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Dealership Misdiagnosed Problem With Ignition Coil

  #1  
Old 01-08-2019, 08:23 PM
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Exclamation Dealership Misdiagnosed Problem With Ignition Coil

Hello, I was wondering if anyone can give me some advice/opinions on my situation. I don't know much about cars or auto repair fees. I have a 2009 Honda Fit Sport (purchased used, 3 years ago).

Last week, my car slowed down suddenly on the road and could not accelerate over 20-40 km. The check engine light came on and the engine seemed to be struggling. I also felt like something was kicking or jerking the back of my driver's seat. That same night, I dropped the car off at the local Honda dealer...by then the car was driving somewhat normally and the check engine light was no longer on. Honda ran a diagnostic and said they couldn't find anything other than the codes possibly indicating a dirty throttle body, so the cleaned it (Cost of $370, including diagnostics).

Fast forward to this week...the same problem occurred as I was driving home from work. I called Honda again and they advised I tow the car in. This time, the check engine light stayed on.... they ran a diagnostic again and said that the ignition coil needs to be replaced, as well as a bolt that they broke. Total cost ($650, including diagnostic!) So overall, I paid for a misdiagnosed issue...and will be paying for diagnosis twice. They claim that since the same code didn't show up this time, they charge for diagnosis again.

So overall, I am paying approx $1020 for these repairs, one of which was not a fix for the initial problem.I feel ripped off by the entire experience. Do you feel that I should at least NOT have to pay for the second diagnosis? Considering they were wrong...even though it may have been an "honest" mistake, I was potentially put at risk driving a car that I had assumed was repaired. Also, has anyone else experienced a similar problem/symptoms with their Honda Fit?

UPDATE -- 01/13/2019: I got my vehicle back...it seems to be fine, but I am still worried that something could go wrong and don't fully trust the dealership. After I asked a couple of times, they went ahead and waived the second diagnostic fee, however, everything was still very costly. Thank you to everyone who offered their advice and suggestions!
 

Last edited by chillli; 01-13-2019 at 12:15 PM. Reason: Update
  #2  
Old 01-09-2019, 05:37 AM
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I seem to recall mine going into Limp mode once. Just restarted the car and it went away. Running fine now.
You would think they would give you a bit of a break on the diagnotics charge. Where are you located?

I am taking mine in tomorrow for its' annual oil and filter. Will tell them No I don't want their $200 service just to check everything including brakes and a tire rotation. I had my brakes done at my Dodge dealer -) and why would you want to rotate my snows?

I am getting a coolant flush and replacement as I have never had it done. Service manual does not give a time limit for this. I figure though after almost 10 years it is time.

Overall I am happy with my service at Kitchener Honda.
 
  #3  
Old 01-09-2019, 06:49 AM
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Chillli - Hard to tell what's happening without codes or being there but ......

Check-Engine-Light (CEL) and replacing "one" of the "four" ignition coils (one for each spark plug / one spark plug per cylinder) sounds like the dreaded "loose spark plug syndrome" to me. The dealer got me for a $50 diagnoses + $160 coil pack + $50 to install = $260 and the CEL came back on the next day. When I called the dealer about the CEL being back on again, they wanted to change out another coil pack ($160). That sort of dealer diagnosis would have caused me to change out all four coil packs ($$$) and that wasn't the real problem. The problem was that two spark plugs had worked themselves loose on cylinder #2 & #3 (center two cylinders).

Someone "independent" of the dealer needs to pull out the four coil packs and look at them and also check if the underlying spark plugs are tight in the engine. If any of the coil packs are "sooty" and smell of gasoline, that means the spark plug is loose and allowing that air / fuel mixture to escape the cylinder, not detonate properly, CEL comes on, and it should show up as a "misfire" code when they check the computer.

Again, this is only a guess but the loose spark plug issue occurred numerous times with numerous people, on numerous FITs spanning several production years. Just make sure everything is tight in that regard.

BTW, upon my initial dealer visit, I asked for the "old" coil pack and that when I started to put "two & two together" and eventually looked at the spark plugs on my own. I eventually removed the "new" coil pack the dealer put in, returned the original to the #2 cylinder, and have put on another 40,000 miles (have ~73,000 right now). You can see all of the soot build up on this one that the dealer changed out but the spark plug was loose. I cleaned it and I'm still using it without any issue. The coil packs are rarely a problem (at least no one here has ever made a fact-base case that the coil was actually bad versus just changing them to change them).
 
