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We are new to this group. Purchased a 2003 silver 5sp 4 days ago. We are in the midst of a significant storm here in Colorado. Was just driving vehicle to test it in snow and both shields on the undercarriage hit snow or water or ice (its not that deep, maybe 3-4 inches on road, but is wet and heavy) and peeled back, ripping out from the bolts and the plastic grommets nearly to the back of the car. It also cracked the cover in a few places, perhaps when I was backing up?

Has anyone had a similar problem? How was it fixed? Did Honda cover under warranty? What were the costs, if not under warrantly? Most importantly, how about a permanent solution to this issue - it would seem to be a serious design flaw!?

We like the car a lot, but if it can not be driven in snow, then it should be clearly adervtised as such. Moreover, we would not have purchased the car if we had know of its limits in this regard!

Any help would be much appreciated.

billy and stacy
 

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The car really isn't a snow car, but then again any small car isn't. If I lived in a snow state I wouldn't drive this car in the snow, the tire footprint is just to small.

You want to consider a winter beater car to drive during those months.
 

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Whoa, let's not get too hasty...A winter beater should not be required...In fact, among other things, my Insight is my winter beater as I do not drive any of my RX-7s in the snow. I have not had any problems this winter with my Insight, and this has been a pretty severe winter (even as far as Canada is concerned).

That said, I say this should be a warrenty issue. To prevent it from happening again, have the Honda guys/gals install some very wide washers at the bolts. That should distribute the holding force evenly.

Just as an aside, the underbelly pan detatchment problem is not specific to the Insight. Most cars with any sort of belly pan will loose them at one point or another, but it is just more noticable with the Insight since the pan is so large.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Clearly the Insight is not a real "snow car". We have a Subbie WRX and a Saab SPG as well. They are more capable in the snow... Nevertheless, the Insight should be able to handle some snow, and it should not be afflicted with an easily avoidable problem such as we just have experienced. We really feel that something is remiss in the design of this undercarriage "shield". It is held on by a few bolts and whimpy grommetts. The amount of plastic that actually is grabbed by these fasteners is tiny - a small strip really. There are indents and lips and what not that seem to have caught on snow/water and caused the sheild to pull back/off.

If Honda really "snow tested" this vehicle, it was not done in Colorado! How can they think that the way this shield is attached will last, either in more severe driving conditions or over time?

So our solutions are:

- Replace and remount with wider washers (thanks for that idea). Hope for the best. Insist that this is a warranty item.

- Drive something else in the snow (making this a less than satisfying answer).

- Remove shields entirely. HAS ANYONE DONE THAT? Whats the impact of losing these? mileage drop? protection of underbelly parts?

- Replace with more robust units [OEM plastic is flimsy and weak - should be about twice as thick as it is and reinforced with metal inserts/flanges around mounting points]. DOES ANYONE KNOW of an after market fix for this part?

- Suffer through what should not be happening on a 4-day old car and wish we would have bought a hybrid CIVIC or Prius...

thanks
 

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it's an accident, not warranty

Bill and Stacy,

I had the same thing happen to my car (although not as severe). The passenger side shield ripped off of the bolt and folded back under the car, causing this horrible scraping sound. I was able to bend it back and re-attach it with a large washer myself. This didn't proove very reliable, though. My replacement part should be in any day now...

While I agree that Honda could have designed this part more ruggedly, I don't think it's a warranty case. Unless your shields were defective or installed incorrectly before it happened. I think it's an accident. It happened to me when I hit an ice clump (like the ones that fall off of other cars wheel-wells). I couldn't make Honda responsible for that.

While I disagree with others who drive SUV's in the winter, I do think care needs to be taken in the snow. In the Insight a little more so than in other cars. The low ground clearance means you cannot drive in any snow that's higher than our clearance. And do not plow across snowbanks.

As far as taking them off entirely, I'll make sure to pay attention when they replace my shield and see what the car looks like underneath. But I don't think I would want to expose it any more to the salt than I have to.
 

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I would imagine that removing the belly pans would have a dramatic effect on the underbody airstream, and significantly reduce the aerodynamics of the car.

If you are really worried about your pan, use a few 2" wide strips of 2MM aluminium to reinforce. Drill the aluminium to match the bolt holes, and run them along the belly pan between the bolts. Will add significant strength.
 

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Geeze, I may be worse off than you guys...Houston has a severe pothole problem (severe heat & humidity + cheap road materials when they were built= major pothole problems), not to mention the engineers down here have problems with the concept of building parkinglot entrances that don't make you want to buy a Hummer....
 

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Reviving an old thread...

I hit a deep puddle at too high a speed the other day, and tore the underbody shield (the big one - five or six feet long?) off the bottom of the car. It pulled away at the front, and curled under the car as I rolled to a stop. I finally had to crawl under the car and tear it away from the rest of the bolts in order to drive home (I was 200 miles away at the time).

I threw the shield into the back of the car (after it had dried off, of course), and took it to the dealer. He was kind to me, and replaced it for only the cost of the part ($120), no labor. MUCH cheaper than I feared.

Some of the earlier posts asked what the shield protected. I did notice a couple of orange wires running along the underside of the car which didn't look all that well-secured. I suspect they just hang there because they are very well protected by the shield when it's in place.

I have to keep reminding myself that I'm not in a large car anymore. I do a good job remembering to slow down over bumps in the road, but I didn't think I had to go especially slow over water. Now I know.

Yours,
Mike
 

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I've had a similar experience... only not with snow, per say. When I bought my Insight it had 80000 miles on it, and as you can imagine, the underbody panels were most likely missing some of the bolts.

Anyway, the first time I drove the car at high speeds (80+ mph...) I noticed a constant dragging that sounded like my front left tire was going to fall off. So, I pulled over and got under the car to look, nothing. Started driving, a few minutes later, same thing. After repeating a few times, I noticed that the front of the underbody panel was "loose" and I came to the conclusion that above a certain speed enough wind would catch the panel and lower it to the point of dragging on the road. So far, the only solution I have come up with is the infamous duck tape. A few strands (6-10) running from the front of the panel to about mid-way up the front tire well tends to hold it decently well. I'd rather spend $4 on a roll of tape than $120 for a new shield. I replace the tape when it either comes loose or if I have the chance during an oil change.

The same thing happened with the aluminum piece under the oil filter. Sparks definitely flew during that ordeal... and it has a rather nice bend as proof. This was fixed after installing a few true nuts and bolts. Harder to remove... but it won't happen again without my knowing!

Also, I think the first few inches of my driver side shield was cut or lost at one point... it doesn't look like I think it should. Can someone send me a picture of "intact" undercar panels? Specifically the front 2-3 feet. (Next time someone has the oil changed or something...)

Does anyone have a more "permanent" solution or similar experiences? Feel free to PM me with pictures.

Thanks!
David
 

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as crazy as i drive (in the snow even) i have never had this happen.

*knocks on wood*

:p
 
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