Long-term update: Our Honda S2000’s immobiliser costs as much as 2 iPhones
The Honda S2000 is in a good place when it comes to collectible classics. Aside from the car’s obvious allure, it’s old enough to be rare and interesting, yet new enough to not have to panic when spare parts are needed. The local dealer still offers every conceivable part for the car, which is great for a bespoke roadster that’s been out of production since 2009. And Honda has just announced that they will continue making parts for the car as a heritage model (probably since they literally have nothing heritage-worthy in their current line-up to be proud of). So far in our experience, parts have been reasonably priced as well….until there was an incident.
While we were on vacation for a couple of weeks late last year, our S2000 got towed right from under our home, even with a valid parking permit and with no warning stickers. While we cannot comment further on this impounding without repercussions, let’s just say it was taken straight to an auction yard for storage, and we scrambled to get it back, which required hitting 5 different official locations in the process, because nothing is centralised.
When we found the car at the yard, we realised “they” had literally broken into the car somehow and disconnected the battery to kill the alarm. As soon as we reconnected the battery, the alarm went off, and it took a combination of several door opening-and-closings, bonnet up-and-downs, windows rolled up-and-downs and repeated remote button-pressings to get it to shut up after about 30 minutes.
While there was no visible damage around the windows, “they” did manage to break off a plastic aero flap under the front bumper while getting it onto the tow truck. For our troubles, we had to pay the fine, officially written down as “parked too long,” as well as for several days worth of “storage” charges, as we couldn’t get to it earlier on account of being abroad. Only the owner can retrieve the car.
We managed to drive straight down to the Honda service centre to give the car a once over. The alarm problem cropped up there as well, so the issue was identified. The problem is the car then sat at the dealer for 2 months, with several back-and-forth calls because no one could diagnose and fix the loopy alarm system. The dealer says they even contacted Honda Middle East and they were not particularly useful. The internet forums were also useless, as it seems to be a somewhat common problem (apparently it might happen when the battery is disconnected), but no one listed a clear fix.
In the end, the dealer changed out the entire alarm system (using parts shipped from Japan), with a whopping quote of Dhs 8,500. However, we also got a “5k” service done and replaced the broken plastic fender cowl as well as a window regulator (both damaged from the break-in and each priced at Dhs 1,000+), and being a regular customer, the total bill was negotiated from Dhs 14,000 down to Dhs 9,000.
So we are thankful our damage was superficial, although the costs were sky-high.
On a separate note, we got the front bumper repainted because the previous smart-repair job turned out to be poor. Just for the front bumper, the dealer asked for Dhs 1600 including a full body detail, so we simply walked next door to an independent multi-brand body shop also owned by the same dealer, and got it done for Dhs 1000.
Several months down the line, the car now occasionally likes to lock itself and set off the alarm at random if you sit in the unlocked car without starting it for too long. It’s headed to the dealership again at some point.
So the lesson of the day is, keep an eye on your car, even when you’re not there.
Some photos by Mazin Hussain Chowdhury.
Original Mileage When Bought: 14,900 km
Latest Mileage To Date: 26,021 km
Latest Average Fuel Economy: 13.5 litres/100 km
Cost of Latest Problems: Dhs 8550
Cost of Latest Maintenance: Dhs 450
Total Non-Fuel Running Cost Since Bought: Dhs 30055