  #4  
Old 01-09-2019, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Black3sr View Post
I seem to recall mine going into Limp mode once. Just restarted the car and it went away. Running fine now.
You would think they would give you a bit of a break on the diagnotics charge. Where are you located?

I am taking mine in tomorrow for its' annual oil and filter. Will tell them No I don't want their $200 service just to check everything including brakes and a tire rotation. I had my brakes done at my Dodge dealer -) and why would you want to rotate my snows?

I am getting a coolant flush and replacement as I have never had it done. Service manual does not give a time limit for this. I figure though after almost 10 years it is time.

Overall I am happy with my service at Kitchener Honda.
That's nice to hear you are happy with the service you received. I'm actually near your location in southern Ontario, Canada. I agree, you'd think they'd give me a break!

 
  #5  
Old 01-09-2019, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by spike55_bmw View Post
Chillli - Hard to tell what's happening without codes or being there but ......

Check-Engine-Light (CEL) and replacing "one" of the "four" ignition coils (one for each spark plug / one spark plug per cylinder) sounds like the dreaded "loose spark plug syndrome" to me. The dealer got me for a $50 diagnoses + $160 coil pack + $50 to install = $260 and the CEL came back on the next day. When I called the dealer about the CEL being back on again, they wanted to change out another coil pack ($160). That sort of dealer diagnosis would have caused me to change out all four coil packs ($$$) and that wasn't the real problem. The problem was that two spark plugs had worked themselves loose on cylinder #2 & #3 (center two cylinders).

Someone "independent" of the dealer needs to pull out the four coil packs and look at them and also check if the underlying spark plugs are tight in the engine. If any of the coil packs are "sooty" and smell of gasoline, that means the spark plug is loose and allowing that air / fuel mixture to escape the cylinder, not detonate properly, CEL comes on, and it should show up as a "misfire" code when they check the computer.

Again, this is only a guess but the loose spark plug issue occurred numerous times with numerous people, on numerous FITs spanning several production years. Just make sure everything is tight in that regard.

BTW, upon my initial dealer visit, I asked for the "old" coil pack and that when I started to put "two & two together" and eventually looked at the spark plugs on my own. I eventually removed the "new" coil pack the dealer put in, returned the original to the #2 cylinder, and have put on another 40,000 miles (have ~73,000 right now). You can see all of the soot build up on this one that the dealer changed out but the spark plug was loose. I cleaned it and I'm still using it without any issue. The coil packs are rarely a problem (at least no one here has ever made a fact-base case that the coil was actually bad versus just changing them to change them).
Wow, thank you for your very informative post! Shouldn't the Honda dealer be aware of this "loose spark plugs" issue though? Should they not know on their own to check for this and fix the problem...?! I don't have money to keep throwing around at this car. I will NOT be happy if the CEL comes on again and I have to go through this process with them another time. You'd think a dealership would know and do better....

 
  #6  
Old 01-09-2019, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by spike55_bmw View Post
Chillli - Hard to tell what's happening without codes or being there but ......

Check-Engine-Light (CEL) and replacing "one" of the "four" ignition coils (one for each spark plug / one spark plug per cylinder) sounds like the dreaded "loose spark plug syndrome" to me. The dealer got me for a $50 diagnoses + $160 coil pack + $50 to install = $260 and the CEL came back on the next day. When I called the dealer about the CEL being back on again, they wanted to change out another coil pack ($160). That sort of dealer diagnosis would have caused me to change out all four coil packs ($$$) and that wasn't the real problem. The problem was that two spark plugs had worked themselves loose on cylinder #2 & #3 (center two cylinders).

Someone "independent" of the dealer needs to pull out the four coil packs and look at them and also check if the underlying spark plugs are tight in the engine. If any of the coil packs are "sooty" and smell of gasoline, that means the spark plug is loose and allowing that air / fuel mixture to escape the cylinder, not detonate properly, CEL comes on, and it should show up as a "misfire" code when they check the computer.

Again, this is only a guess but the loose spark plug issue occurred numerous times with numerous people, on numerous FITs spanning several production years. Just make sure everything is tight in that regard.

BTW, upon my initial dealer visit, I asked for the "old" coil pack and that when I started to put "two & two together" and eventually looked at the spark plugs on my own. I eventually removed the "new" coil pack the dealer put in, returned the original to the #2 cylinder, and have put on another 40,000 miles (have ~73,000 right now). You can see all of the soot build up on this one that the dealer changed out but the spark plug was loose. I cleaned it and I'm still using it without any issue. The coil packs are rarely a problem (at least no one here has ever made a fact-base case that the coil was actually bad versus just changing them to change them).
W

Wow! Thank you for your very informative post! Shouldn't the dealer be aware of this "loose spark plug" issue though? Or at least check that they are secure?! I can't keep throwing money at this car, and can't really afford to have someone else look at it now...I would NOT be happy if the CEL came on again! You'd think the dealership would know better and do better...
 
  #7  
Old 01-09-2019, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by spike55_bmw View Post
Chillli - Hard to tell what's happening without codes or being there but ......

Check-Engine-Light (CEL) and replacing "one" of the "four" ignition coils (one for each spark plug / one spark plug per cylinder) sounds like the dreaded "loose spark plug syndrome" to me. The dealer got me for a $50 diagnoses + $160 coil pack + $50 to install = $260 and the CEL came back on the next day. When I called the dealer about the CEL being back on again, they wanted to change out another coil pack ($160). That sort of dealer diagnosis would have caused me to change out all four coil packs ($$$) and that wasn't the real problem. The problem was that two spark plugs had worked themselves loose on cylinder #2 & #3 (center two cylinders).

Someone "independent" of the dealer needs to pull out the four coil packs and look at them and also check if the underlying spark plugs are tight in the engine. If any of the coil packs are "sooty" and smell of gasoline, that means the spark plug is loose and allowing that air / fuel mixture to escape the cylinder, not detonate properly, CEL comes on, and it should show up as a "misfire" code when they check the computer.

Again, this is only a guess but the loose spark plug issue occurred numerous times with numerous people, on numerous FITs spanning several production years. Just make sure everything is tight in that regard.

BTW, upon my initial dealer visit, I asked for the "old" coil pack and that when I started to put "two & two together" and eventually looked at the spark plugs on my own. I eventually removed the "new" coil pack the dealer put in, returned the original to the #2 cylinder, and have put on another 40,000 miles (have ~73,000 right now). You can see all of the soot build up on this one that the dealer changed out but the spark plug was loose. I cleaned it and I'm still using it without any issue. The coil packs are rarely a problem (at least no one here has ever made a fact-base case that the coil was actually bad versus just changing them to change them).
Wow! Thank you for your very informative post! Shouldn't the dealer be aware of this "loose spark plug" issue though? Or at least check that they are secure?! I can't keep throwing money at this car, and can't really afford to have someone else look at it now...I would NOT be happy if the CEL came on again! You'd think the dealership would know better and do better..
 
  #8  
Old 01-09-2019, 08:01 AM
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spike55_bmw Wow! Thank you for your very informative post! Shouldn't the dealer be aware of this "loose spark plug" issue though? Or at least check that they are secure?! I can't keep throwing money at this car, and can't really afford to have someone else look at it now...I would NOT be happy if the CEL came on again! You'd think the dealership would know better and do better...

ETA: Also, what are some of the symptoms of a loose spark plug? Are they like what I described above? I literally felt like something was kicking the back of my seat.
 

Last edited by chillli; 01-09-2019 at 08:14 AM.
  #9  
Old 01-09-2019, 08:15 AM
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I hate to say this but years after this happened, I talked to a classmate (welding class at the local Vo-Tech) who worked at the same dealership. He mentioned that the "loose spark plug" was a "known issue" with FITs. So, either I was unlucky and got an uneducated mechanic "OR" the dealer was ready / willing / and felt able to take advantage of the situation. Again, my recommendation is to get an independent mechanic or DIY to look at the spark plugs just to eliminate that as a "possible" issue.
 
  #10  
Old 01-09-2019, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by spike55_bmw View Post
BTW, upon my initial dealer visit, I asked for the "old" coil pack and that when I started to put "two & two together" and eventually looked at the spark plugs on my own. I eventually removed the "new" coil pack the dealer put in, returned the original to the #2 cylinder, and have put on another 40,000 miles (have ~73,000 right now). You can see all of the soot build up on this one that the dealer changed out but the spark plug was loose. I cleaned it and I'm still using it without any issue. The coil packs are rarely a problem (at least no one here has ever made a fact-base case that the coil was actually bad versus just changing them to change them).
As someone who is currently dealing with this issue and trying to resolve everything for as little money as possible I want to add this. The coil packs don't go bad on their own, but in my case, the loose plug was emitting vapor and putting force on the coil pack. which I think is giving it some issue. for $40 on Amazon, I would advise replacing the coil pack if you had loose spark plugs leaking on them. I don't disagree with spike55_bmw , but I do fall in that category of people who change them to be cautious.

chillli The symptoms I experienced (aside from CEL, code P0303) was a small knock sound from the engine and the car would shake while driving from the engine misfiring. the shake would vary from mild, to extremely noticeable.
 
  #11  
Old 01-09-2019, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by spike55_bmw View Post
I hate to say this but years after this happened, I talked to a classmate (welding class at the local Vo-Tech) who worked at the same dealership. He mentioned that the "loose spark plug" was a "known issue" with FITs. So, either I was unlucky and got an uneducated mechanic "OR" the dealer was ready / willing / and felt able to take advantage of the situation. Again, my recommendation is to get an independent mechanic or DIY to look at the spark plugs just to eliminate that as a "8possible" issue.
Your post encouraged me to call the dealer. I asked them if they will be checking the spark plugs too and they assured me they will (not sure if they would've otherwise or if they even actually bothered too). I also spoke to them about the cost...they claimed they will waive the second diagnostic out of "goodwill", but it was the third time I asked them.

Overall, I'm just not impressed. I'm sure the cost is what is making me feel this way more than anything...along with the stress of dealing with car troubles. I'm kind of also losing faith in this Honda vehicle itself... considering many people have had simipas experiences
 

Last edited by chillli; 01-09-2019 at 10:17 AM.
  #12  
Old 01-09-2019, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnpaulX View Post
As someone who is currently dealing with this issue and trying to resolve everything for as little money as possible I want to add this. The coil packs don't go bad on their own, but in my case, the loose plug was emitting vapor and putting force on the coil pack. which I think is giving it some issue. for $40 on Amazon, I would advise replacing the coil pack if you had loose spark plugs leaking on them. I don't disagree with spike55_bmw , but I do fall in that category of people who change them to be cautious.

chillli The symptoms I experienced (aside from CEL, code P0303) was a small knock sound from the engine and the car would shake while driving from the engine misfiring. the shake would vary from mild, to extremely noticeable.
Judging by the symptoms others have experienced compared to mine, it does seem like I maybe have a different problem, or more than just loose spark plugs-- (that being the ignition coil issue...hopefully, since that's what they're fixing). I would hope they can tell me what would cause it to go bad in the first place. As for my symptoms, I couldn't accelerate over a certain low speed and the movement/kicking behind my seat was very noticeable and alarming. I haven't heard anyone else describe it this way.
 

Last edited by chillli; 01-09-2019 at 10:29 AM.
  #13  
Old 01-12-2019, 06:21 PM
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With this 1.5L it is common for cylinders 2 and 3 to have the spark plugs come loose.

Typically when you have a repeat of the same symptom in such a short amount of time or mileage, the dealer would waive the diagnostic fee as it's seen as a "return".

Typical Diagnosis goes as a Fault check. If you had Cylinder Misfire faults they should have Checked spark plug condition and gap.
Usually they'll move an ignition coil around to different cylinders and see if the fault migrates with the changed component.

It sounds like you 1st had someone with either NO misfire faults, or just a Lazy tech would did not duplicate it.
I would certainly check your spark plug torque and condition as if that plug looses up it will melt your ignition coil w/ the leaking combustion chamber
 
  #14  
Old 01-13-2019, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by chillli View Post
Hello, I was wondering if anyone can give me some advice/opinions on my situation. I don't know much about cars or auto repair fees. I have a 2009 Honda Fit Sport (purchased used, 3 years ago).

Last week, my car slowed down suddenly on the road and could not accelerate over 20-40 km. The check engine light came on and the engine seemed to be struggling. I also felt like something was kicking or jerking the back of my driver's seat. That same night, I dropped the car off at the local Honda dealer...by then the car was driving somewhat normally and the check engine light was no longer on. Honda ran a diagnostic and said they couldn't find anything other than the codes possibly indicating a dirty throttle body, so the cleaned it (Cost of $370, including diagnostics).

