Originally Posted by firsthonda
How are they blaming you for driving it? I think you're leaving out some important details.
I did leave quite a bit out. Wanted to get right to the point. But since you asked, I'll be happy to spell it all out...
So here goes. I first noticed two little orange spots on the hood about 6 months ago. They stayed orange even after washing and scraping with a fingernail. I didn't know what to do and put them in the back of my mind until about a month ago (18 months into ownership of my white 2010 Insight), I took a close look at the roof. There are at least 200 of these little spots. There are also a handful of spots on the front and back side fenders. Both sides. There are also about 30 rust spots on the top of the rear bumper.
I called the dealer (Honda of Santa Monica) and they said to go talk to their official body shop as they didn't do any paint work at the dealer itself. I took it to Anthony's Paint and Repair. The guy there said it was caused by "fallout." This, he explained, is when a car driving in front of you has a bad catalytic converter and spits out bits of hot metal that lands on your car and damages the paint enough that, over time, allows this rusting to develop. In my mind when I heard this I thought to myself, "OK, so the paint is so weak it can't handle being driven behind an older car?"
I didn't say anything and instead called corporate customer service. A guy named John handled my issue. He said I needed to go back to the dealer and have an official claim made. Also, the dealer needed to actually look at the paint. That seemed fair and logical, so I arranged to go back to the dealer at the time the regional rep was on site. I took some time off from work and skipped lunch to have Diane, the rep, look at it. I got there and she right away called the same body shop. They sent over a different guy. This time he said I had unknowingly driven by some kind of overspray that had damaged my paint and, over time, allowed these rust spots to develop. So, again, I got some kind of made up BS excuse. Diane also managed to squeeze in a little blame on all the environmental rules that make paints weaker nowadays.
Diane declared that the rust was due to "environmental factors." Which means that it wasn't a fault of the paint, paint mixture, or anything to do with how the paint was applied at the factory. Therefore, in her mind, it was not Honda's fault nor responsibility. However, in the goodness of Honda's heart, they would offer to pay for a free buff to remove the spots.
It's likely the buff will temporarily clear out the spots. But I have declined this as I believe they are only offering it as a way to buy time. A year later the spots will start returning and at that point Honda will just say "too bad, the car is out of warranty."
I've now owned two Hondas since 2002. My incredibly reliable 2000 Civic was the tipping point in me choosing the Insight over the Prius. Their thanks for this is to blame me for doing nothing other than driving a new car on the road! I pointed out to them that my Civic had the same exact driving habits for the past 9 years and never had one rust spot. It all fell on deaf ears.
I will never buy another Honda now. I had been holding out and hoping Honda would produce the electric Fit by the time I'm ready to go all electric. They can forget it now. And I will make it a point to search out any Honda related blog out there and tell them my story.