Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

2013 Honda Fit - Failure after dealer visit

I have a 2013 Honda Fit that a little over a year ago was making a clicking sounf that would dissapear after engine warmed up. took to local dealership where they were unable to diagnose problem. Then was told it was a bad intake manifold and they replaced it. Problem still persisted. Finally check engine light came on amd it tripped a code and was told it was a loose spark plug. They tightened it and problem was fixed. Driving home three days ago and engine light comes on starts to flash and engine sputters. Pulled over shut it off and had it towed back to dealership. Was told that the same plug blew out and it damaged engine and that it would cost over 5 grand to repair. I feel as though there was some negligence involved in the original repair and wonder if they are obligated to do the repair for free.Thanks

I’d certainly argue that the repair should be done for free IF the spark plug had been removed in the original manifold replacement service. If the plug was initially over-tightened and damaged the threads, re-tightening a loose plug could “finish off” the threads. Not sure why the spark plug would be out for a manifold replacement, though.

The usual repair for such a failure is using a spark plug thread repair insert. A $500 repair rather than a $5000 repair. What are they DOING for $5K? Replacing the engine? Ask them about that and if they can do an insert to repair the spark plug hole. If they say Honda won’t let them do that type of repair, have the car towed to a good independent who will.


Thanks for response. They are going to cover 90 percent of repair.

1 Like

I am still curious regarding the need for a $5000 repair. Exactly what do they say is wrong, and what is their proposed fix. $500 vs $5,000? Your cost $50 vs $5,000? I hope they aren’t planning to install a used engine. That could be a giant can of worms. A used engine’s warranty may be fulfilled if the used engine runs, but poorly.
With this dealership’s track record, I’d be unwilling to let them attempt any major repair.

They are going to install new cylinder head and check for additional damage.

I’ve got a case where Mazda dealer removed plugs for the totally unrelated BCM reprogramming recall I brought car for, then pushed me hard for $500+ service to replace plugs and perform “fuel induction service”, backing it up by the claim “see, your plugs were dirty” picture on their mechanic cell phone.
Looked like a normal grey ceramic insulators to me.
My heart sunk when I’ve seen it, so I only made sure to fix the fact of the plugs removal in the paperwork and left the place as fast as I could, then at home I removed plugs again, carefully inspected threads and installed new ones, for 10% of the quoted cost and with the same NGK type.
Fortunately for me, they did not damage threads, but it was totally unauthorized work on the critical component, which I would absolutely reject if they were to call me to to pre-autorize first :frowning:

That is a pretty steep price, even if they put a new head on.
If it was a total new engine I may take the deal. Then you would have an engine with -0- miles. That would be a good selling point when you want to trade it in. But keep all paper work for proof that it has a new engine at XXX miles.

I would still get a second opinion.

Thanks for everyone’s recommendations.

Why in the world does this car need a new cylinder head because of a stripped spark plug hole?

They’ve never heard of a plain oldTime-Sert or Heli-Coil?

Whether the dealer is responsible for this is unknown because the car is 6 years old and it’s unknown when or who may have had their hands on a spark plug replacement and overtightened the plug.

I’m guessing the original cause of the sound was a loose spark plug. Each time it fired the plug bounced up and down, and over time that movement damaged the threads that hold it in the cylinder head, which is probably aluminum, so easier to damage than iron. The damage must be more than just the threads at this point, perhaps cracks in the area surrounding the threads, making drilling and re-threading unlikely to succeed. It’s good they are covering most of the cost for you, shows they stand behind their product. Honda seems to be pretty good for that by the posts we get here. I think they probably should have been able to diagnose the loose spark plug originally by using a mechanics stethoscope tool to isolate where exactly the sound was coming from. But sometimes that doesn’t always work, so give them the benefit of the doubt I guess since they are covering most of it now. I’m presuming they are the only shop who’s installed spark plugs on this vehicle, right? Best of luck.


It appears they are replacing the entire cylinder head. They sent me the ordered part confirmation and I looked up the part number and it is over 3 grand I believe. Pretty sure they wouldn’t take a hit on that expense if it weren’t necessary.

You’re seeing the retail price, not what it is costing them and you’re kicking in 10% of that retail price, right?

Many dealerships aren’t big on doing repairs to heads and favor replacement for a variety of reasons. This approach is likely the best deal for them in terms of cost and risk management…

I can tell you without hesitation that the head is repairable with a Time-Sert or Heli-Coil. I’ve done many of them while working for various dealerships.

Totally ludicrous to replace a head for that reason; at least in my humble opinion.

I think it’s ridiculous to replace circuit boards in failed electronics and prefer to repair them. I know what I am doing and can efficiently perform the work. Most professional repair places cannot and choose to board swap.

I put you in the same kind of situation. You know what you’re doing and can perform the repair efficiently and right the first time.

These guys already have two strikes against them on a much easier to diagnose and repair problem. If you owned the dealership, would you want yet another call back? Plus the car owner could reasonably demand the money back for the manifold work which did not address the original complaint. How to make it go away quietly? Just put in a new head and call it a day. Risk mitigation…


Original sound of loose plug that lasted for about a minute then stopped when engine warmed up.

(Attachment IMG_0414.MOV is missing)

A follow up to my original situation. Apparently the plug blew out so badly that the cylinder head could not be heli coiled. They replaced the cylinder head and my cost was $580,
The car sounds great at idle, however driving home with radio off I noticed a ticking sound, almost like baseball cards in a bicycle spoke. It speeds up with an increase in rpms and is more noticeable when traveling uphill.
There is no sound ad idle or even when revving engine in neutral. Also the sound isn’t there until the engine warms up.
Took it back to the dealer and they are telling me that the vehicle is operating as designed.
I am going to take it to an independent shop to get another opinion,

The ticking noise could be from the valve area, in which case it probably makes sense to just monitor it, provide it doesn’t get markedly worse. If it is still there in 2 or 3 k miles then have you shop check the valve clearances. Valves adjusted too loose can cause a clicking noise. There’s other stuff that can cause this sort of noise too, so good idea to have your shop give it a listen.

So when they replaced the cylinder head is it possible they didnt adjust the valve clearances? Is it something that takes time to break in? On another note I assume when they change the cylinder head they drain all the oil then replace it. However I did notice that the oil filter from my last oil change was still there. Is it possible that the residual oil in the filter being a different brand could cause any issues?


Not usually, but I suppose new valve springs could be a little stiff & could take some time to seat properly. I expect they may have set the valve clearances purposely a little loose with the idea they can tighten them up later if valve noises appear. Its better they be too loose than too tight, so they may just be erring on the side of caution. Keeping the same oil filter isn’t something I’d do, but I doubt it has anything to do with the ticking.