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My mother-in-law (who lives with us) received a letter from Honda about a product update for her 2011 Odyssey r.e. the judder/torque converter issue. The letter clearly says to take the van to any Honda dealership for a transmission flush and software update. She made an appointment with her usual dealership for service, brought the van in, and they said, we won't do anything if you're not having the judder issue. She came home, I called the dealership, I got the same runaround. Even though they knew what she was bringing the van in for when she made the appointment. They even tried to tell her that the transmission flush and software update could CAUSE the judder issue. !?

I called a different dealership who said, no problem, we'll do the service, so I made her an appointment for next week. Then I called the third and last local dealership and they said they had no record of any such letter!

I've read the actual bulletins the dealerships are all claiming to be going off of (the first dealership seems to have forgotten about this thing called the internet) and they both contain this line: "To minimize the possibility for the judder to occur, a software update for the transmission is a available. Additionally, the transmission fluid will be replaced." So I'm reading that as, even if the problem isn't occurring right now, go ahead and do these things to prevent it.

Is my interpretation correct? Or is the first dealership right? Or are they crazy/trying to put her off till the torque converter fails, as it's no longer covered? (She's already at 105,000 miles.)
 

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Welcome to Odyclub!

The general rule of thumb is that a dealer is not obliged to perform a service outlined in a TSB (technical service bulletin) unless the symptoms it's intended to address are present. A TSB is different from a recall - a recall MUST be done regardless of symptoms, while a TSB is basically a set of instructions for mechanics who are faced with a problem that wasn't anticipated when the service manual was published.

The factor that changes things for you here is the letter from Honda. If (as you state) it clearly says to bring the van in to have the service done, then that should be the last word on the matter. Honda is authorizing the service and the dealership really doesn't need to strain their brain trying to figure out what to do.

The first dealership seems uncertain as to whether they will be paid by Honda for doing the work. They are putting you off because in general they are not reimbursed for repairs not supported by visible symptoms. Either way, I'm glad you were able to find a dealership willing to do the service for you, because it is not just a little thing you're dealing with here.
 
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