By on January 3, 2020

2016 Honda Civic Sedan - Image: Honda

Letty writes:

My 2016 Honda Civic A/C compressor is not working. It is sadly not under warranty, but I heard that the compressor is a problem that Honda knows about but is not willing to recall. Will the compressor be recalled in the near future?

Sajeev answers:

No, or at least not quick enough for your tastes.

That’s because, as of August 9th, Honda finally issued a technical service bulletin (TSB 19-091, not a recall) for the A/C condenser: extending its warranty for 10 years. Condenser, not compressor.

There’s a (slim?) chance the condensor’s known issue subsequently introduced debris into the HVAC that also killed your compressor, but Honda may take years to issue a similar TSB. Or perhaps my GoogleFu didn’t work and that TSB already landed. Or it’s in the works, but I am not holding my breath on this. 

Time to ask your local Honda dealer, they will know better than anyone else. Visit when they aren’t too busy (i.e not mornings and weekends), ask super nicely and you might eventually get a goodwill repair out of it. Good luck!

Bonus!  A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:

Let’s be clear about one thing, this ain’t just a Honda thing: every manufacturer-issued TSB authorizing a warranty extension is done to mitigate risks and keep customers loyal. Sometimes it’s done to avoid a full blown product recall, but don’t take my word for it. Since Honda’s A/C isn’t a safety issue, perhaps this isn’t a big deal.  Or not…but no matter what, this ain’t just a Honda thing. 

[Image: Honda]

Send your queries to [email protected]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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26 Comments on “Piston Slap: Compressed about Condensed Non-Recalls?...”

  • avatar

    Wait for it…

    “In a memo sent to dealers, Honda’s manager of auto campaigns and recalls, Brad Ortloff, said oil in these engines could be diluted because of software settings or potential hardware failures. Some vehicles could experience “lack of power,” leading to cylinder misfires or engine noise.” Consumer Reports 

    “But if the vehicles are stalling, as some owners have reported, this is a safety issue and Honda should conduct an official recall, which doesn’t expire.” Consumer Reports 

  • avatar

    These new modern AC systems that run very small charge levels seem to really be hard on knew light duty compressors. They are good for efficiency, but not great for durability. My 2011 Impreza had it’s compressor seize at 39 months. I unplugged the pressure switch since I knew I was returning the vehicle in a few months. Moral of the story, don’t lease vehicles that will be outside of warranty for even a tiny bit of time.

  • avatar

    And you thought you are getting a “great car” – Honda? Honda make illusion, you get delusion.

    • 0 avatar
      Gardiner Westbound

      Honda is demonstrating the slippery behaviour that ran other automakers into the ground. It’s not going unnoticed. My son purchased a Toyota RAV4 to avoid the oil contamination issues with Honda “Earth Dreams” direct injection turbocharged engines.

      • 0 avatar

        Gardiner – I too recently purchased a 2020 RAV4 (Hybrid) over a CR-V. I did LOVE the CR-V’s driver seat — most comfortable throne this side of a lux Volvo — but Honda’s 1.5L turbo issue was enough to tip the scales in favor of the Toyota for me, at least.

  • avatar

    Bad AC compressors. Wonky transmissions. Oil and fuel mixing on the turbo engines. The last issue being met largely with a shrug. Battery failures on the hybrid Civics – also basically met with a shrug.

    This ain’t your father’s Honda.

    • 0 avatar

      Not impressed with the(Passport)A/C in this Honda. Even right at the vent, the air coming out is cool on the hand, not cold. By the time it gets to a strapped-in passenger’s body, it’s not doing a whole lot of work. More than once I’ve checked to see if I’d inadvertently turned the A/C off. Nope, always on. Just not particularly effective.” — Josh Sadlier, Director, Content Strategy-Edmunds

    • 0 avatar

      My father’s Honda would have rusted into dust in 4 years.

      I have never understood the love for these cars. I get the Toyota reliability thing, but Honda has never seemed to be anywhere near as good.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    “ This ain’t your father’s Honda”

    Sad but true.

    My son in law has an identical Civic, and also has experienced A/C problems.

  • avatar

    Chevy didn’t issue a TSB on my 1999 Silverado. Instead they gave me a lifetime guarantee on it, which I used twice. When Audi replaced my AC under a TSB, they replaced it with a different brand. Never had problems with it after that.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Perhaps the aftermarket product(s) will fix this.

    My one and only experience with Honda (new 05 lemon Odyssey) is that they are arrogant and just don’t care. They believe their ~50-year reputation for quality won’t be harmed by *your* little problems.

    • 0 avatar

      This is the same attitude I’ve felt every time I’ve set foot in a Honda dealership. As if I should feel privileged to have the opportunity to pay sticker (plus $1000 for pinstriping) for one of their mediocre products. Needless to say, I’ve never taken them up on that offer.

      It makes me wonder how long they can keep this up. Even GM took 40 years to fall completely.

  • avatar

    In this case, the Condenser supplier, Keihin did not manufacture to proper spec. It is likely Honda has come to an agreement with the supplier to be compensated, is why they are offering extended warranty. The compressor is made by Mahle.

    • 0 avatar

      I didn’t realize how bad things had gotten. Mahle? Hondas made out of the same rubbish as BMWs? Is Toyota keeping the good Denso stuff for themselves?

  • avatar

    I had a compressor failure on my 2003 Accord when it was about 7 years old. The dealer who had serviced it for ALL of its 7 years wanted $1800 to replace it. My local shop did the job with OEM parts for $800. Overpriced and under manufactured will be their new mantra. I too was looking at a new CR-V, but the oil issues with the 1.5T frightened me off.

  • avatar

    As a long time Honda guy, would’ve never thought I’d dodge a bullet by buying a Hyundai instead of a Honda. (AC compressors, oil dilution, short warranty)

    And to think my Elantra Sport was $5K less than a Civic Si. You may (or may not) get all of the money back with resale, but I’d prefer to keep the money up front.

  • avatar

    This is another example of a “Secret Warranty” situation beyond normal coverage. It seems that certain manufacturers hate to issue recalls because of cost and bad publicity. If a customer complains, they will cover it. Of course, they have to complain to a dealer.

  • avatar
    Polka King

    Another Honda problem.

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