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Q: Rock knocked out my AC, is it bad quality?

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Apparently a rock bounced up and broke the AC compressor in my 2006 Honda Odyssey. I don’t mean to be nit-picky, but shouldn’t a car that is made to exist in the same world as actual roads at least be able to handle small pebbles bouncing around? Did Honda think the roads here were all spotless? Is there some way to protect the condenser once I replace it? This van is at 40,000 miles and I do not want to replace this part again.

A: Honda knows about this condition on the Ody...

Honda knows about this condition on the Odyssey model (along with other models) and there is plenty of evidence on this issue. The issue is that a small rock (pebble) is able penetrate the front grille at a sufficient speed to impact the air conditioning condenser with damaging force. The only way it affects the air conditioning system is when it punctures the condenser causing the refrigerant to leak, rendering the system incapable of producing cold air. So if your A/C still works, even with the impact on it(minimal in size), it is not required to replace any components at this time. If the impact caused a puncture then the air conditioning condenser needs to be replaced and the system recharged with refrigerant. Honda and its dealers have no corrective action to perform in order for this not to happen again but an aftermarket repair company such as YourMechanic could help you with this repair and offer some options that are available protection against this happening again (such as a grille insert). It comes down to the fact that the Honda air conditioning condenser is unduly prone to damage caused by “normal” road debris that does not affect other auto manufacturer’s designs. While Honda could offer simple available corrective measures to prevent this, they would rather not admit to a mistake (paying to fix them), so they classified it as normal and working according to design, merely affected by “road hazards”. Road hazards are not covered under warranty (like a rock hitting the windshield).

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