaced only? What would be the approx cost either way?

Why I ask is because Honda dealerships don't believe in repairing things, only replacement.
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Old 13th August 2010, 12:30   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vineetmanghani View Post
Thanks for the reply sushrutha.

Any idea if it can be repaired, or it'll have to be replaced only? What would be the approx cost either way?

Why I ask is because Honda dealerships don't believe in repairing things, only replacement.
The starter motor can be repaired or reconditioned. But not sure if Honda Service Station will be willing to do it or just suggest to replace it.
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Old 15th August 2010, 09:15   #5
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So I took my car to Capital Honda yesterday, showed them the problem, and told them to check the starter motor. After dismissing my thoughts saying the starter motor on these vehicles doesn't conk out, they said maybe the wiring was getting shorted somewhere. After 4 hours of checking the wiring, the SA came back to me saying the starter motor is the problem!

So I ask them what's the cost of a new starter motor. He says 6k. So I ask him if it's repairable. He shakes his head no. So I ask if it is covered under warranty (I have extended warranty for 4 years), and he says yes. Thinking finally I would be using the warranty for something, I tell him to replace the motor.

After 5 minutes he comes back saying the warranty person is saying that the starter motor is a wear and tear part and will not be covered under warranty! I told him boss the entire car is a wear and tear part, the engine, the gearbox, everything you're saying is covered under warranty is a wear and tear part.

So I go to the service manager with my story, and I show him the list of parts not covered under warranty in my booklet, which does not mention starter motor (or any motor). So he calls the warranty guy, and he points out that the motor bushes are not covered!

I told him I'm not asking you to replace the bushes! It's the entire motor which has gone kaput. So he says bushes are part of the motor only na saar! I tell him by that logic even spark plugs are part of the engine, so engine should also not be covered, because spark plugs are not covered..

The Service Manager sees the logic (or the lack of it) and promises to write to Honda and get things sorted out, and hopefully get an approval for warranty replacement. I'm expecting to hear from him by Monday evening.

Hope for the best..

Cheers
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Old 15th August 2010, 10:26   #6
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Sure case of the ASC to fob off the customer on warranty. Please speak to Honda Customer Care directly.

BTW did you take the SA to task for suggesting unnecessary replacement of the battery?
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Old 17th August 2010, 19:46   #7
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So as expected, the service manager did not bother to call me on Monday, or all day today. I called him in the evening, and he said "Yes yes, I sent the report, I've got a response".

Apparently, the Honda people want to check whether the motor has a manufacturing defect or it has become weak for some other reason. On asking what the other reason could be, I was told overcranking can cause the motor to blow! They actually think some customer would keep cranking his car without any reason, enough for the starter motor to blow!

Anyway, so I asked what they were proposing. Get a load of this. He said we'll change the starter motor, you pay 6k bucks, then we'll send the old starter motor to Honda. They'll check it and get back to us in 15 days. Then if it is manufacturing defect, you get a refund!

Does anybody find it believable? A business would refund money that a customer has already paid? Is Honda really that customer-centric? If they are, then why this big fuss over a starter motor? I've paid good money for an extended warranty, now they seem to be agreeing that the motor is covered under that warranty, and it has stopped working. Just replace the damn thing and be done with it. Why all this sham of checking for manufacturing defects and all?

Guys, need your suggestions. Do you think I should pay and get the motor replaced, hoping for fairness and a refund on Honda's part?
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Old 17th August 2010, 21:34   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vineetmanghani View Post
Anyway, so I asked what they were proposing. Get a load of this. He said we'll change the starter motor, you pay 6k bucks, then we'll send the old starter motor to Honda. They'll check it and get back to us in 15 days. Then if it is manufacturing defect, you get a refund!

Does anybody find it believable? A business would refund money that a customer has already paid? Is Honda really that customer-centric? If they are, then why this big fuss over a starter motor? I've paid good money for an extended warranty, now they seem to be agreeing that the motor is covered under that warranty, and it has stopped working. Just replace the damn thing and be done with it. Why all this sham of checking for manufacturing defects and all?
Never heard of so much penny pinching for a premium product. I'd suggest you contact Honda customer service directly.
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Old 17th August 2010, 21:55   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpower View Post
Never heard of so much penny pinching for a premium product. I'd suggest you contact Honda customer service directly.
Ya registered a complaint with Honda One2One and also wrote a mail to the email address mentioned on the website: customer_relations@hondacarindia.com

Could anyone help me with some email addresses of higher-ups in Honda? They should know what kind of shoddy work their service centers are doing, and how the customer is being treated.

