My first car was a 1986 Honda Civic Hatchback. Powder blue. Manual transmission. It was awesome. It looked just like this. It was mostly indestructable… until it wasn’t anymore. Ever since I have loved Hondas.

I currently own two Hondas. A 2001 Civic sedan and a 2005 CR-V. I’m a Hondavangelist! I tell everyone what reliable, safe, long-lasting cars they are.

My Civic has over 147,000 miles. I just had some work done recently and in the process the battery needed to be disconnected. Honda has it set up so that when the car radio disconnects from the battery it thinks it is being stolen and so it locks itself. When I bought the car I was given a little card with the unlock code. I have since lost it. My fault. And so for the last few days I have been driving my 1-hour-each-way commute with no form of audible entertainment, save for my rather loud and animated version of American Idol (commuter edition!).

Anyhow, I called up the Honda dealership to get my unlock code. Afterall, they gave it to me – so they can get it again. They know I own the car. I can prove that. I bought the car from them. They can prove that. Honda’s solution? Bring the car in, we’ll rip out the radio to get the serial number and then we can look up the code with that. That’ll be $90.

Obviously that wasn’t going to happen. So I hit the blogs. Found this extremely helpful blog with extremely helpful comments. By reading those I was able to get my radio’s serial number simply by pressing 1 & 6 while turning the radio on. Then it was just a simple phone call to get the unlock code.

Now my question is… If I had brought my car into Honda, would they have ripped the dash apart to remove the radio to get the serial number printed on the back… or would they have pressed 1 & 6 like I did and still charged me $90?

This is the type of scenario that causes people to seriously question their brand loyalty. You can sell the best product on the planet, but if your customer service stinks you will ultimately fail. I hope Honda wakes up and fixes the little things like this, and continue to focus on the bigger things… like making great cars.