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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Newbie, here. Long-winded post coming with lots of info and some questions:

Mrs. starfailure and I just purchased a 2008 EX-L with 33k miles from an independent dealer in Northern VA. We live in PA, but found more availability & competition further south.
We settled on this particular Odyssey because it was clean, had low mileage, April inspection and the price was pretty good ($21,100.) The CarFax indicates a rear-impact collision about two years ago and the dealer provided [what they said was] a photo of the damage - a dented, rear passenger-side bumper. There were some random scratches here, but nothing too alarming. The front bumper looked a little mis-aligned and loose, but they had it tightened up.
Also, there some wear on the edge of the driver seat. The color had worn off and it looked like it had just been rubbed a lot. We figured we'd just have it reconditioned and colored when we got home.
An auto chain performed the pre-purchase inspection and nothing serious was noted. We drove back to PA and all was fine.

Wife made an appt. at a local Honda dealer to flush transmission fluid, change oil, clear a TPMS light, etc. and have them give a general look-over. Of course, they come back saying we need new struts, brakes, rotors, etc. But they also said it looked like the car had been "wrecked." The front bumper was loose because some of the snaps had broken. The bumper, itself, looks to be in great shape cosmetically -- as in, there's no obvious evidence of a collision or whatever. The bottom is a little roughed up, but that seems normal. However, there is some gapping under the headlamps and the corners don't line up very well.There seem to be several clips/pins missing in various spots and the bumper edges (near the wheel-wells) look to be riveted in place.

Meanwhile, the driver-side fender liner is a little beat up and has some cracking. The passenger-side fender liner has a large cut-out near the front (can someone explain this?) and the lower splash shield is cracked and scraped up.

I've notified the dealer and voiced our displeasure/disappointment, but don't expect to hear much, if anything, back from them. It would run about $1000 to replace the liners, splash guard, bumper and paint. Obviously, this is hard to stomach since we just bought the vehicle.

So now, we're just trying to assess (or guess) what the extent of damage might have been.
I did check the VINs on the fenders, doors, hood, hatch and all are original. I'm guessing the bumpers don't have stickers and I'm all but certain the rear is a replacement based on the accident that was reported. The front bumper is the one I'm wondering about.

Anyone have any potential insight here? As in, why would a bumper be riveted on but not look like it's hit anything? Why would the p-side fender liner have a large hole cut in it? Is there anything else I could look at/investigate that might help us figure out what we're dealing with here?


Another issue I could use some help on:
A couple days ago, when it rained, we recognized that the driver-side front door did not shut tightly and water could seep in, drip down the inside of the door and eventually onto the driver seat. So, we think that's why the seat cushion is worn.

Why would the front door not close tightly? How do you adjust it? I removed that latch plate hoping I could just slide it in a bit, but no dice.
It appears that the door has done this for a good while -- long enough to wear the leather on the seat, at least. In addition, there is some evidence of moisture on the interior frame of the door (tiny rust spots.) The passenger-side door is better, but still not as tight as I think it should be.

Thanks for the help.
 

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I don't know much about this but I have seen stories on the news about corrupt independent auto dealers who buy vehicles at auction that are disclosed as have been in a major wreck and they then don't disclose this to the buyer. The particular news show I saw the dealer even stated that there cars were all wreck free even though they knew about the wrecks at auction.

The kicker is that Carfax doesn't disclose the wrecks that are disclosed at auction. The problem with carfax is it requires whatever shop that did the work to log the repair. If a shady shop did the repair then most likely it wouldn't show up in Carfax. I would do an autocheck on your van. Not sure if that will show anything but it would be worth the peace of mind to me. Based on the info about the mileage and year of the van you posted the price almost seems too good to be true. If the doors are really misaligned that bad it seems to me that it was involved in a front end collision. Perhaps the bumper is from another van. I do know that some insurance companies will use second hand parts to fix a collision in some cases if they can find them off of a vehicle that is a color match and the part has no damage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the suggestion. I'll take a loot at the autocheck and see if there is any new information.

If not, what's the possibility that the (minor?) front-end damage could have been a result of the reported rear-impact collision? Like, maybe it was knocked into a curb or something? How hard would the vehicle have to be hit for the door(s) to become misaligned anyway?
 

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Rivits and missing fasteners do point to someone removing bumper and the reassembling, and those guy in body shops lose stuff and then use what they have at hand to reassemble. I'd get a second opinion at a trusted body shop, then possibly a lawyer. Although they did disclose it was in "an accident" so you may not have any legal legs to stand on. At the least the dealer could offer to correct the stuff and get door to seal and then you both walk away, as it maybe fine. But a frame machine check and wheel alignment check would say a lot.
 

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For the door to be misaligned that bad, there had to have been frame damage (just speculation on my part). I think the Northern VA dealer pulled a fast one on you. They did disclose a minor accident and from what you are describing, it doesn't sound minor at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Another local body shop looked it over and advised I do whatever I can to return the vehicle. I'm going to swing back over later and get more explanation, take photos, notes, etc.

