To Whom It May Concern:

On September 6th, I brought my 2003 Honda Accord V6 to the Service Department at Wolfchase Honda in Memphis, TN. The previous evening, I had trouble getting the car to start and assumed that the battery was getting weak. On my way to the service department that morning the car dropped out of gear suddenly while I was driving, the engine revved to between 5,000 and 6,000 rpm, returned to an idle rpm, the transmission engaged again and repeated this behavior four or five times. Since I was within a quarter to perhaps a half mile of the service department I left the car in drive and allowed the car to coast down the overpass I had just crested and made it to the service department; the car exhibited the behavior described above several more times before I finally arrived.

I informed the service department of the problem with the car being hard to start and of the new problem with the transmission that had just happened, then left the car with the service technician. Later in the day I received a call from Danny at Wolfchase Honda who informed me that the battery did need to be replaced, the car needed brake pads and that the rotors needed to be turned, all of which I was expecting and quite prepared for; then Danny told me that the transmission had to be replaced, something I was most certainly not expecting and not at all prepared for.

My Accord was affected by the transmission recall released in the summer of 2004. Because of the disinterested and unconcerned service I had experienced from the service department at Dobbs Honda on Mendenhall, where I originally purchased the car, I reluctantly took the car there in order to have the recall service performed. The recall service was completed that day and I picked my car up that afternoon. When I picked up my car, I was told that they had determined that the transmission did not need to be replaced so they had installed the oil piping kit as required by the recall. I asked a number of questions about the transmission and any precautions I should take or any warning signs I should look for; all of my questions were answered with either a flippant “don’t worry about it” or a shrug. I gave up on getting any of my concerns addressed and left.

I immediately noticed a difference in the transmission’s shifting; when the transmission shifted from one gear to another it felt like it was shifting hard and the car would frequently buck or lurch as well; occasionally, it would even cause the tires to squeal or chirp when the transmission shifted from second to third gear. That evening, as my wife and I were driving home, we both heard a metal-on-metal rubbing or scraping sound – something like sheet metal rubbing against an axle or rotor; I immediately pulled over to the side of the road and checked under the car, in the front wheel-wells, and under the hood where I could find no loose parts or any parts that appeared to be rubbing or missing. I got back in the car and drove it home as cautiously as I could, meaning that I accelerated very slowly, did not brake hard, and did not exceed 35 MPH.

Before driving the car the next morning, I called the service department at Dobbs Honda on Mendenhall and described both the hard shifting and the metal-on-metal rubbing sound we had heard. I was told that the hard shifting wasn’t unusual and would go away after “it settled in” and that someone had probably just left a tool under the hood and that’s what caused the noise we heard; again demonstrating a complete lack of concern on the part of the service technician. After about a month of driving the car without the hard shifting problem resolving itself, I called back again and, this time, was told that this was normal behavior. Frustrated, I gave up on getting Dobbs Honda to do anything about what I considered to be a problem.

Which brings me to the problem I have now, a bad transmission. First, I refuse to take my car back to Dobbs Honda for service; I don’t trust them, I don’t think they care about their customers, and I think they provide poor service at best. Based on the service we have received from Wolfchase Honda for my wife’s 2005 Pilot, I now have my car there and want them to repair my car. Second, I do not think it is unreasonable for me to believe that the problem with the transmission is related to the recall from the summer of 2004. The car exhibits the hard shifting behavior primarily when shifting in to or out of second gear – the gear specifically mentioned in the recall; when the car dropped out of gear yesterday, it was when the transmission was down-shifting from third to second; after that, I lost track of what gear the transmission was in due to the erratic shifting it was doing. Again I would suspect second gear since I was traveling at or below 30 MPH.

Quite honestly, I would like for Honda to replace the transmission at no charge to me because, from my perspective, I was sold a car that had a transmission that was predestined to fail prematurely due to a defect and, when Dobbs Honda had the opportunity to correct this, they chose the quick, easy, and least expensive fix then ignored my complaints about the transmission. For me, this is a huge blow to my confidence in the reliability and dependability of Honda vehicles and my trust that Honda will stand behind their cars and their service.

To add to my disappointment and frustration with this situation, I have been a spokesman for Honda since purchasing my 2003 Accord. The first car I owned was a 1982 Honda Accord Hatchback; I did all of my own service and as much of the maintenance as I was capable of, put 247,000 miles on it, then had to sell it in 1991because I was moving overseas. When I returned, I tried Audi, Chevy, Toyota, then, after a particularly bad experience with a BMW, I came back to Honda due to my past experience. I have raved about the Accord I purchased and have influenced a number of co-workers, friends, and family members into purchasing a Honda. I know that, due to my opinion of Honda, there are five Honda Accords, two Honda Civics, and a Honda Odyssey van that have been purchased by my co-workers within a four year period. My sister now owns a Honda CRV due to our experience and we recently upgraded my wife’s Honda CRV to a Honda Pilot.

To not waste your time, I have left out other details that may or may not have bearing in this matter; I will elaborate further if you want me too. I appreciate your taking your time to read this rather lengthy letter and appeal to you for help in getting my Accord repaired by replacing the transmission. Anything you can do to expedite this would also be appreciated since I am currently without a car.

Photos are on the move

Once again, my photo gallery is moving; this time it is moving to an entirely new domain, which should be the permanent home for all of my pictures. The home page for the new site is here and the Gallery for the new site is here. For your convenience, I have migrated your user accounts to the new Gallery.

The new site offers a higher level of granular security which will allow me to set up personal and family photo albums that are only viewable by myself, my client, and the indiviuals the client requests permissions for. The new site also offers a number os new features and feature enhancements. One new feature I hope you will like is the ability to send a picture from the site as a greeting card via email. The site also offers a shopping cart, which is still in testing, that will allow you to add photos to you cart for either downloading or printing. If you have any feature requests or suggestions for improving the new site or new Gallery, please let me know.