Friday, March 11, 2016

More info on the Honda Malaysia battery product update

The latest Honda Malaysia "product update" (recall) involving the over 90,000 vehicles have received much attention. At the annual Honda Malaysia media gathering event that was held earlier today, I took the opportunity to seek more details on this recall.

The product update/recall involves the identification of a batch of batteries installed into new Honda vehicles which was found to be 'below spec'. The said batteries supposedly have shortened lifespan and will fail to retain charge after less than the expected 1 to 1.5 years of usage (i.e. the batteries could fail in less than 1 year) or, the specified warranty period of the battery. So the recall seeks to replace those batteries which are still within the specified warranty period but which are still working, with a new one. 

I.e. with this recall, Honda Malaysia wishes to avoid their customers facing the inconvenience of their battery dying prematurely. Yes, when the battery dies prematurely within the warranty period, the owner can still get it replaced for free. But all car owners knows well the inconvenience (to say the least) of having the battery die. In this case, Honda Malaysia replaces the battery with a new one even if it is still working and hopes to avoid affected customers facing the inconvenience.

Honda Malaysia stresses that the recall only involves the battery. There is no damage caused by the battery. Furthermore, not all batteries from the batch will definitely fail but likelihood is high. So Honda Malaysia decided to replace the batteries which are under warranty even if they are still working fine.

One item which is unusual is that the recall involves some vehicles which goes as far back as 2003. That is 13 years ago. While there are isolated cases where batteries lasts well past the expected 1 to 1.5 years of warranty period, it would be extremely rare indeed for a battery to last 13 years. In any case, the warranty period of the original battery supplied with a 2003 car would have been long expired by now. For this situation, Honda Malaysia explains that it is related to those cars where the owners continued to have it serviced at authorized Honda service centers and where they have replaced the battery with a new unit bought from the service center. For such cases, where the battery is still within the warranty period, Honda will replace the battery.

So the recall doesn't necessarily involved 94,000 cars only possibly up to 94,000 cars. In fact, the cars that are affected is expected to be way below 94.000. This is also one recall where if an owner decides not to have it done, there will be no damage to the car except that the battery could fail within its warranty period in which case it would have been replaced for free as well. The recall just allows batteries which are still good and within warranty to be replaced as a 'preemptive' measure.

For those whose Honda falls within the period of manufacture given by Honda, they can check if their car is covered under the recall by one of four methods : 
  • wait to see if they receive the notification letter from Honda Malaysia
  • contact either Honda Malaysia hotline (1-800-88-2020) 
  • or any authorized Honda service center, 
  • visit the Honda Malaysia website at to check online.

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