Heading back to the Honda Dealer, wish me luck!

Well, I have an appointment set up with the Honda dealer again tomorrow.  Things could get ugly.  I have a Honda Civic that is just shy of 15 years old.  I’ve been in the ‘shopping for a new car’ status for the last few years but just can’t bring myself to part with a car that works perfectly well, is paid off, and doesn’t have any serious blemishes. 

While shopping for Christmas presents in mid-December, I noticed that the carpet in my trunk was wet…not good.  Iwaited through the holidays and, just after Christmas, decided to pull things open to look around a bit more.  There was a few inches of water in my spare tire well.  I was able to clear out the water and decided that, rather than spend time speculating and investigating the cause, I’d just take it into the dealership since they’d certainly be able to narrow things down quickly and give me an estimate for repairs.  I was prepared to pay the $120 fee for them to diagnose the problem, I was worried about mold and whatnot so dealing with it rapidly greatly appealed to me.

I took the car into the dealership in the morning, before work and dropped it off.  I got a call later that afternoon saying that several seals around the trunk were shot and needed to be replaced.  The tail light seals on the inner and outer tail lights needed to be replaced as well as the trunk seal.  Multiple seals didn’t sound promising but, I thought, they’re just seals right? How much can it be?

The estimate was for something like $550.  It was crazy.  I told them not to do anything and that I’d give them a call back in a bit.  I consulted with a few other folks and called them back a few minutes later.  The parts?  $140.  I ordered the parts and picked up the car that night.  Total damage?  About $260 and, a few days later, I was the proud owner of 5 pieces of foam and rubber.  Just for reference (and completely unrelated), the average annual income per capita in Ethiopia is $206, so I spent 15 months of an Ethiopian’s income on the gaskets.

Once I had the parts, I had to wait a few weeks until I had a weekend that wasn’t raining so I could install the seals and gaskets.  I replaced the tail light seals first as they were the most likely culprit.   They didn’t seem to fix the problem.  I then replaced the trunk seal…no luck either.

So, thats where I am today.  I still have large amounts of water in my trunk after a good Seattle rain.  I’m taking the car back to the dealership tomorrow, hoping they can re-‘diagnose’ the problem without trying to charge me another $120 in labor considering that it appears they either misdiagnosed or only partially diagnosed it the first time.   If they do find a problem, I can only imagine how much the new estimate will be.

It is really not worth spending hundreds of dollars to fix this on a 13 year old car.  Unfortunately, it seems the dealer has no concept of that so I get to battle it out tomorrow morning…bright and early.