Barber Honda - Barber Honda Service

Posted on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009 at 1:56pm CST by a419531f

Product: Honda Service

Company: Barber Honda

Location: 4500 Wible Road
Bakersfield, CA, 93313-2629, US


Category: Other

American Honda Motor Corporation

Attn: Automotive Customer Service

1919 Torrance Blvd.

Torrance, CA 90501

I have stepped away from my frustration for a few weeks, so I can be a little more rational as I explain a very frustrating experience. I request that you read and understand the whole story so you too can understand the incompetence of the Barber Honda of Bakersfield, CA, service department and why I am so frustrated at the expense I had to endure to get this problem resolved.

My wife had traveled to Bakersfield, California from Burlington, Washington to help my brother who was working in Bakersfield at the Kern County Fair. My wife called me to let me know our car, a 2004 Honda Civic EX, was not running correctly. We discussed what we should do. My brother had used a local mechanic and suggested we take the car to him and proposed it would be less expensive than the dealer. Since we have always had extremely good service from our local Honda dealer here in Burlington, and truly we expected to get the same excellent service from any Honda dealer we decided we'd rather take our car to the Honda Dealer in Bakersfield, Barber Honda.

My wife and my brother delivered the car to the Barber Honda service department on Monday, September 28, 2009. Near the end of the day on Monday I called the service department to see what they had found. I asked for the service department and they referred me to Dustin the service tech. Dustin told me that they hadn't found anything yet. He said that they had put it on the computer and received a code suggesting the cam position sensor was bad.

I explained that it had just been replaced. He explained that they would check the sensor and that I should call the next day and they would know more.

I called around noon the next day, Tuesday, September 29, 2009. Dustin told me that the cam sensor seemed to be OK. He told me that they had checked the compression and it was OK. We discussed the possibilities. He thought perhaps it could be a timing belt. I explained that the engine had just been replaced two months prior and that a new timing belt had been installed at that time. He also speculated that the catalytic converter could possibly be the problem. He assured me they would find the problem and I could contact them later.

I called after work the same day, Tuesday. They had checked the timing belt and felt it was OK. Still no news. He told me that Wednesday they would take the catalytic converter off and drive the car to see if that was the problem. I should call back the next day.

Wednesday I called at about 10:00 AM. He had no news. I let him know I was not pressuring him, that I was curious. I asked if he could let me know when he found something. You can ask Dustin, at no point did I get belligerent. By the time I got off work on Wednesday I had heard nothing so I called. The service person told me that they had taken the catalytic converter off and the car still acting the same by starting to sputter at about 50 mph, so they were convinced that it wasn't the catalytic converter. He told me that they were at a loss and had contacted the Honda techs. He told me that the techs suggested they check the keyway on the cam which they had done. It was OK.

I expressed my concern and that I thought it was possibly a communication problem between the computer, engine, and transmission? He clearly was not convinced and told me the techs also asked them to hook it to a computer and drive it. His explanation was that when the car started missing, with the computer hooked up, they would do an instantaneous reading of all systems. Hopefully this would expose some anomaly. He told me they would do that tomorrow, being Thursday. I expressed my concern that I didn????t want to bother them too much with my calls. He told me not to worry. He would be glad to answer my questions anytime.

I certainly didn't want to bug them too much so I waited till Thursday early afternoon to call. When I called he told me that the tests that the factory wanted him to run were inconclusive. He said they were at a loss but they would figure it out. He told me to feel free to call later in the day.

I called at about 4 PM Thursday. Dustin told me he had misinformed me when he told me they had checked the compression and vacuum earlier in the week. He said they checked the compression and vacuum this afternoon. He informed me that one cylinder had low compression and the vacuum was way too low. At this point he also informed me that the he thought the engine would need to be replaced. He told me he would have some options worked up and get them to me in the morning.

In the meantime I talked to my brother who is a mechanic and was in the area. He had driven the car prior to taking it to Barber Honda. I asked him about what he thought of their conclusion. Flatly he told me no way. I agree. Anyone familiar with the internal combustion engine can tell you that low compression doesn't make the engine miss and stall. In fact the engines we test, aircraft engines, usually there is no sign other than a decrease in power quite naturally at about the same ratio as the compression has decreased. When one cylinder is low, and the pressures he described were not that significant, only the power in that cylinder decreases. Since it was only one cylinder and the drop was not that significant there certainly should not have been the dramatic decrease in power as described by my wife and brother. Keep in mind I am still 1200 miles away and have made this deduction.

