What's going on with Honda? Quality was always king at Honda, but things sound like they're slipping. The good looks are there with the new Accord, but owners are complaining.
Variable Cylinder Management. Now that's a mouthful and it may be a mouthful of trouble for Honda. The system is on the 2008 Honda Accord Sedan with the V 6 engine. The system is supposed to "activate and deactivate" engine cylinders to maximize fuel savings and energy when it's needed.
The car's computer basically tells the engine whether to run on 3 or 4 cylinders or 6, depending on your driving needs at any given moment.
Of course, if the engine runs on less than 6 cylinders the engine can get noisy from cylinders that turn but don't fire. So the computer also "fires" what some people think of as "white noise" designed to mask the abnormal engine noise.
Only problem is, there are reports this isn't working, in spite of Honda's claim that as the engine moves up from 3 to 6 cylinder operation "this transition between the three operating modes is completely seamless and goes unnoticed." Yada yada yada. Right, guys. Tell that to Accord owners.
Accord owners are usually a rabidly loyal bunch but seem to be lodging complaint after complaint that the system doesn't work and that engine noise is excessive and the vibration is excessive. Honda's answer? "We're still looking into it..."
One owner complained of the noise that, "You can almost hear a shutter like a bad tire or as if you opened a rear window only to get that annoying ear drum thudder everyone scrambles on to open a 2nd window and neutralize the air pressure in the cabin."
There's something wrong here. Honda apparently is copying the idea Cadillac had back in 1981 with its 4-6-8 cylinder engine that was supposed to also put some cylinders on "hold" when they weren't needed. That model ended up on the list of the worst 50 cars of all time. Deservedly so we think.
The GM Cadillac was such a lemon that it was named the Titanic of engine programs. The cars jerked, bucked, stalled, made rude noises and generally misbehaved until their owners gave up on them.
These part time engines may be a good idea, but they just aren't there yet. 27 years after Cadillac tried it, and after several years of tinkering with it, Honda and a few others appear hooked on a bad idea. It all sounds like some engineer's idea of how to max the mpg numbers by fiddling with the mechanics instead of just plain improving fundamental mileage numbers.
Meanwhile, you and I are paying for all this mechanical guesswork with higher car prices.
If your Honda Accord doesn't know how many cylinders to run on, and you can hear it trying and failing miserably at it, don't put up with it. Take it back and complain. If they don't fix it, take it back and complain again. If that doesn't work, take it back and complain again. If it still isn't fixed, well, 3 chances to fix and it becomes a lemon in Ohio and many other states too.
At that point you have a right to a refund or a new car (but don't get another one of those crazy engines). If they won't give it to you (and they probably won't) it's time to call us. Don't put up with stall and delay. Don't put up with any runaround. Call us and we'll get it done.
Helping consumers protect themselves is what we do. It's all we do. Got a lemon? Email or call us at 1-888-331-6422 Toll Free. We'll get it squashed for you. After all, life is too short to put up with a lemon!