The 2013-2015 Accord and Crosstour were manufactured with defectve starter systems that create a grinding or spinning noise when trying to start the engine.
This only applies to cars with an automatic transmission. In those cars, the starter system needs to be able to engage with the transmission's torque converter ring gear in order to spin up the engine. But the ring gear is out-of-position which causes issues with starting and premature wear on the gears and starter motor.
Additionally, there are claims that these vehicles use low-capacity batteries that can lack the power needed to power the starter motors. Combined with the ring gear positioning defect, starting these cars is like taking a spin of the roulette wheel.
Service Bulletin #16-002 ∞
In February of 2016, Honda released technical service bulletin (TSB) #16-002 to inform dealerships about the incorrect positioning of the torque converter's ring gear and how it can create problems starting the engine.
The TSB states the
clearance between the starter motor gear and the torque converter ring gear is not optimal.
It also says in order to fix the problem, the starter motor should be replaced and the crankshaft should be rotated by one bolt hole.
Repair costs are covered if the car is under warranty. However major starter issues in these vehicles tend to happen around 50,000 miles, just north of Honda's 36,000 mile warranty.
The out-of-warranty repair cost ∞
Repair costs at a Honda dealership vary, but on average it costs out-of-warranty owners around $630 out-of-pocket.
A good chunk of that cost is a new starter motor which runs between $200-$400 retail.
The rest can be attributed to labor costs, and that can get pricey considering to rotate the crankshaft a technician has to remove the battery, splash seperator, lower radiator hose, starter motor, and the torque converter just to access the neccessary bolts.
Honda Starter Lawsuits ∞
Owners who are now out-of-warranty are wondering why they still have to pay to repair a starter system that was defective from the ... well, start. So far Honda has held firm on only offering financial help to warrantied owners.
Enter the lawsuits.
Class-Action Proposed in New Jersey ∞
The first proposed class-action lawsuit, Joel Merkin, et al., v. Honda North America, Inc., American Honda Motor Company, Inc., and Honda Motor Company, LTD, came in May of 2017, accusing Honda of violating the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.
The lead plaintiff explains that the starter defect costs much more than just replacing the starter motor, as there are also costs associated with buying new batteries and getting the car towed when it doesn't start.
Additionally the lawsuit alleges the defect diminishes the vehicle's resale value.
A Second Class-Action For Every Other US Consumer ∞
A few months later an additional proposed class-action lawsuit, Carolina Martinez, et al., v. American Honda Motor Co. Inc., was filed for owners outside of New Jersey.
In addition to pointing out the clearance issue between the starter motor's gear and the engine's torque converter ring gear, the lawsuit alleges that Honda equipped the cars with laughably small, low-capacity batteries that lack the current needed to power the starter motors.
Honda Generations Where This Problem Happens
This problem has been reported by owners of the following generations. While there's no guarantee it affects all the listed model years, most years within a generation share the same parts, manufacturing processes, and problems.
- 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
- 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015