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Discussion Starter #1
We just bought a 2018 Pilot EX AWD Sunday evening. While shopping for it my wife and I both asked the saleslady if the towing capacity is 5,000lbs (that’s what Explorer, Highlander are with the V6 engine). They told us yes it tows 5,000lbs. I even tried negotiating them to include the trailer hitch install but they would not budge on that. During that negotiations I had asked once more and the manager also told me it tows 5,000. Monday evening I was reading the owners manual and discovered that an ATF cooler is required to get to 5,000lbs. I went out and there is no cooler installed. I called the dealer and asked them to install the cooler free of charge because I was very clearly told at least 4 times that this car tows 5,000lbs. The manager told me it tows 5,000 and the service manager then told me it will tow 5,000 without the cooler and not to worry about what the owners manual states. When I pressed them that it is a safety issue they admitted it but told me they need to get approval to do the install. Since then I have not been able to get ahold of them, they did not return my 4 phone calls today. I plan to go into the dealership tomorrow. I filed a complaint with Honda. Does anyone have any advice on how I should proceed? I’m very upset they are not owning up to this and will not just install this $200 cooler and give me the car I thought I was buying. This dealer also tried to throw in a maintence package during financing after we clearly told them we did not want any extras. They tried to throw it back in when just my wife was there (I had left the dealer to take our very tired and winey 8 month old home). Luckily my wife text me the monthly rate and I knew it was way too high and we caught them in the act. The dealer is Hendricks Honda of Woodbridge Virginia. They also delivered the car dirty (door jams, running boards, dusty dash) and missing a tire pressure cap. I’m very upset at this dealer.
 

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Well, you know what they say about how much you should trust what comes out of a salesperson’s mouth. Since you didn’t get it in writing you may be out of luck. Hopefully the dealer makes it right and installs the cooler to keep you happy. Best of luck.
 

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I hope the dealer takes care of you but I doubt you have any legal leverage to force them to. Just because the vehicle is capable of towing 5K lbs doesn't mean it is ready to tow this as delivered. It is very common to have to add extra-cost equipment to a vehicle (hitch, wiring, coolers, etc.) to be able to tow - "towing capable" does not mean "towing capable as delivered". I guess if the salesman made an ironclad verbal guarantee that the vehicle would be able to tow 5K lbs as delivered to you, then you could go after them more strongly, but it would probably take something in writing to win a case in court. And they might point out that since you understood an extra-cost hitch would have to be added to be able to tow, why is the addition of an extra-cost cooler any different?

As to a strategy to get what you want, I'd suggest you let go of the minor things (car being delivered dirty, tire valve caps, hard sell on maintenance plan, etc.) and concentrate on getting them to throw in the cooler as goodwill. Be very clear about exactly what you want that will satisfy you. If you go in ranting about all sorts of things, they'll surmise that there is nothing they can do to make you happy and you're just the type that will find fault in anything. But if you make it clear you just want them to cover this one item about which you were mislead and this will make you happy, I suspect they'll just eat the $200.

BTW, by escalating so quickly to Honda, you've probably already got them peeved at you. You should always try to work things out at the dealer, giving them a reasonable chance to make things right, before you start going up the chain. It might have been worth $200 to them to avoid having you escalate, but now that you've done it, they're already going to pay the price with Honda in CSI scores.

Good luck.

- Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the feedback. I will concentrate on the cooler. Honestly I just want them to give me the part at this point and I’ll install it when I install the hitch. I have lost all trust in them, including them doing the work. I admit we sort of rushed into this vehicle after my wife found this leftover 2018 model. Had our sights set on a highlander the past 5 months of searching, but this Pilot had the keyless/apple sync features she was looking for and at 30.5k out the door it was way less than others. I’ve always had good experiences with dealers and spoke to salesman who know what they’re talking about. In retrospect I think the saleslady actually thought the car was rated for 5,000lbs because she was adamant even after the fact and I had to get the service manager to finally clarify.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I am here now and the managers I spoke to previously were not here. The folks I spoke to here were very understanding and are installing the cooler today and providing me a loaner car. I’m happy they made it right. I will delete this post.
 

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And they should have, as these kits retail for $100 with free shipping.
You should not delete this post though.
 

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I’m glad to hear the dealer made it right. Congrats on the new Pilot with 5000lb towing capacity!!
 

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Glad it is working out. Car dealers are a crap shoot - some are pretty good, but most are mainly just trying to do the minimum work at maximum profit. It's a tough business right now, dog eat dog, at all levels of the organization.

- Mark
 

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I can almost bet the folks telling you it could tow 5,000 lbs were sure of what they were saying. But just didn’t realize while it is capable of towing that amount it can only do so when equipped to do so. And that includes the ATF cooler. My own experience was even interesting. I paid to have 5,000 lbs accessories installed and for months thought that was what I had until I checked the sticker on the hitch and noticed 3,500 lbs. When I got to the service department, I was told Honda already pre-installed the ATF cooler. If I hadn’t gotten advice here, I would have been lost.


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