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What to do with my lemon of a car?

In 2008 I purchased my first brand new car ever. Since the Honda Fit came out I had wanted one knowing it would be a great little car with plenty of space for me and my dogs. I considered other cars similar to the Fit but decided to stick with Honda for their reliability even though it would cost me more.



One year after purchasing the car I began to smell something in my car. I discovered the back seats and floor boards of my car to be not only wet but have mold growing on them (since I rarely have anyone in the back seats but my dogs I always have the seats folded down). Ironically I had gone through something similar with my Neon right before I got rid of it so I immediately knew I must have some type of seal leaking.

I brought it to be serviced which was a nightmare in itself because initially they tried to tell me I left my windows open and wanted me to pay to pick the car up. I convinced them to keep looking and they discovered a leak and resealed the tailgate body seam.



To try to make a long story short since that incident this past year my car has been back to the service department 4 more times. 3 times it has been for a new water leak and once for them to replace the carpets. I thought when they replaced the carpets a few months ago I was finally in the clear until this past week it began to stink again and I found water in my car. So back to the shop for another seam to be fixed.



Its leaked in 3 different seam locations (trunk, tailgate, and right rear door area) and once was a repair to a seam they claim must not have been sealed properly.



My car is 2 years old and for 1 year I have been dealing with driving a wet and moldy car. Now that I finally got the carpets replaced (they refused to do anything about the wet musty seats) it leaked again and spots again smell. Also the side that is leaking has completely rusted out parts below the seat. Honda wont fix it.



I went into the dealer to see about getting rid of the car..they will give me $7500 for it..I owe $11500. So basically I have to pay $4000 to get rid of the car or suck it up and deal with a car that obviously has defective seams/seals.



Im in the process of trying to do a lemon law/magnusson moss warranty act claim but even with that it seems I should not expect to be able to get more than a couple thousand returned to me if Im lucky.



Any suggestions on where to turn or what to do? Am I crazy for feeling ripped off and like they should admit that I obviously was sold a dud car???
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Comments

  • edited October 2010
    Does the dealership have a body shop? If it doesn't, I think the dealer has been making patch up repairs that don't hold. If you have the documentation that you had the problem while the car was under warranty, you may have a legal claim. It might help to see an attorney and have him send a cover letter along with copies your documentation to Honda.

    Another altermative is to take the car to an independent body shop for an opinion. You may be able to have a repair made so that you get more service out of the car. Your problem is one that I think should have been handled by a good body shop from the very beginning. The service department of most dealers isn't equipped to do this kind of work.
  • edited October 2010
    Because of the car's age and the fact that the defect doesn't technically make the car undrivable or unsafe, you may not have success with the lemon laws, but you have my sincerest best wishing in that pursuit.

    You clearly got a dud. You are not crazy and not being unreasonable in your expectations.

    With your owner's manuall should have come a book with contact information for unresolved problems. Try there, and document everything. Try also the media. YOu may have a consumer advocate on one of your local news channels that you could send the story to. I'd suggest a lawyer, but I don't think the laws will help you here....although I could be wrong.

    Beyond that I have no suggetsions to muster. Sorry.

    Sincere best of luck. Let us know how it goes. We do care.
  • edited October 2010
    Thanks!!

    As for the lawsuit Im am a few months into filing a Magnusson Moss Warranty Act claim against Honda (through the NJ lemon law layers). My deposition with the Honda lawyers is actually this month. My conversations with the lawyers are they I have a good case and I should get SOMETHING but the impression I get is that I probably wont get the type of resolution Im hoping for and may get $1000..possibly $1500. Honestly Id be happy for them to just trade my car out and give me the same car, same year, same mileage..Im not asking for a brand new car.

    Part of my problem is that Im very non-confrontational and I really don't know much when it comes to cars...the dealer/service department talk to me like its no big deal and dont see why Im so upset. Im the type that instead of getting mad I start to cry when I get upset with them haha.

    The media is kind of the route Im trying to go now. Ive been researching my local news stations that have the consumer reports. I have an entire file with all the service reports and information. I have called Honda Corporate several times but never really got anywhere. They only helped me the one time that the service dept was trying to tell me there was no leak- they contacted the dealer and got them to keep looking until they found it.

    To answer Triedag the place does have body shop.

    Thanks for the input so far. I think its time for me to get loud and make a bit of a scene about it.
  • edited October 2010
    I agree with Mountainbike that the passage of two years, coupled with the reality that these defects do not make the car undriveable or unsafe, may make it difficult to avail yourself of a [i]Lemon Law[/i] settlement in your particular state. However, since there may be a chance of success via this route if you take action immediately, I would suggest that you begin to educate yourself about the terms of the Lemon Law in your state. Take a look at:
    www.lemonlawamerica.com

    Your biggest mistake was to continue to deal solely with the dealership for the past two years. Again, even though it is a bit late, you should initiate contact with Honda of America. By contacting them, you can kick your complaint up to the corporate level. As MB mentioned, contact info for Honda of America can be found in your Owner's Manual.

    Good luck!
  • edited October 2010
    I contacted Honda of America twice. Once being hte first time I brought the car in for the first leak repair.

