TL;DR - Service dept. gets an F-.
***WORST SERVICE DEPT. EXPERIENCE EVER***
I scheduled an appt. to get a check engine light checked out on my 2008 Honda Accord EX-L V6 on 2/2/13. The car was purchased 6 months prior at Sierra Honda aka Sierra Autocars, Inc. (check the BBB) as a Honda Certified Used Car and came with a 12 month/12k mi non-powertrain (in addition to the standard powertrain) warranty (Covered for 1 year or 12,000 miles (whichever comes first) from the Honda Certified Used Cars purchase date. Steering. Suspension. Electrical. Air Conditioning. Heating and Cooling. Fuel System. Switches. Audio Repairs (Honda audio systems only) and Sensors http://automobiles.honda… ).
I was driving on Friday and the check engine started flashing and the VSC light came on. The car started hesitating badly and my instrument panel was lit up like a Christmas tree. A quick search online showed that this was a common problem on 2008 V6 Accords and it was due to the gas saving ECO mode that shuts down 3 cylinders when not needed. This "feature" causes the plugs to foul much earlier than normal. The problem is usually fixed by replacing the spark plugs, coil, and having the ECU reflashed with an update.
I got to the service center and was "helped" by Sang Cao. He stated that I had to pay $103 to have the tech. diagnose the problem and if the part that needs replacing is covered by the warranty, then the diagnosis charge would be waived and the car repaired under warranty. Great! That's fair and completely reasonable. But, the problem began when he said my warranty only covers engine, transmission, and sensors. Likely, anything they find (I specifically mentioned electrical) will not be covered under warranty. This is when the problems began. I told him about the 12/12 non-powertrain warranty and he said he's never heard of it. He showed me his computer screen and said I only had a powertrain warranty. He brought his two buddies over who have "never heard of any 12/12 warranty" and that used cars only covered engine, transmission, and sensors. Sang then told me to go discuss my warranty issue with the finance manager.
So, I walked 100 feet over to the finance manager who looked up my purchase on his computer. He verified that it was a certified pre-owned purchase with the 12/12 warranty and that any issues should be covered. In fact, he pulled up the exact same screen as Sang and said "look, it says your 12/12 warranty expires in July 2013." He wondered whether Sang Cao was new and discussed my issue with another manager. Also, I just happened to have all the warranty manuals describing in detail the 12/12 non-powertrain coverage in my car. Next, this other sales manager and I went back to Sang to clarify my warranty coverage. Incredibly, Sang and the manager actually sat there arguing for a solid 2 minutes about the warranty. Sang kept insisting he's never heard of this warranty and nothing except the power train is covered. Sang was incredibly disrespectful to this older gentleman. A few minutes later, the service manager (I'm assuming she was the service manager because she had her own office right next to where they were arguing) came out and tried to back pedal stating that "certain things aren't covered." Therein lies the whole issue. Sang previously stated that only the engine, transmission, and sensors were covered. My understanding (along with Honda's website, the finance manager, and my warranty documents) is that everything listed above as non-powertrain were covered. She tried to bring up an example of something that "may not be covered," but the whole issue was Sang's description of my scope of warranty coverage.
After a few minutes of this nonsense we decided to move forward to diagnose the problem with the understanding that I now had coverage beyond my engine, transmission, and sensors. Two hours later, Sang came back and stated that he found one foul plug (surprise!). He asked whether I wanted to replace all 6 under warranty or just the one. I told him I'd like to replace them all since they were going in anyways. Also, I asked about the ECU reflash since it was mentioned online. He said he's never heard of reflashing an ECU and that he's never had to do that before. He suggested my fouled plugs were due to a dirty injection system and that I should clean my EFI system for $130 (I really didn't see this up-sell coming). I declined and just asked for the warranty replacement on all the plugs.
3 hours later I received my invoice for $0. Great! The service department changed 3 plugs (not 6 as mentioned and thank god I didn't just change 1) AND REFLASHED MY ECU! There was a service bulletin that covered this exact problem. When I asked Sang why they only changed 3 instead of 6 plugs, he stated "yeah, they only changed 3, like I said."
Fail! I should've heeded all of Yelp's terrible reviews about this service dept. Avoid Sang Cao and the service dept. at all cost