Honda is recalling certain 2007 and 2008 Odyssey minivans for a problem that may result in unexpected braking.
A notice on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website puts the number of vehicles potentially affected by the recall at 344,187. Affected vehicles were built from August 8, 2006 through September 8, 2008.
According to the NHTSA bulletin and Honda documentation (PDF), the problem is due to a combination of Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system components and software “unique” to 2007-2008 model year Odyssey vehicles that may make it possible for the VSA to “apply the brakes unexpectedly.”
The vehicle may brake hard suddenly and without warning and without illuminating the brake lights. This increases the risk of a crash from behind.
The NHTSA had opened a preliminary investigation (PE13024) into the issue in June, following receipt of 22 complaints alleging instances of unexpected braking. Some of the complaints alleged the vehicle applied the brakes even as the accelerator was being applied, dropping vehicle speed as much as 30 mph in a short period of time. Ten complaints said that the dealer was unable to find a trouble code and was unsuccessful in diagnosing the problem.
Honda said that prior to the NHTSA’s opening of the probe it had received two claims of unexpected braking, in April and October 2012, but was unable to recreate the event during testing. As of June 2013, Honda has received 109 warranty claims and 205 field reports related to this issue (as outlined in PE13024) but no reports of crashes or injuries.
What Honda will do
Due to the number of parts required to fix the recall population, Honda won’t be able to advise owners to bring their vehicles to the dealer for repair for about four months (Spring 2014). In early December, the automaker will sent out an interim letter to owners advising them how to prevent unintended braking. A second owner notification letter will be sent out when parts are available.
In the meantime, owners of 2007 and 2008 Honda Odyssey minivans with any questions or concerns may contact Honda at 1-800-999-1009, referencing the Honda safety recall No. JC5.
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. 13V500000.