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Honda Accord VCM



  • rodutrodut Posts: 343

    Honda looses countless customers because of VCM. I bought 4 Hondas since 1994 (1994, 2001, 2008 and 2012). Unfortunately I get chest pain (because I get mad) when the VCM computer changes the engine power without input from me (by varying the number of active cylinders). It's simply a health hazard for me to drive a VCM car (my 2012 Accord is manual transmission, so there is no computer changing the engine power or the gears for me). I can't stand a computer driving the car for me. I get chest pain.

  • pilgrim1620pilgrim1620 massachusettsPosts: 7
    Have a 2010 Accord v6. @ 45K spark plugs fouled and did software update, @ 70k ditto with spark plugs, now get new" small engine block", eventually paid for by Honda with class action suit. Now @ 104k 1st catalytic convertor goes. Read that catalytic convertors usually last life of car with rare exception, and also go prematurely " if engine burns too much oil" or if fuel is too rich. Therefore I am going to Honda to see if they will pay for new converter . Has any one else had similar experience?
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,755
    Some myths are in place here, a rich Air/Fuel (A/F) ratio does NOT damage a catalyst. To do anything, the catalyst needs O2 in the exhaust stream and a rich A/F ratio uses up all of the O2 in the engine so what happens is the catalyst actually turns off. Don't confuse that with a condition that results in a misfire, misfires damage catalysts no matter what the A/F ratio going into the engine is.

    Now oil consumption issues do damage catalysts, the question is why are you experiencing oil consumption and the most common cause is sticking piston rings caused by the oil leaving deposits behind. That is primarily caused by engine oil that fell short of a manufacturers specs, and a secondary cause is over extending the service intervals.
  • pilgrim1620pilgrim1620 massachusettsPosts: 7
    The engine burned excessive oil to the point that spark plugs had to be replaced at least 2 documented times and to point that they decide to give me a new short block, don't you think that may have contributed to the catalytic converter prematurely malfunctioning? I don't see how Honda can absolutely state that it did not. I change my oil at the recommended intervals.
  • pilgrim1620pilgrim1620 massachusettsPosts: 7
    Honda's response thus far is that they won't pay any part of it, because no one else has come to them with the same problem. They are losing me as a future customer. I have bought 3 Hondas in the past 12 years.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,755
    edited November 2014
    The catalyst failing is an issue but in all fairness they are only required to guarantee if for 80K miles and even then that is for defects, not for issues that killed it. Each time that the engine needed spark plugs, no matter what the cause was there easily would have been misfires occurring that would have been shortening the catalysts lifespan, and that is without considering the engine oil additive poisoning that also would have been occurring.

    If you follow a number of my posts you are going to see a perspective that is only gained by doing repairs like this first hand, and yes I have personally repaired a number of cars that have had similar failures to yours and the primary cause is in fact found in the service history, and even if oil changes were timely that doesn't mean that the products used actually met the engines demands. The API and ILSAC specs are in fact a minimal standard and the fact that they have fallen short of consumers needs should be what is being taken to task here, not manufacturers like Honda, GM, etc.

    At 100K your car still has 100K to 150K life still in it. At this time you should fix it, and then start making a payment to a new savings account as if you did indeed replace it. Ten years from today, when you still have your car and ten years worth of savings in the bank, lets talk again.
  • pilgrim1620pilgrim1620 massachusettsPosts: 7
    My point is an admitted defect in the engine lead, at least in part, to premature failure of catalytic converter. I think Honda should step up at take some of the responsibility, if they don't my next car will be a Toyota who replaced the frame of my Sequoia when the car was 10 years old and had 200K mi on it, with no charge and a free loaner. The Accord will need to be replaced in 2-3 years as I put ~30 k mi/yr on it. I had the oil changed @ Honda, when I was supposed to.
  • pilgrim1620pilgrim1620 massachusettsPosts: 7
    Cardoc , do you work for Honda? You seem to make presumptions that I did not care for car like I was supposed to. If you need my maintenance records I can supply them.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,755
    edited November 2014
    No, I do not (did not) work for Honda. I don't need your records to know what experience has taught me about what you had happened to your car. You are correct however in that I don't believe that your car was serviced correctly. The problems you described simply don't happen when todays cars are serviced correctly.
  • pilgrim1620pilgrim1620 massachusettsPosts: 7
    So I guess that means the Honda car dealership didn't service the car correctly? I think ( and I would agree ) they would have issue with that.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,755
    So let them have an issue. Do you think that it hasn't happened elsewhere in the US? Dealers using products that failed to meet the demands of the vehicles that they were selling?

