2007 Honda Fit Long-Term Road Test


2007 Honda FIt Sport: Transmisison Trouble Trumped!

January 22, 2008

It's done. Again. Finally.

After one failed attempt, and 11 days out of service our Fit's finicky transmissionis fixed. For good. We hope.

Here's how it went down:

Day one: Drop off Fit. Complain about car still not going into reverse.

Day two: Receive call from service advisor, "We will need to open up the transmission to get to the bottom of this. Do you authorize this? It's $800. You'll only have to pay if the problem is not under warranty." "$800? US Dollars? Fine, fine. Do it." He said we'd get a call when he knew more. Just a few hours later we got the call. They'd found the problem. A bolt had fallen out of the shift-arm linkage. (That could explain the noise Scott Jacobs heard that faithful day in the parking lot.) They said it must have been loose from the factory as this piece coming loose by itself was near-impossible.

The loose fork damaged the reverse gear, reverse idler gear, first and second-gear synchros, synchro springs, synchronizing friction damper, and shift fork was heavily worn. The reverse gear assembly and synchro rings would need replacing.

Parts for the Fit's transmission are scarce and had to be shipped in from various distribution centers/dealers across the country. The parts would be in and the car repaired in 8 more days.

Days 3-8: No contact.

Day 8: I initiated contact. It took a few minutes for them to get on the ball. Nobody had my paperwork handy or could remember what Fit I had brought in. When they finally figured it out, I got some bad news; They needed another part that would be in same-day, and installed. Our advisor told me the car wouldn't be ready until early on the morning of day 9.

I nearly lost my cool there, but another few hours wasn't going to hurt anything. Even so, I let them know I wasn't thrilled.

Day 9: No contact until 3pm when I, again, initiated. Still not done. This time I lost my cool. 10 solid minutes of argument followed. Words like "unprofessional," "unacceptable," and "sloppy" were thrown around. More than once I asked him if this was a joke. Was I on some low-budget automotive-industry version of Punked?

Then he said he'd have to call me back and hung up.

Less than five minutes later the Service and Parts manager of Santa Monica Honda called. The manager, as it turns out, was actually helpful. He had a full scope of the issue and let us know that they needed to have Honda's corporate service people in to have a go at this-- they hadn't taken apart a fit transmission before-- and that they'd broken a part the day prior and that's why the repair needed an extra few days. Again, it turns out parts for this transmission are not easy to find. He was apologetic, cool and collected, clearly someone who's used to being yelled at. I let him know that above all our problem was in the complete lack of communication from them. He promised to call me by noon. I made a few side-bets on that one.

Day 10: The call came at 10:30am, the Fit was finished and we could pick it up at any point during the day.

When I finally got the dealership everything was lined up and ready to go. In and out in less than five minutes with no charge. My service advisor came over to apologize again for the mishaps and mishandling. While it doesn't excuse what happened, the service dept. there was truly bothered that a service had gone so poorly. This is a stark contrast to the attitude of our Audi dealer. Getting into the car I noticed it wasn't vacuumed and they had tracked something into the cabin. It was a long 10 days and I didn't have any will left to complain again.

I tested the reverse engagement a few times before leaving the lot. It worked fine every time. The shifter also felt more solid and more precise than when it left. (Obviously.)

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assist @ 20,683 miles.

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