Reader Question: Dear Honest Mechanic,
I appreciate your service to the community.
Here is my situation. I have a 2003 Honda Odyssey that recently did not run. You can start the engine but the engine will not follow through. We had the car towed to the Honda Dealer. They sent us a diagnosis the following day. They said that there was contamination on the fuel and that is why it would not run. They gave us an estimate of $1700 to clean the fuel lines, the tank, replace the pump, filter, etc.
This is not right, as we do not know where the possible contamination could have come from. Since we bought the van last December, from the Dealer (used 2003), we have put it to full tank twice and the fuel level was never near empty. We NEVER made a mistake on filling this up with diesel and the car has an alarm so that we do not believe vandalism is the cause.
How could this happen? After discussing with the dealer, they said that one way we can have this paid is through our insurance company. Why would the dealer lie to us or misdiagnose the problem.
Please help me on what to do.
This sounds VERY fishy to me. You could have “bad gas or contaminated fuel and there could be nothing wrong with the pump or the fuel tank. We see this RARELY in my shop, we remove and clean out the fuel tank, replace the fuel filter and spark plugs and install new fuel and the engine starts and runs.
You can call the fuel station where you bought the last tank of fuel to see if anyone else has had this problem. If it really is bad gas, MANY more people will have the same issue, and if it is a major brand of gasoline like SHELL or TEXACO, they will pay for the repairs.
I think your dealer is not telling the truth or they are misdiagnoses the problem. They can take a fuel sample in a glass jar and show you the water or contaminate in the fuel.
I would suspect the fuel pump and fuel tank are fine IF there really is water or something in the fuel. Drain it and do as we do in our shop. Probably it will cost you about $500.
I hope you understand.