Accord – more screeching, back at the Honda dealership

I took my 2013 Honda Accord into the shop about two weeks ago to fix the screeching noise coming from one of my wheels when I would turn, it ended up being caused by a brake pad retainer clip rubbing against the rotor (I blogged about this in a previous post).

Well, a few days afterwards the noise returned with a vengeance, I can’t tell for sure if it’s coming from the same wheel or not. It’s worse because it now happens more frequently and will make noise even when slightly veering to the left, where as before I would have to turn the wheel farther to basically make a left turn.

So, I scheduled an appointment to come in at 8am Saturday, I received a reminder email yesterday (Friday) for my appointment today. I get to the dealership and they say I’m not showing up on the list of scheduled appointments. The service advisor says they have a full load today, but they’ll squeeze me in, but it will probably be a little longer.

So far this is not looking like it’s going to be a good experience.

Oh yeah, an update on the radio – it still seems more responsive and I have yet to have the strange static issues that I experienced and no complete lockups where the car had to be shut off.

My biggest issue with the stereo now is the HondaLink Aha functionality. I actually stopped using it a few weeks ago because it was so bad. To be completely honest, it downright sucks.

Well, an updated version of the iPhone HondaLink app was available for download so I figured I’d try again. I’ve been using it for the last couple days, it’s better, but still buggy as hell. I am impressed with the sound quality when it actually works. I consistently have issues when the interface will be stuck at loading and I have to shut off the radio and kill teh HondaLink app. The touch screen interface for Aha has become unresponsive at times – it will allow me to flip to another source, but not allow me to control Aha without turning off the stereo. I also had a very strange issue where I hit the next button on the steering wheel to go to the next track (normal activity), and for some reason it started to skip maybe every 15 seconds or so to a new track (had to power the radio off and back on to fix). I also noticed that the display that shows the artist, song name, etc. was stuck on a previous song and was not updating with what was currently playing.

I REALLY WANT to like the HondaLink Aha app, the sound quality and songs are great, but all of that is overshadowed by inconsistent operation and functionality issues. If Honda can get these annoying bugs resolved, it could very well be my primary music source.

Update on my 2013 Honda Accord Issues – a mixed bag.

I took my 2013 Honda Accord EX-L into the dealership last Saturday primarily for the erratic radio behavior, but also for the recent squealing noise that started to occur occasionally when I made left turns.

As it turns out, the squealing noise was due to a disc brake pad retaining clip shifting and rubbing against the rotor, there was apparently a tech service bulletin out on this particular issue. I was happy to hear that and had high hopes that the problem would be resolved. Well, the squealing stopped, but returned 4 days later with a vengeance. I now get a high-pitched screech from the same side while slightly turning left. Ugh…time to set up another service appointment.

A TSB was recently released for the radio that was supposed to fix many of the issues I was experiencing (occasional lock ups, static, and sluggishness). Honda performed the software update on my radio, which seemed to go pretty well. I had to re-pair my phone to the radio and my audio adjustments were reset (bass/treble/sub/etc), not a big deal.

Were the problems with the radio resolved? Well, I haven’t had any lockups or weird static issues yet – and the sound quality seems to have improved over bluetooth. It hasn’t been a week yet since I had the update, so it may be too early to say for sure. The stereo system is still not what I would consider a premium sound system, as Honda calls it. Bass response *might* be a little better, but still not what I would expect from a system with a sub.

As far as the radio sluggishness, it seems to be more responsive now, with only a slight lag at times. Personally, I’m not a big fan of the touch screen interface at all, I prefer the tactile feel of buttons and find myself having to look down at the radio longer to change a station with the touch screen. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why Honda added the front collision warning system – for those times when you’re trying to adjust the poorly designed radio. I also have to touch the screen much harder than I would expect. As far as I’m concerned, Apple sets the bar for touch screen responsiveness. The touch screen in the Accord feels a little spongy like something you would find on a low-end portable GPS. Sorry Honda, but I consider the stereo to be the biggest flaw. I’d happily replace it if I could, but seeing as how it’s tightly integrated into controlling non-radio functionality, that’s just not possible.

Last but not least is my fuel economy issue. It has improved, I left the ECON mode off for my last fill-up and averaged 30.9 MPG, up from the 27-28 MPG I was getting when drove much of the time with ECON mode turned on. I think there was a little more highway driving on the last refuel, so that may explain much of the increase in fuel economy. When I take it back to the dealer to have the screeching noise looked at, I intend to ask if there’s something that can be done with regard to the fuel economy, so far it’s been a little disappointing. I don’t see how 36MPG on the highway is achievable unless I’m going downhill with a tailwind for most of my trip.

On a final note, I do have to give a big kudos to the service advisors at my Honda dealership, they have to be the most pleasant couple of guys I have ever dealt with at any auto service department.

My new car – 2013 Honda Accord

After a few month of casual car shopping, I finally decided it was time to move into something with a little more room and comfort. I ended up letting go of my 2011 Mazda 3 i Touring model for a 2013 Honda Accord EX-L 4 cylinder model. The Mazda has been a great, fun car to drive; unfortunately, it’s not the quietest when driving at highway speeds, the seats leave something to be desired when taking longer trips, and it’s pretty tight getting four adults to fit comfortably. Fuel economy in the 2011 model was decent, averaging right around 28-30 mpg (the SkyActiv engine wasn’t introduced until 2012). With a little over 30,000 miles on it, it still ran like new, no problems whatsoever.

Well, the Honda Accord EX-L met all of the criteria I was looking for: good gas mileage, more spacious and quieter cabin, a comfortable ride, leather interior, and a moonroof. I was comparing this to a 2014 Mazda 6 and 2013 Ford Fusion. The Mazda 6 would’ve been my next choice, I liked the Touring model, but in order to get leather and a moonroof requires jumping up to the Grand Touring model which bumps it up over $30k. I like the styling better on the Mazda 6 and Fusion, but the value just didn’t seem to be there.

At any rate, I went with the Accord, I’ve had it for about 3 weeks now and I figured I’d do a little review on my experience so far.

Overall, I’m happy with the Accord, but there are a few things I’ve run across so far:

– The “Premium” stereo system. I am actually sitting at the Honda dealership right now getting a software update that is supposed to fix the issues I am having (lockups, sluggishness, erratic staticky behavior). Hopefully this update fixes these issues, from what I understand, many people have been reporting these same problems and have been waiting for this update for several months. Unfortunately, the sound quality is no where near what I would expect for a premium system…hopefully this update has a positive effect on the overall sound quality as well. I’ll have to post a follow up after the software update. For those people experiencing radio issues, Honda recently issued tech service bulletin TSB13-001.

– Fuel economy. After two tank fills, I am averaging 27.5 mpg, and that is with a fair amount of highway driving (~60-70%). My car was a dealer demo, so it’s got a few thousand miles on it…so it’s not a break-in issue as one might expect. I was trying the Econ mode sporadically during that time and have decided to leave it off now since I don’t like the negative impact it has on acceleration. So far it seems like leaving Econ mode off has increased my fuel economy…very interesting as I was under the impression that there should be a slight increase.

– Heated seats. They seem to take a while to heat up, on the low setting, i can barely feel it and the heat seems to really be focused on the bottom center portion of the seat, I would prefer a wider area of where the heat is dispersed. Overall this is fairly minor, but living in Michigan with the cold winters, it is nice to have!

– Squealing noise from the right side when turning left at lower speeds. I’m occasionally hearing a brief high pitched squealing noise that sounds like its coming from the right rear, this only occurs when turning left at speeds less than 20 mph or so. Honda is looking at this as well, hope to find something out today.

– Occasional jerkiness when driving at low speeds. These seems to happen more so why it’s cold outside and the engine is cold…have to wait and see on this one…

Other than those few things, I really like the Accord, it has what I would consider good pick up for a 4 cylinder that has an EPA rating of 36mpg on the highway. There is a nice balance of comfort and handling, and the creature comforts and safety options seemed to make this a great value for a mid-sized sedan.

This is my first visit to the Honda dealership for repairs since purchasing the car a few weeks ago, I’ve had a good experience so far and the service reps are great. Just hoping I won’t have to come back for any more repairs for a long time…