The next time I talked to Dustin he informed me that the engine was bad and would need to be replaced. Honestly I couldn't believe it. We had recently replaced the engine. I called my Honda dealer and asked about the warranty. Both mileage and time were just past warranty. At this point I asked my wife to take the car from the dealer and I would come retrieve it so I could take it to my local dealer.

Since I am in Burlington, Washington I had to make arrangements to get a tow dolly to bring my car home. It took two days to drive to Bakersfield and two days to drive back home the 1200 miles each way.

When I arrived in Bakersfield I drove our Civic. Just as my wife and brother reported to me the car had good power until it reached the point where it needed to shift into drive. At that point, approximately 45-50 mph the car completely lost power and would barely run.

Since I was convinced that this problem was something other than the compression problem Barber Honda described to me, I decided to stay over till Monday so I could talk to them. I had the car on the trailer and drove to the dealership. I asked for the Service Manager, his name was Steve as I recall. After a very frustrating extended discussion Steve told me and I quote him here, ????If the truth were to be know, if we would have had enough time, I think we would have found this car has an electrical problem. ENOUGH TIME. ENOUGH TIME. He didn't tell me anything like that on the phone. They told me the tests were complete and I needed to replace the engine. Perhaps he could have saved me a trip that ended up being 5 days long to retrieve my car.

You can only imagine my anger. He thinks it is an electrical problem and he suggested that I replace the engine????? Dustin did not communicate to me that they needed more time or further tests. He told me I needed to replace the engine. What kind of incompetence is that? I wanted to know more so I ask the service manager that very question. Why would you suggest that I replace the engine, thinking it was an electrical problem? He told me that it is what the Honda Service techs suggested. Where are they? He explained to me they were in Torrance, California.

I fully let Steve know my frustration. He is where my car is. He can touch it, he can listen to it, he can hook up to a computer, and he can drive it. I knew enough to know it didn't need the engine replaced. What was wrong with this service group? They depended on someone out of town that can't see the car, can't drive the car, and can't listen to the car. In addition to that he told me he believed it was an electrical problem!! And suggest that I have the engine replaced??? That made absolutely no sense. Had I done what they suggested at the prices they quoted I would have spent upward of 3 to 5 thousand dollars and still had a problem, because as I will explain, that was not the problem. Before I left, I also let him know car also had an exhaust leak it did not have when he received the car. He admitted that could be because they had removed the catalytic converter.

I wanted to find the owner of Barber Honda, to let him know how stupid this whole fiasco was, but he wouldn????t be in until later in the afternoon. I was definitely on a schedule and had to get home. I don't have vacation, I don't have sick leave, if I am not at work I don't get paid.

A long trip home and I delivered my car to Sims Honda in Burlington, Washington. Once they had it in the shop they knew what was wrong with in two hours. Before they did anything they checked the compression, after all that was why I needed to replace the engine? They told me they didn't know how Barber could get the low compression and vacuum readings. It is fine? Vacuum was OK too!!

Does Barber make up service woes so they can replace engines? This is an atrocious breach of the trust I had in Honda Dealers. If I had the where with all I would certainly sue Barber Honda for all my expenses and lost wages for this asinine attempt at being a Honda Service Center.

Long story short the computer and catalytic converter were bad. Barber had even checked the catalytic converter. Sims showed me the converter. It rattled, obviously bad. Why couldn't Barber find that? And the computer?? I am not a mechanic and that is what I would have checked first.

Next day I drove my Honda away and it is running perfectly. Sims also had to fix stripped bolts the Barber butchers stripped on the manifold when they removed the catalytic converter. I hope you can help me feel better about this incident. I am back driving my car to work every day. No problems. None. My problem is 4 nights in motels at $378, $398 in gas, 3 days wages at $480 a day, a tow dolly at $321, and bolts stripped in the manifold. That is a very conservative estimate which does not include all the various meals and other expenses one incurs with a trip of two thousand five hundred miles over 5 days.

James L. Gray

Burlington, WA



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