Name and Shame: Keeler Honda, Colonie, N.Y.
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, 200756,700 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, 2009103,280 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 advisor 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 Element Owners Club 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. The service rep at Keeler never mentioned this, of course.
February 2010: I faxed a letter and supporting documentation* to American Honda.
March 2010: Honda sent me a check for $340.
Thank you American Honda, and shame on Keeler.
*Bill of sale for the car; Honda Care owner info with contract number; invoice for visit to Keeler in January 2007; copy of letter to Keeler service manager from October 2007; and receipt for parts
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