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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been dealing with the Honda customer service team for about a month regarding an issue related to my Passport and I figured I'd share the results here so that other folks can be aware of their response and stance on it.

About a month ago my 2021 Passport with < 4000 miles died in the school parking lot. It would not start, the digital dash displayed nothing, etc... I have AAA, so I called them to come tow it. They sent a flatbed and the driver would not tow it because he did not have knowledge nor the special tool to get the vehicle into neutral because of the transmission being electronic shift. A day later a tow vehicle with a lift and dolly system was sent and was able to tow the vehicle to my Honda dealer. After about a week they were able to diagnose and repair the issue which was a faulty key FOB receiver in the vehicle.

Meanwhile, I began my case with Honda customer service regarding my inability to shift the vehicle into neutral without a special tool (Genuine OEM Honda Lock Release Part# 07AAA-TZ3A100 Fits Honda Parts Wholesale) that I propose should be included with every passport sold and certainly should not cost $300 MSRP. After about a month of working with the Honda rep on the phone they were able to get a determination from my regional VPSM that they could not give nor sell me the tool because it is for dealers only. Their proposed solution was to call Honda Care for towing because they said those drivers are guaranteed to have the tool. I asked how long my Honda Care towing lasts and they responded 1 yr or 36k miles. I intend to keep the vehicle longer that and I explained that I should not be forced to enter into a extended service contract with a preferred Honda provider because they are the only one who have access to a tool which allows my vehicle to safely be moved in neutral. My next step is to contact Honda Care and ask for Honda Care for the life of the vehicle. I'm sure it won't go well but I will let you know what I find out.

I personally think that the only way to ensure reliable access to the tool is for it to be given to each Passport owner with their vehicle. I also think that is a more correct solution than calling Honda Care or having to go through them exclusively for towing. This whole experience has me quite frustrated. After owning about 10 Hondas over the past 20 years I don't think I'll buy another because of this poor product level decision making.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah I understand there is always a way to do it but I'd like a way that doesn't mean I assume responsibility for a damaged transmission on a practically new vehicle. I think it was a poor design on Honda's part and I shouldn't have to rig something to perform a basic mechanical operation.
 

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Just summing this up. Your not buying a Honda any more because your current Honda lacks the ability to be put into neutral when there is a loss of power to the vehicle. You also would like no help from this forum in solving this problem. Thanks for sharing your opinion, I guess?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
No. I think you're rather missing the point. I am posting here so that people are aware of Honda's official stance on this issue. If others experience the same type of issue and find the same faults in their response that I do it could help create pressure for them to change their stance. I also find it somewhat concerning from a legal perspective given the types of cases that have been coming up around "right to repair" as well as them making a product decision which almost mandates you use them exclusively as a roadside assistance provider. I keep buying Honda because of the high quality of vehicles and their excellent customer service. Neither of these things have been the case with this experience.
 

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Just summing this up. Your not buying a Honda any more because your current Honda lacks the ability to be put into neutral when there is a loss of power to the vehicle. You also would like no help from this forum in solving this problem. Thanks for sharing your opinion, I guess?
I think the OP has a point. BTW, he discussed any issue which might require towing a vehicle, not only loss of power. There are certainly situations in which a Honda Care towing response isn't desired nor available nor available in a timely fashion, especially with safety in mind.

Just because you don't agree that Honda is going to extremes to make things difficult and generate income doesn't mean you are correct. I would guess the vast majority of owners agree that the OP's concern is warranted. For what concerns this towing issue, Honda's product and response is not acceptable.
 

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No. I think you're rather missing the point. I am posting here so that people are aware of Honda's official stance on this issue. If others experience the same type of issue and find the same faults in their response that I do it could help create pressure for them to change their stance.
Dually noted...that wasn't clear earlier.

BTW, he discussed any issue which might require towing a vehicle, not only loss of power.
If you have power, you can put it in neutral via the normal interface. This special tool really only applies in a power loss that requires towing.


P.S. I'm not saying it doesn't suck. For me personally I feel the likelihood of this happening is low and it seems a bit overblown. Especially when others on this awesome forum have provided some very valid options to solve this actual problem.
 

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If you have power, you can put it in neutral via the normal interface. This special tool really only applies in a power loss that requires towing.


P.S. I'm not saying it doesn't suck. For me personally I feel the likelihood of this happening is low and it seems a bit overblown. Especially when others on this awesome forum have provided some very valid options to solve this actual problem.
No doubt there are other electronic or mechanical failure modes which prevent unlocking the transmission which don't involve total power loss.

