Dear Tom and Ray:
Recently, I purchased a new Honda Accord coupe with a four-cylinder engine and manual transmission. This is the first nice car I’ve owned, and I baby it so it will last forever. In fact, in the first 8,000 miles, it has never seen 75 mph or gone over 4,000 rpm. Recently, my brother visited during the holidays. He wanted to drive it, and I obliged. As I handed him the keys, I said, It’s never been driven hard. He then proceeded to back the car out and hit the rev limiter twice! We drove another mile to the highway, and he did it again. I was very upset, to say the least, but I didn’t say anything. The next morning, I swear it took forever to warm up, and then made a funny clicking noise that hasn’t gone away. I know the rev limiter is there for a reason, but what kind of damage could have been done? I’m mainly concerned because the car had been sitting in 15-to-20-degree weather for hours. Should I take it to the dealer, or will they give me the runaround? I still haven’t forgiven him, and he’ll never drive my car again. -- Tim
RAY: Your brother needs to explore why he’s an unparalleled jerk. It’s YOUR car, so your wishes should be respected. You asked him to drive it gently, and yet he drove it like it belonged to Joe Stalin.
TOM: Now, having said that, you’ve clearly learned an important lesson here, Tim: Never, ever trust your brother when it comes to cars.
RAY: As for your car, Tim, we don’t know what the clicking sound is. But we can give you some possibilities. It could be something relatively simple, like a valve that’s sticky or out of adjustment.
TOM: Or it could be something awful, like bearing damage or piston slap.
RAY: Fortunately, I don’t think your brother did anything to void your car’s warranty. This car’s computer physically prevents you from exceeding the rev limit. And I don’t think Honda can refuse you warranty service for simply going UP TO the rev limit, not over it.
TOM: Although, for your information (and the information of our readers), what your brother did was mind-achingly stupid. When it’s freezing cold outside and you’ve just started the car, and the oil is cold and thick, that’s the absolute worst time to rev up the engine. Absolutely the worst.