Honda is recalling nearly 144,000 U.S.-registered vehicles to fix a software flaw associated with the cars' continuously variable transmission system. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the glitch could cause serious mechanical problems, increasing the risk of an accident.
NHTSA's official recall notice simply says that Honda's software can cause damage to the drive pulley shaft. A statement directly from Honda, however, explains the issue in greater detail:
"Affected vehicles have CVT control software that is written to use high hydraulic pressure during certain CVT operation modes, which as a result may subject the drive pulley shaft to high stress. In addition, during manufacturing of the drive pulley shaft, some parts may have been produced at the low end of the hardness specification. If shafts with lower hardness are repeatedly subjected to the specific high hydraulic pressure modes, it may result in the shaft breaking during operation."
Should the shaft break break while a vehicle is in motion, the car may lose its ability to accelerate, and/or the front wheels might lock up. Both circumstances make it far harder for a driver to control the vehicle, boosting the risk of a collision.
The bad news is, Honda has received at least 23 reports of damage to the drive pulley shaft. The good news is that none of those incidents involved accidents or injuries.
The recall affects the following models:
All told, 143,676 vehicles registered in the U.S. are affected.
Honda says that recall notices will be mailed to owners no later than October 16, 2015. After receiving those notices, owners will be able to take their vehicles to a Honda dealer, who will upgrade the transmission software, free of charge.
Should you have further questions, you're encouraged to contact Honda customer service at 888-234-2138 and ask about recall JU2 (for the Honda Civic) and JU3 (for the Honda Fit). If you like, you can also call NHTSA at 888-327-4236 and ask about safety campaign #15V574000.