Fast forward to this week...the same problem occurred as I was driving home from work. I called Honda again and they advised I tow the car in. This time, the check engine light stayed on.... they ran a diagnostic again and said that the ignition coil needs to be replaced, as well as a bolt that they broke. Total cost ($650, including diagnostic!) So overall, I paid for a misdiagnosed issue...and will be paying for diagnosis twice. They claim that since the same code didn't show up this time, they charge for diagnosis again.

So overall, I am paying approx $1020 for these repairs, one of which was not a fix for the initial problem.I feel ripped off by the entire experience. Do you feel that I should at least NOT have to pay for the second diagnosis? Considering they were wrong...even though it may have been an "honest" mistake, I was potentially put at risk driving a car that I had assumed was repaired. Also, has anyone else experienced a similar problem/symptoms with their Honda Fit?
Checkin plugs and drained oil for anomalies is always the go to when you dont know what the hell ​​​​​​ i experienced very similar symptoms in a 91 previa. I'd run through a deep puddle and gotten water into the distributor. Again when for some reason the coil wire came loose. Pulling all 4 spark plugs to inspect them will tell a lot. Oil will show mechanical wear. You could also drain and inspect the tranny fluid (has it been changed before/how often?) you can always post pics up of the plugs or just google i dunno. Spark plug coloration or somethin. If all 4 are lean, itll tell you your prob is behind the coils. Specifics would be coils, plugs, stuff goin on with the cylinder, ect. Based on the lurching id guess ignition. id be pissed at the dealer charging me and not resolving the issue. Did you agree to the specific services they provided prior to their performing them? Dunno about where you live but here in cali its illegal for em to do work without approval for specific services. But its after the fact now. jesus.. a grand for no results. That works easy as shit too, but thats dealerships for you. Near 400 to clean a tb.. coils are expensive though, but id want my damn money back or it fixed subtracting the money spent prior from the cost of the new service.

aint even have the courtesy to give you a reach around.
 
  #15  
Old 01-13-2019, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Pyts View Post
Checkin plugs and drained oil for anomalies is always the go to when you dont know what the hell ​​​​​​ i experienced very similar symptoms in a 91 previa. I'd run through a deep puddle and gotten water into the distributor. Again when for some reason the coil wire came loose. Pulling all 4 spark plugs to inspect them will tell a lot. Oil will show mechanical wear. You could also drain and inspect the tranny fluid (has it been changed before/how often?) you can always post pics up of the plugs or just google i dunno. Spark plug coloration or somethin. If all 4 are lean, itll tell you your prob is behind the coils. Specifics would be coils, plugs, stuff goin on with the cylinder, ect. Based on the lurching id guess ignition. id be pissed at the dealer charging me and not resolving the issue. Did you agree to the specific services they provided prior to their performing them? Dunno about where you live but here in cali its illegal for em to do work without approval for specific services. But its after the fact now. jesus.. a grand for no results. That works easy as shit too, but thats dealerships for you. Near 400 to clean a tb.. coils are expensive though, but id want my damn money back or it fixed subtracting the money spent prior from the cost of the new service.

aint even have the courtesy to give you a reach around.
Unfortunately, I wouldn't be able to any of what you described on my own. Also, an update - I received my vehicle back after they replaced the ignition coil. After asking a few times, they did waive the second diagnostic fee....everything still cost me a lot for this "fix" though...just $100 less than a grand.

 
  #16  
Old 01-13-2019, 12:09 PM
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Pyts Unfortunately, I wouldn't be able to do what you suggested on my own. I'm hoping the dealership went through those steps though. I did approve of them to clean the throttle body the first time, because they had told me that they couldn't see anything wrong other than the codes indicating the throttle body was dirty. Therefore, they (and I, believing that they knew what they were doing), assumed that that's what the problem was. The second time, they said the codes shown something else. I was able to get the second diagnostic fee waived after asking, but overall it still cost me a lot and just $100 less of a grand!!
 

Last edited by chillli; 01-13-2019 at 12:13 PM.
  #17  
Old 01-14-2019, 02:19 AM
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Its a fight not worth picking I suppose, but it still bugs that you had to pay for the first service. I got my start in automotive because I grew up broke and I'm still broke books are cheaper than technicians.. But not everyone has the tools and time. I'd send you the procedures from the manual if it interests you. Or if you're near san diego/north county, hah. Chime in here if your problem comes back.
​​​​
 
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