So, I called the dealer and told them I've received this recommendation. The sales guy I talked to [cordially] explained that he does not believe there was any major reconstruction. He said he can obtain a full/detailed report from Honda Financial(?) that outlines any body work/painting done prior to auction sale. He said this is common to prepare vehicles for auction. He also tried to assure me that the vehicle is mechanically sound and simply may have undergone minor repair/touch-ups. No airbag deployment is on record, either.

Hopefully, I can get this report prior to returning to the body shop to assist w/ any judgments.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Rivits and missing fasteners do point to someone removing bumper and the reassembling, and those guy in body shops lose stuff and then use what they have at hand to reassemble. I'd get a second opinion at a trusted body shop, then possibly a lawyer. Although they did disclose it was in "an accident" so you may not have any legal legs to stand on. At the least the dealer could offer to correct the stuff and get door to seal and then you both walk away, as it maybe fine. But a frame machine check and wheel alignment check would say a lot.
BTW, the alignment is fine on the car.
 

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So, I called the dealer and told them I've received this recommendation. The sales guy I talked to [cordially] explained that he does not believe there was any major reconstruction. He said he can obtain a full/detailed report from Honda Financial(?) that outlines any body work/painting done prior to auction sale. He said this is common to prepare vehicles for auction. He also tried to assure me that the vehicle is mechanically sound and simply may have undergone minor repair/touch-ups. No airbag deployment is on record, either.
I wouldn't necessarily trust the dealer in this instance. If they are a reputable dealer that might be one thing but if they are shady then they have nothing in their interest to disclose any damage to you. They basically are saying what they need to to get you out of their hair. From what it seems to me you got a second opinion and they said take it back. To me I would now be doing what I can to take it back. I would get the front end checked out for frame damage/etc... If they can prove that and the dealer didn't disclose there was any damage to the front of the car you might be able to get your money back but it could prove difficult.

Did the dealer that told you to take it back verify that there was no airbag deployment or the frame was bent? I would ask more questions about specifically why you should take it back and ask them their opinion on what happened to the van to put it into the state it is in.

I think it is possible to have the rear end collision bump the car in front or something and they fixed that when they fixed the rear end. I do think if the doors are misaligned due to an accident it would have to be a pretty severe accident in my opinion.
 

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^ +1.

I suspect there's more to the van's story than the dealer is disclosing (or even aware of) with this one. If it were me, I'd take all necessary actions to return this one for full refund asap. You don't want to be stuck with a lemon that may risk the safety and well-being of you and your family.
 

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Is the van a "Certified Honda?" Did the dealer give a 30 or 90 day warranty when you purchased the car? The van only has 33,000 miles, it should still be under factory warranty. If you aren't happy with it, I would try to return the vehicle. If the dealer gives you a hard time, contact the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office for help. The bottom of the front bumper may be roughed up due to running up on parking blocks. The fronts of Odys sit low and you have to be careful to not hit them. The hole in the passenger fender wheel well may be for easy access to remove the oil filter during oil changes??? This is a guess.
 

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I know you are busy trying to sort all these concerns right now, but if you have a minute, post some pics so we can give you our .02 of what you have on hand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm hoping to talk to the owner/manager of the dealership today in effort to come to a return agreement. I'm willing to concede a few hundred dollars, at this point.

It was sold as-is and they told us the Honda B2B warranty had a couple months remaining. (In fact, Honda says it expired in Feb.)
We admittedly made a lot of mistakes, but realize we just weren't primed for this kind of thing. This is basically only the second car I've ever bought.

It appears to me that the rear-impact caused front-end damage. The front fenders have both been repainted (not well-- the color doesn't match up right.) The fact that the doors were jolted off alignment is troubling and implicates some trauma up-front.

The dealership has requested to send me their Honda Financial inspection that's provided to dealers at auction. Naturally, they hope it will appease me, but the fact still remains that the door doesn't close tightly and the bumper isn't secured to the body. To me, the body shop that made repairs just did a terrible job.

I have some photos that I may post later.
 

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Does it look like the inside fender damage was caused by improperly fitted tire chains?

When I was looking at used Odyssey's I found that many have front bumper alignment issues. After following up by inspecting the front frame members, radiator ect .. it appeared that most weren't in front end accidents but had issues from impacts with road debris, parking blocks ect... In these kind of incidents the bumpers often pull off without real damage because they are held on with weak plastic trim rivets. In fact it may be why they use the plastic rivets to prevent major damage from a minor accident. Most likely that incident would be seperate from the rear ender. Mom

Because it is such a large plastic piece without a lot of rigidity I think it's pretty hard to get it perfectly aligned when put back on. The rivets are probably an attempt to keep it in place where the OEM plastic rivets would no longer do the job or where the rivet mounting holes where damaged.

I would be more concerned about the front door as that sounds like a much bigger problem.

