2007 Honda Civic Long-Term Road Test

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2007 Honda Civic GX: Trials and Tribulations

February 22, 2008

The Civic GX works fine, but there are some frustrations when you're driving a car that requires specially trained repair people and special fueling equipment that comes from a sole source.

Mostly it boils down to time spent waiting.

Two cases in point are the ongoing saga of our Phill home natural gas fueling unit, and a recent recall to install a thermal insulator between the fuel tank and the back seat.

We ordered, and paid for, the Phill just before the end of the year and were told by the Canadian manufacturer, FuelMaker Corp., that holiday season delays meant it would be a few weeks before work would start on the unit. We waited.

On Jan. 31 we got an e-mail letting us know that the Phill finally was being shipped to the only installer in our area, a Southern California plumbing company called Dr. Drain.

We waited.

It was supposed to take five to seven working days to get the unit from FuelMaker to the good doctor. That should have had the Pill arriving by Feb. 12, so installation was tentatively set for Feb. 15. Dr. Drain told us on Feb. 19 that the thing had just landed at his shop.

We're still waiting, with Feb. 26 the new tentative installation date. 

As for the recall, well, we got the notice back on Dec. 17, nicely worded so as not to scare us, but basically cautioning that if we had a big fire in the rear seating area of the GX, the heat could cause the fuel tank to make like a rocket.

We couldn't do anything right away, though, because Honda told us that the part needed to fix things wasn't available yet.

We waited.

A letter arrived in mid January telling us the fix-it part was now available. (Good thing no one tried to have a backseat barbecue in the interim).

Mike Magrath, Edmunds' vehicle testing assistant, called a local Honda dealer to order the part.

Then we waited.

About two weeks later, the dealer's parts department called to say the part had arrived. So Magrath called the service department to schedule an appointment and was told that, sorry, that dealership wasn't authorized to work on the GX fuel system, which required specially trained service personnel.

No explanation was offered as to why they didn't tell us that when we ordered the part, Magrath says, adding that he encountered the same disconnect between parts and service (yes, we can order the part, no, we can't install it) at another area dealership before being told there was only one in all of the sprawling Los Angeles-Orange County area authorized to do the repair.

We finally got the fix done on Feb.8 and are happy to report that a) the work was done quickly and, so far as we know, properly, and b) the fuel tank is still attached to the car.

John O'Dell, Senior Editor, Green Car Advisor @ 11,822 miles

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