Mark Giammalvo specializes in driveability diagnostics at his family business, Sam Giammalvo's Auto Sales & Service, Inc. in New Bedford, MA.
Mark, who has been with the business for
over 20 years, is an ASE
Master Technician and Parts Specialist. He also holds the ASE
L1 certification, and has an associates degree
in business management.
"You Learn Something Everyday"
(Printed in the Journal
of The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers, AASP)
It's been said often in the automotive industry that "You learn something every day."
That brief statement sure held true for me recently. While checking the shop's email, I came across one from a Honda Civic owner in Rhode Island. The writer had stumbled on our web site while browsing the Internet. The writer gave us some compliments on our web site and then went on to question us about a trunk water leak he could not locate on two Honda Civics that he owns. In his lengthy email, he wanted to know if I could find any service bulletins or related information on IATN regarding leaking Civics. I checked our Alldata system and did not come across any bulletins regarding water leaks in the trunk area. In addition, I checked IATN but that search also came up dry. I fired back a reply indicting my results and I also included Alldata's web address so that he could purchase the Honda information if he so desired. I must say that I was surprised when he sent me a response that stated that Alldata would not sell him any Honda service information. To be exact, his reply stated: "I appreciate your checking IATN. Unfortunately, I had already checked alldata.com for the Honda service bulletins before I sent you the previous email and their website stated: American Honda Motor Company has requested ALLDATA to deny access to Acura and Honda repair information. Effective immediately you will not be able to register for access to Acura or Honda vehicle repair information, Technical Service Bulletins or Recalls."
Naturally, I was very concerned with the accuracy of what this guy said Alldata told him. We all know that technical information in this industry is hard enough to get now. The last thing we need is a manufacturer totally slamming the door on us. Now I decided I would go on line to the customer-order area of the Alldata web site. Sure enough, whenever I clicked on Honda or Acura as a model I got the identical disclaimer message as this customer had claimed. It was time to call Alldata directly for some answers.
As luck would have it, my Alldata representative was awaiting a call back from me this week anyway regarding our annual contract renewal. I called my representative to see if he could shed some light on this issue. Interestingly, the Alldata representative was well aware of the Honda/Acura information issue. Even more surprising to me was the fact that this information lockout had been going on for about three years now. Fortunately, he assured me that we as repairers would still have access to the information. Honda/Acura has only requested that Alldata stop selling it directly to vehicle owners. When I asked if any other companies had this odd request, he stated that BMW was the only other company that had requested they suspended sales of information to its vehicle owners.
In closing, I am not sure why Honda/Acura & BMW have decided to withhold service information from its vehicle owners. The same Some on the repair side might say that this is a good thing in that it gives us the technicians a service advantage. I suppose that is true. One could also argue that a person dishing out $30,000 on a vehicle ought to have the right to purchase factory service information for their investment.
As a side note, I did hear back from the Civic owner again. He stated that he called American Honda to inquire as to why he can not purchase the information from Alldata. He quoted the Honda representative as stating: "Because Alldata is an outside company trying to get access to these Honda Service Bulletins for free and then reselling them for a profit."
That excuse does not seem to wash in that they still allow Alldata to sell the information to us as repairers. Who knows? Something tells me we have not heard the last of this issue.
As they say in the automotive service industry, "You learn something every day."