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Honda Recalls 807,000 Minivans, SUVs In U.S. For Rollaway Problem


2003 Honda Odyssey

2003 Honda Odyssey

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Honda is certain recalling 2003 and 2004 model year Odyssey minivans and Pilot SUVs and Acura MDX SUVs from the 2003 through 2006 model years for an ignition interlock issue that may lead to a vehicle rollaway when the keys are removed.

A notice on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website puts the number of vehicles potentially affected in the U.S. at 807,161. The number includes approximately 318,000 Honda Odysseys, 259,000 Honda Pilots and 230,000 Acura MDX SUVs. Affected vehicles were built from November 26, 2001 through August 30, 2006.

2003 Honda Pilot

2003 Honda Pilot

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The problem

According to documentation from Honda (PDF) submitted to the NHTSA, a potential defect exists in the ignition interlock of the subject vehicle population. The automaker said that an ignition switch design change reduced ignition switch rotation from 160 degrees (in earlier designs) to 120 degrees, but with no corresponding change to the ignition interlock blocking mechanism.

As a result of the inconsistency, Honda said that the driver may need to apply excessive rotational force on the ignition key when attempting to remove it when the gear selector is not in the Park position. This can result in potential damage to the ignition interlock lever such that it may be possible for the driver to remove the ignition key when the gear selector is not in Park. If this happens, the vehicle may roll away, increasing the risk of a crash.

As we reported in October, the NHTSA had opened a preliminary evaluation (PE-12026) into alleged ignition interlock failures in 2003-2004 Honda Odyssey and Pilot vehicles. At the time, the agency’s Office of Defect Investigations (ODI) said it had received 42 complaints alleging ignition interlock failures, including 26 involving rollaway incidents and 16 that involved a collision.

2003 Acura MDX

2003 Acura MDX

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Honda said that, in support of PE-12026, it has received 252 warranty claims for the Odyssey, Pilot and MDX from August 14, 2003 through September 30, 2012. Honda also points out that the 2003-2006 Acura MDX was not part of PE-12026 and was not investigated by the automaker beyond examining its warranty claims.

Excluding the Acura MDX, Honda said it counted 19 field reports, including one crash allegation, from February 6, 2008 through September 30, 2012, and 113 customer complaints, including two allegations of injury and 27 crash allegations, from November 3, 2003 through September 30, 2012.

2005 Acura MDX

2005 Acura MDX

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What Honda will do

Honda will notify owners of vehicles involved in the safety recall beginning on, or about, February 7, 2013, advising them to take their vehicles to a Honda or Acura dealer. The dealer will install an updated shift interlock lever and, if necessary, replace the ignition system. The service will be performed at no charge.

In the meantime, owners of 2003-2004 Honda Odysseys and Pilots may contact Honda at 1-800-999-1007 or go online to www.recalls.honda.com. Owners of 2003-2006 Acura MDX vehicles with any questions or concerns may call Acura at 1-800-382-2238 or go online to www.recalls.acura.com  Reference the respective safety recall campaign numbers: S73 (Honda Odyssey, Pilot) and S74 (Acura MDX).

Alternatively, owners of vehicles involved in the campaign may contact NHTSA’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or go to http://www.safercar.gov.  Reference the NHTSA campaign ID No. 12V573000.

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