    Go look at the history and hoopla surrounding the introduction of the GM dexos spec. The negative pressure trying to say that it wasn't necessary succeeded in having quite of number of cars get serviced incorrectly at dealers and many other shops. Just look at the other threads on this very page discussing GM's engine oil consumption issues. Almost everyone ignored what the owners manual actually said which was "Use an oil that meets API SM, ILSAC GF5, and is approved for GM spec 6094M (or 4718 the full synthetic version) or an equivalent. The trap from there was in actually finding a product that really was in fact an equivalent and understanding that anything that was only approved for the API and ILSAC ratings fell short of the actual spec and in fact wasn't an equivalent. The dexos licensed products solved these issues for GM because putting the licensed logo on the front of the bottle made it simple to know what really was the right product. Honda allowed the API and ILSAC minimal standard as their specification and for the most part it worked just fine, but there were exceptions and I have little doubt that yours was one of them. Your oil change intervals, combined with some aspect of your normal trip allowed the oil to degrade faster than was typical based on the original failures you described. Had someone have realized that early on and gotten you to switch to a more appropriate product you would not have suffered the failures that you did.

    Of course at the same time can you just picture what typically happens when they would have tried to get you to use a synthetic back then when your car's spec didn't call for it? This has to be the only job in the world that would have had them labeled rip-offs if they had done that, and of course they are now wrong as well since they didn't.

    So yes, IMO your car wasn't serviced correctly, and yes they likely would have been treated like they were wrong if they had in fact tried to do it right. In the end you end up fighting with them and the people who influenced the perspectives at play go on unscathed.

  • pilgrim1620pilgrim1620 massachusettsPosts: 7
    How about this argument? The spark plugs were not defective, yet Honda pays for them, because it is immediately known that they have been fouled because of the engine defect. No one looked directly at my catalytic converter at that time ( @ 40K, and 70 K). Admittedly there is no indicator saying that the converter is less functional than it had been, but does that mean the converter has not been to some degree also " fouled"?
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,755
    As a discussion or a serious attempt to genuinely understand more about the science that makes cars work and what it really takes to have people who can diagnose and repair them?

    If there was knowledge of an engine defect, they would have dealt with the engine at 40K miles. If the car came in with a misfire, and a spark plug issue was discovered as the cause the right thing to do is to take care of the spark plugs.

    Things happen to cars that quite often don't offer up much more than what can be immediately detected. If there wasn't legitimate proof that an engine problem truly existed at the 40K point, what do you think would happen to a tech who for no verifiable reason wants to replace the engine? Besides there is another whole level to this that everyone pooh-poohs because they simply don't care to see the connection. Under warranty that dealer technician probably got paid about .5hr to diagnose and replace the spark plugs. That same job, customer pay would be almost triple that and he/she then has time to be a lot more disciplined and thorough. Under warranty they are only allowed to do exactly what is needed in order to get you back into your car, and the time that they are paid to do it is often less than it really takes.

    You have one part of the above correct, without a trouble code providing a reason for direction no one would, OR SHOULD be looking at the catalytic convertor when you were at the 40K and 70K intervals.

    So then your engine was proven to be failing (for whatever reason) and they replaced it under warranty. The technician who fixed your car was probably paid around seven hours to do so. Now had that same job been customer pay he/she would have been paid around fourteen hours. The reality is that it takes an experienced tech just about ten hours on average to do that job. When an employee makes a mistake, some businesses dock their pay as a punishment. Exactly what did the tech do wrong to deserve getting his/her pay docked when he/she replaced your engine?

    Once completed there was no indication from the system that there were any other issues were there. At least not until some 30K+ later when the system has detected that the catalyst efficiency is below the specifications.

    So now, 105K miles. (25K out of warranty) the catalyst has failed. Here are the rest of the details. If they do the repair customer pay, you foot the whole bill and the tech will be paid around 1.7 hours. If they do anything other than that the technician will be paid .8 hours for the exact same job. Now it's not likely that the same technician would have worked on your car each visit, and regular maintenance is probably done quick lube fashion so what exactly did the last technician do wrong to deserve getting his/her pay docked?

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,197
    And some people wonder why dealer techs hate doing warranty work!
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,755
    Yep. Somehow it has to change if the consumers are to get the full value of their vehicle especially when a warranty issue does arise. As it stands right now its nothing more than a game that has one loser and everyone else as winners when it the tech gets it right the first time, and it is the tech that is the sole loser. But when the tech fails to get it right the first time not only do more people get to join the list of the losers, the techs get it even worse when he/she isn't paid anything at all because now it is a "comeback".

    Under the flat rate system today the best that can happen once the car gets into the come-back category is that the tech now does get it right, the problem is solved and the customer is happy with the car. Then maybe the next couple of cars that the tech works on are customer pay and they subsidize the loss of income that the tech experienced for that previous repair. If not then those work hours are simply lost to the technician and that is just one of the reasons that there are so many ex-technicians and no one coming into the trade to replace the next one that leaves it.

    Typical consumerism considers that aspect of all of this to not be their problem and so it gets no attention. The genuine costs of this are making themselves known and you see it with every consumer who has had to go through multiple service visits to have an issue corrected. The consumer does recognize that as a problem when they have to take the car back, and back, and back. They also see the problem when the upsells of the services start piling on when the techs are forced to sell work or lose their jobs of they aren't producing enough income for the shop. All of the complaining and attention is going to the results of the real problem, instead of addressing the prime cause.
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