Eric Lai answers readers’ auto questions every week for Wheels.
Q: My friend bought a used 2008 Civic sedan from a Honda dealer in February 2012. The car was sold as “Certified” by the dealership. However, a few days after purchase there was an odd vibration at highway speed.
An inspection by an independent mechanic found the car was in poor condition. The engine oil and air filter needed changing, the tires on the car were expired and not safe for road use, and the alignment was off. My friend had those items fixed by the mechanic as she didn’t want to waste time to go back to the selling Honda dealer.
A few months later, the steering made noises when doing tight turns. We suspect it might be the steering rack. She’s now worried these components might soon fail. She’s become increasingly frustrated with these issues because the car was sold as being “Certified.” Is there anything she can do?
A: By “certified” I believe you’re referencing a “Honda Certified Used Vehicle” rather than the Ontario safety standards certification required for plate registration.
The latter only means a vehicle meets certain minimum standards on day of inspection. It is not a guarantee that the vehicle will not need repairs soon afterward. Incidentally, dirty engine oil and/or air filter are not part of the provincial safety inspection. Tires will fail if they don’t have minimum safe tread or are damaged (including age-cracks), but not on the basis of age alone. Alignment is not checked either.
As for a “Honda Certified Used Vehicle,” the automaker website states this means it has had a 100-point mechanical and appearance inspection by dealer mechanics prior to sale and includes the following benefits:
>6-year/120,000 km transferable powertrain Honda warranty coverage,
>Option to upgrade to a comprehensive Honda warranty at a reduced rate,
>CarProof Vehicle History Reportm,
>Warranty and Service History, including full documentation of the services performed to meet “certified pre-owned Honda” standards,
>7 days/1000 km exchange privilege and preferred financing options and terms through Honda Financial Services,
>Membership to the exclusive Owner’s website [www.myhonda.ca]
In this particular case, the buyer might, in fact, have created problems by having someone other than the dealer service the parts in question – thereby possibly voiding the Honda warranty on those components.
Though the reader states this point might be moot as the owner was reportedly declined warranty assistance as the “certified” used vehicle was beyond 120,000 km even at time of sale.
As information above is hearsay from a third-party (friend), YourBeef requested owner permission to investigate this matter with Honda Canada, but no such authorization was received.
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