    Im filing Magnusson Moss Warranty Act (similar to lemon law) and am already in the process. I was about 400 miles over the limit for actual lemon law filing for the first time I brought the car into the shop.

    I do agree its not undriveable ...but I would venture to say driving with the mold in my car can not be the safest/healthiest thing. I planned to have this car for the next 5-10 years. The idea of having a baby in the back seat of my mildew infested car is horrifying to me.

    Under the Magnusson Moss act/Lemon Law I am required to bring the vehicle back to the authorized manufacturer dealer for service of all problems throughout the process. IF I do not the court can determine that the vehicle is not defective. It is one of the things emphasized when I began the paperwork. Im pursuing this lawsuit but as you guys have mentioned Im not convinced I will get the results wanted. Ill prob end up with a $500 check and a pat on the back.
  • edited October 2010
    Also-
    Ive contacted over the past year Honda of America, Service dept manager, Honda dealership general manager, and the car dealer that sold me the car.

    I just want to get rid of the car and get not have to pay a crazy amount to do it :(


    This is an example of the rust inside my car on the side that is leaking:
    [IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c326/Sqrrlnut2/rusty.jpg[/IMG]


    Compared to the side w/o the leak
    [IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c326/Sqrrlnut2/dryside.jpg[/IMG]
  • edited October 2010
    I have a few questions.
    You state that you bought the car new. New as in 3 miles on it, new as in a few hundred, or what?

    Exactly how many miles on this vehicle?

    Is it known for a card-carrying fact that any of the seals are actually leaking? Can water actually be seen to run past the seals when it's raining?

    You state this vehicle is for your dogs too. How many dogs, how big, and is there a possibility this could be caused by dog urine?
    It's difficult for me to comprehend a new (as in 3 miles new) Honda being this leak prone from so many areas unless there's a story behind it.

    I would add that if the car is out of warranty then leaks due to seal fitment, door/glass adjustments, or body flex are not a warrantable issue.
  • edited October 2010
    Just a few comments. Filing a law suit is not exactly non-confrontational. Leaks can be hard to find and of course first thing is making sure there are no technical service bulletins on it. Then at this point I think I would try to find a body shop that is willing to spend some time with a hose looking for the leak. You can do this yourself with a water hose. Once the leak area is found, then a fix can be determined. Sun roofs, door seals and adjustments, grommets not in place, etc. are areas to look at.

    I had a leak in my 09 Pontiac G6. Water was in the trunk and couldn't figure it out. After taking the tail lights out and using a hose, I found a single 2" grommet that was not in place. Problem fixed.

    If I were you, I'd take out the seat and the carpet in the affected area and start going over it with a hose or sprayer and see when water appears. That rust is not a significant issue and really nothing needs to be done with it. You may need to have the seat professionally cleaned or re-stuffed, but take this stuff out first to mitigate the damage. It'll also make it easier to find the leak. Some of the G6's had a problem with the sunroof draining into the back floor because of too short a drain hose, so these things do happen.
  • edited October 2010
    The car had 9 miles on it at the time of purchase in 2008.

    Below are the service reports that show the mileage of the car. I have just blacked out any names on the report.

    It is not out of warranty- Honda has 100% agreed that this issue has nothing to do with me or my use of the car. Even on the phone last night the service manager admitted to me that this was due to a defect in the seals when manufactured. They just wont admit that this is going to and already has been an ongoing problem for me. Every time since the first time they fixed it they said "its all fixed- there will be no more problems now".

    All fixes have been covered my warranty and I have all of the service reports stating by the service department that seal leaks were found. They had a water specialist do water testing on the car each time to find the leaks. Honda admits the leaks are there- they are not denying that the seals have a problem. They just dont seem to get why I would be upset that my car would continue to have this problem.

    Absolutely 100% no chance it is dog urine. I did not have dogs in my car last week when it began leaking again. Also the leaks are the trunk seam, the car door on the top of my car (dont think i had a dog on top of my car). Any unless I have some really creative dogs that know how to put the seats up and aim down onto the floor boards on both sides LARGE quantities of urine that smell nothing like urine and come up clear this is not a possibility of scenario.


    First time in the shop:
    [IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c326/Sqrrlnut2/hondaleak.jpg[/IMG]

    Leak #2
    [IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c326/Sqrrlnut2/leak2at12835PM.jpg[/IMG]

    Leak #3
    [IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c326/Sqrrlnut2/leak32826PM.jpg[/IMG]


    There is a leak #4 which was just this past week but you get the point.



    Also when this first happened I began searching online and Im not hte only one having this problem: http://www.fitfreak.net/forums/1st-generation-gd-01-08/50111-water-leak-between-door-door-panels.html
  • edited October 2010
    The problem is that once one leak is fixed it pops up in a new location. I can pull the seats out (if i even knew how), dry them out, have them professionally cleaned, re-stuffed..than what about when it leaks again? Im have to do it all again and be the one to pay for it? Carpets have already been replaced once to just get moldy again.

    So I guess what you are implying is it is unreasonable for me to be so upset that a car thats only 1 year old has repeat water leaks?
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