Mods: Can you please rename the thread to reflect the name of the service center CAPITAL HONDA CHENNAI? And should this thread be moved to the Indian Car Dealerships section?

Cheers,
Vineet
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Old 17th August 2010, 22:34   #10
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This is SAD. Really SAD.
Honda is going the Skoda way...

Follow up rigourously with Honda.
If the car is with the dealer, do not pick it up until they replace the starter motor free of charge.

If the dealer is playing the trick, you need to *FORCE* Honda to intervene or route it officially to other dealer/service station.

All the best.
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Old 18th August 2010, 11:18   #11
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The car is with me as of now...I really can't do without a car for extended periods of time. But I'm making do with the problem as of now, hoping the starter motor doesn't give up completely on me...

Another concern I have is that what if this is also misdiagnosed? I've already paid about 4k for a new battery, and they want me to pay 6k for the motor? What if even replacing the starter motor doesn't resolve the issue? I'll be 10k out and still hoping I don't stall my car on the road
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Old 18th August 2010, 11:27   #12
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How are the fuel lines? Are they insulated very well from end to end? This type of issue can occur when there's a vapour lock within the fuel lines. Pls get this checked in addition to the self motor.
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Old 18th August 2010, 13:03   #13
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I think the problems could be two fold.

1. SELF - It needs to be cleaned, it isnt cranking the engine when its hot. Since you found the issue only when you have driven certain kms and not at the cold start.

2. Fuel Pump - Fuel pump is not giving required fuel to the engine

The type of cranking (when the car isnt starting) will help one understand the issue from 1 or 2 above.

Call up Honda office from the numbers given from the website, if needed be, talk to them that you want to speak to VP Customer Service, escalate this issue.

This should be done free of cost and in not more than 2 days (considering the time taken for the parts to be arranged)
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Old 18th August 2010, 13:26   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vineetmanghani View Post
The car is with me as of now...I really can't do without a car for extended periods of time. But I'm making do with the problem as of now, hoping the starter motor doesn't give up completely on me...

Another concern I have is that what if this is also misdiagnosed? I've already paid about 4k for a new battery, and they want me to pay 6k for the motor? What if even replacing the starter motor doesn't resolve the issue? I'll be 10k out and still hoping I don't stall my car on the road
Well, if you are dealing with a potentially doubtful dealer and continue to use the car while there is some issue with the starter, you are digging a pit for yourself.
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Old 18th August 2010, 14:35   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
How are the fuel lines? Are they insulated very well from end to end? This type of issue can occur when there's a vapour lock within the fuel lines. Pls get this checked in addition to the self motor.
Thanks for the suggestion aargee. Will ask them to check it out, though I doubt they'll give much weightage to my suggestion. They seem like a bunch of know-it-all, incompetent fools!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tanwaramit
I think the problems could be two fold.

1. SELF - It needs to be cleaned, it isnt cranking the engine when its hot. Since you found the issue only when you have driven certain kms and not at the cold start.

2. Fuel Pump - Fuel pump is not giving required fuel to the engine

The type of cranking (when the car isnt starting) will help one understand the issue from 1 or 2 above.

Call up Honda office from the numbers given from the website, if needed be, talk to them that you want to speak to VP Customer Service, escalate this issue.

This should be done free of cost and in not more than 2 days (considering the time taken for the parts to be arranged)
Thanks a lot for the valuable suggestions. I'll try getting in touch with someone higher up in Honda.

If anyone can help me with some names, phone numbers or email addresses, I'd be grateful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anandpadhye
Well, if you are dealing with a potentially doubtful dealer and continue to use the car while there is some issue with the starter, you are digging a pit for yourself.
The car starts just fine when it's cold. Just one crank and the engine roars to life. I drive it to office, park it under the shade, and in the evening again the car starts in one crank. I just have to be careful not to stall the car anywhere, or turn off the ignition by mistake...

Another update, the SM called me and said they don't have the part in stock. Apparently they've ordered it (don't know whether to take this claim seriously or not) and will be getting it by Friday.
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