Suspicious claim from Dealer- Civic Hybrid

My dear husband returned from Iraq in July, and I moved close to the base to meet him. My father drove our '04 Honda Civic Hybrid, which died in the last 50 miles of the road trip because of the air-conditioning fan belt. It was covered under warranty and we had it fixed.

My husband returned, having not driven a car in 15 months and confused the gas and the brake and managed to crash my poor car into his footlocker at 5mph. No one was hurt, besides his ego.

The damage we thought was minimal, it seemed that there was just some scraping in the wheel well because a splash guard had fallen. 2 months later, the IMA light comes on and the car begins to stall. We bring it into the dealer, thinking this is an unrelated problem.

The dealer says that coolant was leaking and destroyed the radiator, probably caused by the crash. In the 2 months of driving it after the incident, neither of us saw any fluid near the car nor did the engine temperature gauge rise. No smoke, no sweet smell, nothing that would indicate a leak.

We assume they are telling us this because we are under warranty and want to get out of covering the damages. Does their story sound plausible to you guys? The crash was so minimal, I can’t imagine it having done any real damage. My husband is incredulous that it could have done this, and I have begun to question it as well. I admittedly know nothing about cars, but I wonder if the damage might be related to their repairing the a/c belt.

Any insight you can give to us would be appreciated.

If there was damage to the radiator, it should be apparent and the dealer should show you the scape, dent, whatever on the radiator. If accident damage, the warranty doesn’t cover. How did they know there was an accident? Never volunteer information.

Yeah, in retrospect I should have kept my mouth shut. I asked them to repair the splash guard that fell, so they knew he had crashed it from that.

I am going to ask to see the radiator when I go back. I have trouble believing anything happened to it because honestly we never saw any rise in temperature, smoke or smell like something was amiss.

Right now they’re pretending to do us a favor, claiming they didn’t tell the warranty people that we crashed it. They said we might get a call about it though, which is why I am so concerned.

If this was damage caused by the Accident…then YES it is NOT covered by warranty…HOWEVER…it should be covered by your insurance.

That’s a great point… If they say it’s from the accident I’m going to try our insurance company.

The thing is, I was in the car with him, along with our baby when we crashed. She didn’t even cry. It was literally a 5mph crash, if that into a plastic footlocker.
The footlocker doesn’t even look messed up besides a crack in it. I just can’t believe it would cause catastrophic radiator damage. Something seems fishy.

Could it have been electric motor coolant leaking?
Might not look or smell like ICE engine coolant.

It definitely could have been. They didn’t specify which coolant was leaking. I’m not sure what it would smell like, but I’d hope that we’d have seen a pool of fluid under the car at some point, or at least see the temp gauge go up.


the leak could have been from the “crash”.

you try walking into a wall at 5 MPH. there is force involved.

why it has taken so long to show, I don’t know.

5mph is a FAST walk…slow jog.

If it is any consolation, I was squeezing between the two cars in our garage and bumped into the electrically adjustable mirror on one of the cars. It somehow damaged the mirror internally so that it kept vibrating and wouldn’t hold an adjustment. I had to replace the mirror. I wasn’t even walking 5 mph.

Earlier, I was coming down the disappearing stairway, missed the last step and fell against one of our cars, putting a small dent in the front fender. Our cars aren’t even safe in the garage.

yeah, those things have a funny way of running in front of you when you least expect them to :stuck_out_tongue:

What in the world is “electric motor coolant”? There may be one somewhere in the world but not in any motors used in cars.

Eta: Apparently I am a giant idiot and you can definitely cause major damage in a slow crash. ;/

Were not saying your an idiot. only that a car can be damaged in any sort of crash. no matter how slow.

Aww, everyone’s been very nice.

I just mean that I’ve finally come to the conclusion that it was probably us. :slight_smile:

Denial ain’t just a river, man.

The electric drive motor on the Civic does indeed use coolant of some sort. I base this belief on the fact that there are check engine codes for electric motor coolant problems.