While innovative solutions which replace the Honda tool do exist, the fact is these are not easily duplicated or deployed by most owners.
 

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Here in NY, certain roads are contracted out so I don't think a Honda approved towing service would be universally available. I believe it's the same with AAA as well. Apparently socket extensions are required for use with the tool as well.
 

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Especially when others on this awesome forum have provided some very valid options to solve this actual problem.
The greater majority of Honda Passport owners are not on this forum or on any car forum at all and they are likely to be stumped if they ever have to tow their vehicles at anytime during their ownership because they don't know a special tool is needed or you can make your own. Aside that, asking Passport owners to call Honda Care in order to be linked with what will probably be a limited number of tow operators who have the rare Neutral Unlock Tool seems rather strange for a vehicle Honda suggests owners can take into the great wild beyond.

I agree with the OP, Honda should have provided the Neutral Unlock Tool free for all owners much like it provided a free funnel (of specific design) for situations when one needs to fuel the vehicle from a gas can.
 

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Last year you could get the neutral unlock tool for $50 on Ebay. The price jumped rapidly to $150, then was not available. Not sure why Honda wants approx. $300 for the same thing.

Available for $236 at Bernardi Honda.
 

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After about a week they were able to diagnose and repair the issue which was a faulty key FOB receiver in the vehicle.
Sorry about your experience. Can you please share the part number of the item replaced by your dealer if you know? Parts that fail in Honda cars tend to be the same in all vehicles that have similar problems, if I ever have a similar experience I want to be able to point the service people at what they can look at first instead of waiting a week while they go through a mile long checklist.
The failure in your car is not likely to be a common occurrence but it's one of the scenarios that gives me nightmares about modern cars - newish car dead on the side of the road and owner completely stumped about what is going on, sorry jumper cables won't help.
 

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We just received one from Brannon Honda in Alabama. $194 plus shipping and tax. It was on backorder for about a month, but they came thru o.k. and received it in the mail a few days ago. It's kind of a bunch of poopoo that Honda doesn't offer these to new buyers for a reasonable price. Just another way to get mo money! Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Sorry about your experience. Can you please share the part number of the item replaced by your dealer if you know? Parts that fail in Honda cars tend to be the same in all vehicles that have similar problems, if I ever have a similar experience I want to be able to point the service people at what they can look at first instead of waiting a week while they go through a mile long checklist.
The failure in your car is not likely to be a common occurrence but it's one of the scenarios that gives me nightmares about modern cars - newish car dead on the side of the road and owner completely stumped about what is going on, sorry jumper cables won't help.
So I did get the part number that was replaced. It is 38320-TGS-A11
 

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It really should come with the vehicle. My niece has a Range Rover and in the manual it shows a lever under the hood that will release it out of park should it have to be towed.
 

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Just a note the ZF 9HP transmission is used in certain models with the following manufacturers. So you'll want to check before changing manufacture to find out you got the same transmission.
Acura
Chrysler
Fiat
Opel /Vauxhall
Honda
Infiniti
Jeep
Ram trucks
Land Rover
Jaguar
Nissan
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yeah next time I know what question I'm going to ask the sales guy before I buy. I just think that, especially given how they are trying to position this vehicle, there ought to be a tool-less system for it. I mean if I take the passport out to some of the places they show on the commercials or go overlanding, like JonDZ, and my issue were to occur... would Honda Care come out and get it into neutral and tow it out of there? Doubtful. So not an appropriate solution to my concern. Since they decided to make a special tool to engage this it ought to be provided for the customers that want it.

At the end of the day I'm just going to order the darn thing, even though I've been told that those dealerships aren't allowed to sell it because of liability concerns. I will probably also continue to buy Hondas even though this passport has been a bit of a PITA. Other than the initial quality issues and my issue with this engineering design decision I actually really like the vehicle. I am concerned however that it will not make it anywhere close to the 181k miles I had on my CRV which I traded in, without significant issues.
 

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Honda really messed up not just copying what FCA/Stellantis did with their ZF 9HP vehicles. Just a little pull tab somewhere near the shifter or on the dash to force it into neutral instead of a "special tool required"

Neutral override in a Chrysler Pacifica:
 

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Honda really messed up not just copying what FCA/Stellantis did with their ZF 9HP vehicles. Just a little pull tab somewhere near the shifter or on the dash to force it into neutral instead of a "special tool required"

Neutral override in a Chrysler Pacifica:
That Chrysler transmission neutral force implementation is just awesome. I expect Honda will review it's own implementation in future designs especially when it's button press gear selector vehicles get older and they start seeing higher numbers of assisted shop visits.
 
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