Another day, another Jazz although a fully automatic one that are getting rare, moreso as even written-off values have increased but I bagged one just shy of £1400 including auction costs.
Prior to purchase, photos showed two keys with a confirmed sub 40K mileage but there was an ominous scab of rust around one wheelarch that is an anomaly on identical cars of that year. On collection, when battery terminals were connected, it started up first time and gears engaged with that familar lurch of torque converter gearboxes but it wouldn’t move – even in reverse although groans from the brake discs indicated that was where the issue lay. A hammering on brake discs ensued even with another helper but to no avail. One wheel was jacked up that didn’t turn freely so I had to work it to loosen which it did – slightly.
Now I had started to sweat as time ticked and luckily with perseverance, the Jazz rolled despite one grabby wheel that made braking uneven and imbalanced. Low mileage cars can have issues with brakes and rust as they are often stood idol for long periods but that bubbled rust patch seemed odd as the opposite arch was fine.
Green metallic is a rare colour, post 2004 models have a lighter hue so that bonnet replacement could prove to be a problem. Local scrappies offered different coloured bonnets between £60 and £90 but I spied one online at a breakers in Southampton that wanted £74. After a second call, I offered £60 justifying my offer as I had paid for bonnets of similar year cars with that price and surprisingly, it was agreed including delivery. Two days later, it arrived with no blemishes or dents although the top corners were scratched probably from being in a van – it wasn’t even packaged.
Four 10mm bolts secure the bonnet but use a quality spanner as if you round the bolt heads, it will take you far longer to complete what should be a simple procedure. Furthermore, there is no tubing for washer jets to disconnect as they are located on the scuttle. You can change bonnets single-handedly although put thick card or mats on the bonnet corners as you can crack windscreens when bolts are loosened or are undone. With some adjustment, panel gaps were even and the bonnet latched as it should do but I noticed that bumper plastic studs on the slam panel were missing with holes slightly out of alignment so it appeared that the slam panel had moved in the frontal impact that substantiated the category S marker.
The front bumper was salvageable so top studs were removed so that I could get a heatgun behind it to soften the pushed-in plastic. Interrupting my process was one body shop specialist with hands as big as shovels; impatient at my work, he put one palm behind the indentation and popped out the bumper. He also inspected the rust eaten wheel arch and advised a fibreglass reshape as it had crumbled.
The Jazz came with two keyfobs with a main dealer keyring so out of curiosity, I called to discover that the car had a full main dealer service history from new up to 2016 including MOT retests. That added value to the car as the service book was missing so Honda UK promptly emailed an outline of mileage and dates of MOTs and servicing. Confident from this revelation for me, I called up a local dealership to find whether there could be any warranty claim because of the rusting arch and it was duly booked in on Saturday morning. I was ‘greeted’ at Swansway Bolton by one man at the desk who abruptly stated that Honda would reject the claim as there was no service book despite my email verifying main dealer history up until 2016. He retaliated in repeating that there was a servicing gap even though the car had covered only seven thousand miles since the last service. I was also told that rust prevention checks hadn’t been carried out – obviously not by Honda, then ?
When I got back to the dealership one hour later, a paint specialist with paint depth gauge demonstrated that original cars would have a depth of about 0.7mm which wasn’t the case on the passenger side of my Jazz thus rendering my potential warranty case as void. Fair enough and case closed as the specialist politely explained his justifications but a shame that I felt disrespected by the man’s tone when I entered the dealership.
As scrap values undulate, the catalytic converter off this model is prized as an increasing number are being sliced off for their precious metals with some reaching the salvage auctions written-off for that reason. An owner of one garage told me that a customer of his was leaving work when she discovered that her Honda Jazz sounded like a tractor. The garage owner subsequently quoted a £500 replacement fee that included the full exhaust system so the car was sold catalyticless. Apparently, scrap thieves will only remove genuine Honda converters as I suspect as they contain more precious metals.
So, our Jazz will be on its way to have a fresh MOT with bodywork repair within a secure compound – I hope !
Words and photos are copyright of Sotiris Vassiliou