Q. My dealer just offered to buy back my 2007 Honda CR-V with 188,000 km on it. They’re prepared to pay the same amount they offered me in trade a full three years ago! According to the dealer, a rear wheel could detach due to a corrosion problem at the rear of the chassis. The dealer gave me just five days to make my decision.
— B.L., New Richmond, Que.
A. I can answer both questions here. Honda Canada recently issued a recall on the 2007 through 2011 model-year CR-V for a rusting problem that could result in a rear suspension control arm separating from the vehicle. The recall applies to vehicles in all provinces from Ontario east, which experience heavy road salt usage and humid operating environments. Dealers were instructed to inspect the rear frame stiffeners and to apply corrosion protection. When a vehicle does not pass the inspection, Honda will offer to repurchase it.
Honda dealers were instructed to test the rear chassis stiffener of recalled vehicles. If they are able to perforate the metal using a testing tool (it’s a special mallet with a spike attached) then the vehicle “fails” and the first remedy offered is a buyback. I believe the buyback is a non-negotiable value plus a 15% markup for any inconvenience. Generally, a repurchase offer based on a standard formula benefits the owners of vehicles in rough condition and is less advantageous to owners of vehicles in good condition, or with low mileage.
Honda’s recall does allow for the repair of vehicles that owners would prefer to keep. However, this appears to be a tertiary remedy to be suggested after either rustproofing has been applied or a customer turned down the buyback offer.
You may be surprised to learn that Honda would prefer to buy your vehicle back instead of paying for repairs and keeping it on the road. Structural repairs are expensive and time-consuming, with the potential to overwhelm dealers with in-house body shops (and in fact, Honda has made provision for dealers to sublet the repair to independent shops).
Undertaking a major repair on a 10-year-old vehicle opens the door to disagreements with the owner over who will pay for additional work that might be required to other components in the area related to the repair; so generally, taking the buyback offer is the better way to go unless it significantly undervalues the vehicle.
Administering a major corrosion recall is a complicated matter. For example, while waiting for parts to arrive and repairs to be completed, Mazda Canada has been paying some owners of the 2009 through 2010 model-year Mazda 6 to drive courtesy vehicles for months.