really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
90,950 miles
Total Complaints:
5 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (3 reports)
  2. replace cylinder head (2 reports)
2009 Honda Fit engine problems

engine problem

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2009 Honda Fit Owner Comments

problem #5

Oct 052018

Fit Sport 1.5L

  • Manual transmission
  • 132,000 miles


I was the original owner of a GE (2nd gen) 2009 Fit Sport 5MT in Milano Red. The only unscheduled maintenance had been the valve spring recall, replacing the HVAC fan speed switch, the Takata airbag recall, and a broken rear outboard seat belt button. I also did a professional re-spray with the paint in early 2018. The roof, hood, and top half of the body panels were all fading badly, a disappointing paint quality issue, but it had spent its entire life un-garaged. I’d owned 3 Civic hatchbacks prior to this (’81, ’89, ’93) and acquired a used 2008 CR-V EX a couple years after the Fit. The Fit was the “most troublesome” Honda I’d ever owned--relative to all the others--which means it was a damn reliable car. I loved that Fit. They say it’s sometimes more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow, and the Fit--especially that 2nd gen--is a great example of that, particularly with a manual.

In November 2017, the coil pack and spark plug for the #4 cylinder blew out of the cylinder head. It had around 110,000 miles on it. The precursor was a strong fuel smell when driving it in the hours before the “launch.” It smelled like un-combusted fuel, so I drove it to my business shop to check out. I found nothing, because I didn’t even think to check if my plugs were tight. They’re located against the firewall, and you have to remove the wiper motor and a cowl just to get to them--kind of a pain. Fortunately, the drive home is short, because the plug departed from the head less than a mile from my destination, driving around 25 mph. I was able to limp home with minimal compression.

The most curious (if not downright bizarre) thing is that I located both the plug and coil pack bolt in the engine compartment. All the threads were completely fine! By all appearances, both parts (coil pack bolt and plug) had independently wriggled themselves loose. Weird! It was nearly due for new plugs anyway, so I took the opportunity to replace everything with OEM spec parts: NGK Laser Iridium IZFR6K13 plugs and Hitachi IGC0073 ignition coils. I contemplated using threadlock, but I couldn’t find anything online about luck with that. It’s an aluminum head, and I didn’t want to screw anything up (like, oh, ruin the cylinder head, for example). I torqued all the new parts to specs and chalked it up to a freak occurrence.

Nine months and 20,000 miles later, it happened again. This time, on a freeway while I was going over 70 mph. I had it towed to an independent shop I trust, and they said the threads for the coil pack and plug were stripped--it was going to cost around $3K for a new cylinder head. I researched the problem and found that while it was quite rare, it had happened before.

Long out of warranty, I called American Honda. They didn’t promise anything. In order to determine if they would do anything, though, they said a dealership (stealership) would need to diagnose it. I paid the independent shop, had it towed to a service department, and the dealership came to the same conclusion. Their bill was north of $4K. The car was in very good shape, but Blue Book was maybe $5K. American Honda wouldn’t do anything for me. Nothing. I asked really nice, mentioned my history of Honda ownership, and even threatened to buy a Mazda. Nothing.

I like wrenching a lot, and I’m halfway decent at it, but I don’t possess the skills or tools to replace a cylinder head. Given the cost of parts and amount of labor involved, I couldn’t find a real mechanic who wanted to take on the project for significantly less than $3K. And if it the head were replaced, there’s no guarantee it would never happen again. I located a company that gave me a salvage price: $750.

My takeaway is that nothing’s perfect, even Hondas. Overall, their cars have been amazing for me. If I was a little smarter, I would’ve become a Toyota/Lexus guy, but I guess I’m not that bright. I needed a replacement, and I have two major requirements for my daily driver: hatchback + manual transmission. Not easy to find in 2018, new or used. Fortunately, a 2017 Civic Hatchback Sport 6MT with 10K miles on it was for sale at my local CarMax. The price was good, and it was red. It’s sitting in my driveway now. I loved that Fit a ton, but the Civic blows it away in nearly every respect, particularly the crucial “fun to drive” category. That hatchback chassis, the one manufactured in the UK and shared by the Civic Type R, is phenomenal. And the 1.5 turbo offers a hell of a lot more thrust.

I’m still a little sore about my “Honda that didn’t act a lot like a Honda” (manufactured in Japan, to boot), but I can’t give up my allegiance. Beyond the ’17 Civic, after our ’08 CR-V was killed in an accident last year, we replaced it with a ’10 EX-L. Then we decided we wanted to go bigger, so we have a first gen ’08 Pilot SE as well. I guess it takes a lot more than one disappointment to sour me on Honda.

- Todd T., Omaha, US

problem #4

Jun 102016

Fit Sport 1.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 75,000 miles

click to see larger images

spark plug blew out cylinder head

Honda wants $7826 for cylinder head replacement or $3377 for salvage engine with 15k miles? No good will available at dealership. At least my 4th Honda. Seeking alternative fixes. Will never be purchasing a Honda again.

- Elm B., Albany, NY, US

problem #3

Aug 292015

Fit Sport 1.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,596 miles

I had all maintenance done on time time. I think spark plugs should be checked before 100,000 miles. Honda paid 80% one time goodwill.

- Tim R., Simi Valley, CA, US

problem #2

May 152015

Fit Sport

  • Manual transmission
  • 65,000 miles

Check engine light came on -- we had it checked out, and were told it was a misfire and we should not worry. Several days later, the light came back on and the next day we broke down on the highway. We were told that a spark plug blew off and tore a hole in the cylinder head, but this wasn't covered on the bulls**t extended warranty (from the National Warranty Corporation) and wasn't covered by the factory warranty either.

The dealership called Honda to ask for a "goodwill" repair, and after they asked us a bunch of irrelevant questions they offered to pay for 60% of a $6k fix (all new parts, obviously). The spark plugs weren't due for replacement for almost 40k more miles. This seems to me like a mechanical failure but basically we're SOL. After some research I see that this isn't an isolated incident, so I'm not planning to buy another Honda if this is their idea of customer service.

- Alexandra S., Tacoma, WA, US

problem #1

Jan 182014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

The spark plug was undamaged but the hole it screws into would not accept the spark plug. The extended warranty company denied the claim stating that it was "specifically" not covered. So now I have a broken car with an apparent factory defect that I cannot fix nor drive.

- Daphne B., Houston, TX, US

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