Unfortunately the fender liners and front bumper issues are more obvious and visible, were available for prepurchase inspection and might be considered more of an "As Is" aspect of the purchase.
 

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The body shop #2 actually saw the vehicle and suggested strongly it go back, so I side with them. You were well meaning but calling the sales guy (who stands to lose a sales commission) about returning the vehicle got results that were to be expected.

You have rights as a buyer, I would not concede any $, make them reverse the sale and be firm, but polite, but get progressively more peeved if they resist. You have a lot of options including the BBB, local consumer advocacy groups (TV stations, radio, papers), etc. If you are big enough pain they will make you whole again, or close to it. Show them the comments from the body shop #2 (get written, give the body shop a few $ for efforts will make them happier about writing it down). They may have bought the vehicle also unknowing as you did, but that's not your problem. That's their problem.

BTW, the scraping of the bottom of the front is common, especially for a vehicle that sits low in front and is designed to be driven by distracted parents on errands. My used van had a rip in the front bumper from probably catching on something. It was also loose, but I didn't worry about it. The missing fasteners, well, when I took my under-liner off partially for some project many of them broke apart. I'm missing a couple too. So, while this is the other side of the advice. The door fitment at the top COULD be caused by a roof rack such as a Thule where it slightly bent the top of the door so it did not seal as well. I doubt this, but its possible.

A frame jig could tell you if you have major frame misalignment. but that seems doubtful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Both body shops actually recommended we try to rid ourselves of it. Of course, they are also looking at the low quality of the body work very critically. The Honda dealer didn't say anything quite as disparaging, but they did find a broken axle seal and told us that more of the car had been damaged than we had originally thought.

Between what the body shops told us, we are now aware that the following panels have been repainted: both front fenders, hood, front bumper, rear bumper, both rear fenders and possibly part of the rear door. It wasn't obvious to me at first -- it was wet when we did our first look-over. This, in itself, isn't really the issue (even if the paint doesn't match right,) but instead that there could be additional damage that's hidden/unknown.

The dealer basically said they've never done a return before; they don't have a return policy, and "Alright, we'll take it back... but it will cost you $2,000."
It was explained that they'd have to recoup costs to cover their financing agreement, state fees, advertising, etc. I still don't believe that comes close to $2,000. It sounds more like they're still trying to make $2,000 on this sale.

(BTW, I have only talked to sales guys, as they've acted as middle-men here.) They've also suggested trying to help with some of our bigger concerns -- front bumper and door alignment instead. Based on the wear of the driver's seat, rain water has been entering the vehicle for some time now and there are potential health concerns there with the possibility of mold and stuff.

I plan on talking to an attorney today to get his thoughts.
 

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The only thing similar I've heard of recently was a parent on daughters soccer team telling me about one of his clients that bought a car that was stolen from a dealer, and the buyer had to turn it over to authorities. They claimed innocence and no funds available to pay but the lawyer told them in no uncertain terms it was their problem, they needed to repay the buyer, but they balked. So the lawyer started billing them extra $2000 a day for loss of service (it was business vehicle) with letters being delivered daily by courier and after a week they agreed to pay the full amount plus extra. Good luck and let us know how it goes. Looks like the van was rebuilt, and then driven for a while so the seat got messed up from weather, then the dealer got it. Oh yea, and the $2000 is BS. :bs: The sales guy probably spent the money they gave him for the sale, but thats not your problem. :noo:
 

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Stop planning and start acting. The dealer is stalling you. You need to return the POS asap. I am thinking they knew about everything and only went by what was on the CarFax reports and only disclosed that and conveniently did NOT disclose the rest. This looks like a larger rear impact with problems in the front as well. Perhaps this was a vehicle that was in the middle and was rear ended and then in turn hit the vehile (or something else) in the front of it. The different shades mean there was more than one wrecks which might not have been reported and hence only one wreck. I also conclude at this point that the dealer showed you a picture of another van to ease you into buying this one thinking it was a minor rear end wreck.

You need to start getting firmer and start talking to your sales man's boss or the general manager of the place. There is no way they did not know all this damage. This is their bread and butter. I am sure they knew this. And start researching VA laws to see if there is any mandatory period in which you have to file your claim to get a refund. You should NOT I repeat should NOT be having to pay any money for any costs and this is plain and simple the dealer's fault. You would win in any court if this makes it to court so don't plan on talking but rather find a lawyer and have him draft up a letter.

If it were me, I'd rather pay a laywer $2K that you are willing to let go by returning the wrecked van to the dealer. That way, at least it will teach the dealer a hard lesson on not to mess with nice customers. I also suggest finding a local VA lawyer as they being local might be better equipped to deal with the scumbags and a lawyer who is local to you but that is not mandatory. You just need a half competent lawyer ASAP.
 

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^ +1 !
 

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+ 2!!!

Get rid of that POS right away and don't settle for ANYTHING less.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I'm offering to cover the paid document processing fee ($295.)
We also put a little work into the vehicle, which should more than cover any mileage it's incurred.
 
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