January 22, 2008
It's done. Again. Finally.
After one failed attempt, and 11 days out of service our Fit's finicky transmission is 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.
December 21, 2007
We just spent $607.23 to get our Fit back in working order. A standard 20,000-mile service cost us $143, with an additional $67 air filter and $120 cabin filter replacement at our request. The front rotors were also warped. To turn them down and replace the brake pads we spent another $265.
For those following the dirty transmission, the latest updates are now posted...
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Coordinator @ 20,463 miles
December 13, 2007
The Honda service advisor called to say our 2007 Honda Fit Sport is nearly ready for pick-up. Seems its failure to go into reverse issue was caused by dirty transmisson fluid. The fluid was changed under warranty, and they're now addressing the warped brake rotors.
We'll post a full service report after the Fit returns to our garage...
Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 20,463 miles
December 11, 2007
We dropped off our mono-course Fit at the dealership to take a look at the aforementioned reverse gear issue. The Service Advisor gave us a quizzical look.He hopped in and tried to shift into reverse. He tried revving, engaging disengaging, the roll.... nothing worked. He called over a mechanic and explained the situation. The mechanic got in, tried all those tricks plus extra muscle. After staring at the shifter for a bit he shut the car off.
The mechanic walked over and calmly stated, "Yeah, we can't get it in either. We'll take a look at it and let you know."
"Really? Hmm. Yes, please do."
While our Fit is in the loving care of the Honda mechanic, it'll also get it's 20k service and have its warped rotors looked at. We'll keep you posted.
September 07, 2007
Our long-term 2007 Honda Fit Sport is still fun to drive, but there are two small issues to address. First, the information center is telling us that oil life is down to five percent (I actually saw it switch from 10 to five percent as I was driving it home). Second, it has a noticeable vibration through both the steering wheel and the floor, though it subsides somewhat after about 20 miles of driving. Not sure if it's wheel balance, tire cupping or something else...
We'll have both items checked at the next service.
Karl Brauer, Editor in Chief, Edmunds.com
August 15, 2007
Yesterday as I was driving our sporty, little 2007 Honda Fit through Beverly Hills, the Range Rover driver in front of me decided he wanted to turn left but didn't get all the way into the left-turn lane. Rather, he straddled the solid white line. Naturally, I honked at him to let him know that he still had some ways to go before he was out of the way of the drivers behind him. But instead of the helpful meeep I expected, the Fit emitted a pretty loud honnnk... Someone once told me that Japanese cars tend to have higher, non-threatening horns because in Japan honking a horn means "Sorry, go ahead." And of course, in America it means the complete opposite, thus American cars have a louder, deeper sound.
I don't know if this is really true but I can see that being the case. Anyway, that's why I was surprised that our little Honda gave the Range Rover the business. Comes in handy when you're a small hatchback living in a city filled with SUVs.
BTW, the Fit is due for another tune-up. The yellow wrench has spoken. I already let Vehicle Testing Coordinator Mike Schmidt know and he said he'd take care of it next week.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 16,591 miles
June 25, 2007
A couple of our editors have commented previously about the relative lack of seat comfort in our Honda Fit. And it's true that without a telescoping steering wheel, the Fit can make one feel like he's driving a car originally meant for the Japanese market. (Erm, which it is...) Still, on a recent four-hour drive, I found the Fit pretty agreeable. Actual seat comfort for my body size (5'-10" and skinny) is quite good in my opinion...
To compensate for the lack of a telescoping wheel, I've come up with two slightly different driving positions. There's one for long-distance driving that has me a bit further away from the wheel than I'd like to maximize leg comfort, and another one for urban commuting that puts me closer in for a better arm positioning. I'm not defending the lack of a telescoping wheel and it'd be nice but prospective buyers shouldn't see it as a deal-breaker, either.
As an aside, I've noticed some minor pulsation/variation in the brakes when coming to stop. Looking back at previous posts, Erin also observed the pulsation in her drive to Oregon. It's not yet enough to warrant replacement/repair, but given Honda's less than stellar reputation for brake durability, the rise of a potentially warped rotor(s) is discouraging.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor, Edmunds.com, 15,136 miles
May 17, 2007
Our Fit is back from Honda of Santa Monica following its 10k mile maintenance. Service comprised of a tire rotation, tire pressure check, engine oil and filter change, fluid top-off, and standard visual inspections of brakes and moving parts.
We spent $165.37 for the complete service. Labor alone was $135. Had I done this at home on my own Fit I'm fairly confident the work could be completed in under an hour - - with a sandwich break in the middle... Maybe I'm in the wrong field.
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Assistant - 10,823 miles
May 17, 2007
So I dropped off the Fit at Honda of Santa Monica today because the yellow wrench light appeared, and the guy there said that judging from the mileage it would actually get the 10,000-mile service not the 15,000-mile one that the Edmunds Maintenance Guide suggested. OK, that's fine. But when I got back to the office and looked at the work order, it said the preliminary estimate is $165, not $77 (as the guide noted). Apparently in addition to the 10,000-mile service, I was getting fixed up with 32 fluid ounces of something called ZMax "for new and used car improved break-in improved performance." Wha?
Mike, the Vehicle Testing Assistant, called the garage right away to make sure they took that off and reiterated that we just want the suggested manufacturer service maintenance and the guy said that he took it off... I can't help but wonder if that addition was a genuine mistake or if it was more sinister like thinking a "girl" wouldn't notice something like that? But, oh, I noticed.
Production Editor Caroline Pardilla at 10,823 miles
May 16, 2007
As I drove into the garage today I noticed that the little yellow wrench (aka "Service Soon") light came on near the fuel gauge. It had come on once before at about 5,000 miles. Now hitting past the 10,500 mark, I guess the Fit wants us to take it again. What a helpful and nonthreatening way to let you know... Checking the Edmunds maintenance guide, it looks like we are now up to the 15,000-mile service which requires that the air and cabin air filters be changed as well as the engine oil. Estimated cost is about $99.40. Master of Keys Mike Schmidt has already made an appointment for tomorrow so we'll see how close the estimated amount is to the final price.
Production Editor Caroline Pardilla
February 23, 2007
I am an idiot. I know, I know, I hear you're howls of protest but let me convince you - no, really you need convincing.
I just spent more money on one compact disc than it cost to service the Honda Fit. It's a long story but let's just say I wasn't intending to "win" the auction and now my Pay Pal account is $45 lighter...
If you must know it was for the Eric Martin Band . Gotta love the 80s.
In the past we've been surprised by how much the manufacturer recommended service can cost on some cars. Prices in excess of $150 are not uncommon. We just spent $72 on servicing the Hyundai Azera and that was a slightly discounted price. The Hyundai service did include a tire rotation while the Fit's service did not.
Total cost for the Fit's first service - $36.64. Inexpensive cars should have inexpensive service. Well done Honda.
We used Honda of Santa Monica and were very pleased. The car was ready earlier than promised and our service writer, Howard, did not keep us waiting at drop off or pick-up.
Brian Moody, Road Test Editor @ 5,582 miles.