Piston Slap: Me Thinks It's Undiluted BS!

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap me thinks it s undiluted bs

Fernando writes:

I own a 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid. At exactly 7 years and 7 months, and 68k miles, the battery quit. Being well within Honda’s 8 year, 80k miles warranty, the dealership replaced it fully free of charge. The vehicle is working like a charm again. Other than this mishap, it has been completely trouble-free, and does its job as a good commuter car perfectly.

So……where is the rub, you ask?

Well, when I queried the service manager about the warranty for the new battery pack, he told me until the vehicle reaches 8 years, which is only 5 months away. Is this BS? Or is it reasonable?

Me thinks it’s undiluted BS.

Sajeev answers:

Usually, usually, replacement OEM parts have a modest warranty that’s significantly shorter than the original coverage for a new vehicle. It is usually 1 year. This aftermarket vendor provides the usual 1 year warranty of replacement battery packs, too.

But if the service manager said there is no warranty after 8 year/80k miles, he probably knows better than all of us. I Googled to find the warranty duration of the OEM, Genuine Honda replacement battery packs and found…nothing. Not on the Hybrid forums, not on Honda forums. Then again, I won’t be depressed if someone hyperlinks their way to beating me at my game.

So what’s the final analysis? The warranty period is moot, OEM replacement parts are rarely warranted for longer than a year. And that battery pack will last longer than a year: making the warranty pointless. Probably.

So who cares?

Bonus! A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:

Now forget about fancy-pants Hybrid parts we rarely encounter. Many aftermarket (not OEM) auto parts are available with a lifetime warranty. This is good and bad. The quality of lifetime replacement parts has improved in the past decade, if you shop wisely. My first and secondhand experiences with “Platinum” branded alternators from O’Reillys rings true. You can still buy the “junk” alternator with the lifetime warranty, but for a mere $20-ish more…why would you?

If you like to work on your car and know that some replacement parts are better with the lifetime warranty because you will need a replacement 10+ years from now, avoid the OEM manufacturer part and go lifetime. I’ve cashed in several times (alternators, suspension wear items, ignition parts) thanks to my lifetime warranty paperwork, arriving at the store with 10-12 year old receipts. The staff gladly accepts them, sometimes even complimenting me for being such a tightwad!

Well, at least it felt like a compliment…hmm!

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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2 of 82 comments
  • Commando Commando on May 28, 2013

    This kills me. He gets another new battery pack that may last another 8 years after almost 8 years on the first one, and he calls "B.S."? Do the math. 8+8=16!!!! It ain't on paper but, jeeze, quit while the odds are in your favor. Never mind the lunacy of the economics of buying a hybrid in the first place. Pal, you hit the Hybrid Lottery. Take your winnings and kwitcherbitchin.

  • Raph Raph on May 30, 2013

    Good ol' pro-rated warranties. Why don't people get this? It prevents somebody from receiving product into perpetuity. When I used to be a tire guy, people asked this all the time after receiving a replacement tire. In some instances like Fernando they felt they were somehow getting ripped off when I pointed out that it was a pro-rated warranty.

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