Herald Sun - Motoring - - Special Report -

THE 1998 Honda Odyssey with 146,000km at $13,200 sounds pretty im­pres­sive.

But what the classified ad­ver­tise­ment doesn’t tell you is this par­tic­u­lar Honda Odyssey could be a death trap.

It is ex­actly the type of ve­hi­cle Gerry Raleigh is try­ing to get off our roads.

He says it has been writ­ten off, im­prop­erly re­paired and some­how passed through regis­tra­tion checks.

All the hard work of the Honda en­gi­neers has been de­stroyed be­cause the Odyssey is ac­tu­ally two cars cut and shut to­gether.

It’s so badly re­paired that Raleigh was able to tear it apart with a screw­driver.

‘‘If it got hit it would just fall apart,’’ Raleigh says.

‘‘Peo­ple would just be tossed on to the road.’’

And it isn’t only the roof that’s not at­tached prop­erly. All the struc­tural weld­ing is in­suf­fi­cient and not re­in­forced ac­cord­ing to the law.

The rear-passenger seat­belts are not bolted in. The child re­straints are se­cured by only three self-tap­ping screws.

Raleigh be­lieves the car is an ac­ci­dent wait­ing to hap­pen.

‘The anti-skid brakes valve at the rear was only spot-welded on,’’ he says.

‘‘Had that come off the brakes would have been lost or at the very least locked up at the rear. It could have caused a crash.’’

To prove Raleigh’s point about re­pairable write-offs, this Honda had passed through the sys­tem of checks de­signed to stop cars like this re­turn­ing to the road.

It failed its first Ve­hi­cle Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Val­i­da­tion test, but passed two months later on its sec­ond at­tempt. That test­ing is car­ried out specif­i­cally to en­sure a writ­ten-off car is re­paired to an ac­cept­able stan­dard.

The slapped-to­gether car then passed VicRoads regis­tra­tion tests in Jan­uary.

Quan Doung and his wife, Vy, bought the Honda in Jan­uary for Vy’s job fer­ry­ing chil­dren. Raleigh first saw it when it came in with wa­ter leaks.

‘‘This proves the sys­tem is rats---,’’ Raleigh says.

The Doungs say they trusted the cou­ple they bought it from be­cause they re­minded them of their par­ents.

Now they are out of pocket the $12,000 they paid for the car be­cause the seller has claimed he is not re­spon­si­ble and the Doungs should com­plain to VicRoads.

‘‘My wife has lost her job be­cause she can’t carry chil­dren in the car.

‘‘We’re very dis­ap­pointed. Some days my wife and I can’t sleep be­cause of it,’’ Quan says.

But Quan is re­lieved he found the car was de­fec­tive be­fore it struck trou­ble.

‘‘I’ll trade $12,000 for my life. It’s a killer car,’’ he says.

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