— A Honda Accord and Crosstour starter lawsuit that alleges the starter motors are defective has been thrown out by the judge.
Plaintiff Joel Merkin alleges 2013-2015 Honda Accord and Crosstour vehicles containing V6 engines are at risk of being stranded on the roads because the starters fail. Merkin says the starter problems begin during or shortly after the expiration of the limited warranty period.
The plaintiff purchased a used 2013 Honda Accord that allegedly experienced starter problems when the car had 40,400 miles on the odometer. At least once or twice a week, the plaintiff’s car would not start and would force him to turn the ignition repeatedly in order to start the engine.
Two months later and with an additional 18,000 miles, the plaintiff claims his Accord would not start five to six times a day.
The Honda dealer allegedly told Merkin his Accord was no longer under warranty and that he would be charged the full price for service and replacement of the defective starter motor, and was charged $200 for a replacement.
In February 2016, Honda issued a technical service bulletin (TSB) to dealers that told about complaints of grinding or spinning noises at startup in the affected vehicles. According to the plaintiff, the TSB “acknowledged that the Class Vehicles were manufactured with ‘not optimal’ clearance between the starter motor and the torque converter ring gear.”
Based on the lawsuit, without proper clearance, these starters experienced premature wear, thereby causing significant damage which required removal and replacement with a new starter with corrected clearance.
The plaintiff claims that Honda actively concealed the starter defects and refused to acknowledge the defect so it wouldn't have to cover replacement costs under warranty.
Honda filed a motion to dismiss the starter lawsuit and refuted the plaintiff's arguments, causing the judge to toss out the class-action, but the court gave Merkin 30 days to amend the complaint. If that happens, the plaintiff will have to make better arguments, including about customer complaints.
The lawsuit alleges Honda should have known about the starter problems because of complaints submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but the judge found only two complaints made about the vehicles before Merkin bought his Accord. In addition, the owners do not claim their vehicles were diagnosed with starter problems.
Second, and more importantly, the owners never said they reported their problem to Honda or that Honda diagnosed their vehicles as having the starter defect.
The judge also says that although Honda issued the TSB seven months after the plaintiff purchased his car, the judge says Merkin failed to present any competent evidence that Honda was aware of a starter defect prior to his purchase.
As for issues related to the warranty, the plaintiff did not experience starter issues until the warranty period had expired, so Merkin does not state a valid claim for breach of express warranty.
Claims of manipulation of warranty coverage to avoid paying for replacement parts also fell through because the record fails to support the plaintiff’s claim that Honda had knowledge of the defect prior to his purchase, which means that Honda could not have manipulated warranty coverage for a defect it did know existed.
The Honda Accord and Crosstour starter lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, Trenton Division - Joel Merkin, et al., v. Honda North America, Inc., American Honda Motor Company, Inc., and Honda Motor Company, LTD.
The plaintiff is represented by McCune Wright Arevalo LLP.
CarComplaints.com has complaints about starter problems in the Honda Accord and Crosstour: