2003 Acura TLEnlarge Photo
2002 Honda Accord Cpe EXEnlarge Photo
In November 2008, around the same time that Big Three automakers were making repeat visits to Washington to request federal support, Honda began having troubles of its own -- specifically, troubles with airbags in the 2001 Honda Accord and Honda Civic. The company immediately issued a recall for about 4,000 automobiles, then in July of last year, Honda dramatically expanded that recall by nearly 440,000 units, adding the 2002 Accord and the 2002/2003 Acura TL to the list. Now, the recall has enlarged by another 378,758 vehicles: the complete list includes the 2001 and 2002 Honda Accord; the 2001 and 2002 Honda Civic; the 2001 and 2002 Honda Odyssey; the 2001 and 2002 Honda CR-V; and the 2002 and 2003 Acura TL.
The problem centers on the airbag inflator, which can deploy with too much pressure. That, in turn, can shatter the inflator casing and send metal fragments through the airbag itself. The company has acknowledged 12 incidents related to the problem, one of which resulted in death. With the expansion, the recall now affects 826,425 vehicles in the U.S. and an additional 125,693 outside the country.
It's important to note that the recall doesn't affect every one of the units mentioned above. If you own one of these models, visit http://owners.honda.com/recalls (for Hondas) or http://owners.acura.com/recalls/ (for Acuras) and enter your VIN to see if your car is on the list. If you'd prefer to speak to a representative, Honda owners can call 800-999-1009 and Acura owners can call 800-382-2238. When calling, be sure to select menu option #4.
It's also important to note that the recall is entirely voluntary on Honda's part -- but then, given the fiasco brewing at Toyota, it's not surprising that Honda is taking such precautions. In a conference call last night, John Mendel, executive vice president at American Honda Motor Company, admitted that "There's a heightened sensitivity right now with anything to do with recalls." No kidding.
If you'd like to read the updated memo from Honda, we've pasted it below. The company has said that it will post additional information about the recall at 2:00pm PST (aka Closing Time ET) this Friday, Februray 12.
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American Honda Motor Co., Inc has expanded a previously announced recall of certain 2001 and 2002 model-year vehicles to replace the driver’s airbag inflator in an additional 378,758 vehicles in the U.S. The driver’s airbag inflators in these vehicles may deploy with too much pressure, which can cause the inflator casing to rupture and could result in injury or fatality.
In total, American Honda is aware of 12 incidents related to this issue as of February 2010. While American Honda was aware of two additional events when the decision to first expand the recall was made in July 2009, we are not aware of any new events that have occurred after July 2009. However, we have concluded that we cannot be completely certain that the driver’s airbag inflator in the vehicles being added to this recall at this time will perform as designed. Therefore, we have decided to add certain 2001 and 2002 Accord, Civic, Odyssey, CR-V, and selected 2002 Acura TL vehicles to this recall.
American Honda is announcing this recall expansion to encourage all owners of these vehicles to take their vehicle to an authorized dealer as soon as they receive notification from American Honda that their vehicle is affected. Notification to customers will start within this month.