Honda has issued a recall for select 2008 and 2009 Honda Accord sedans affecting more than 300,000 vehicles registered in the U.S. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some of those cars may suffer from a software problem that could cause their airbags to go off without warning.
The problem is rooted in the airbag control unit. In a statement, Honda notes that:
"The [Supplemental Restraint System] threshold setting for the side impact sensor is such that with the vehicle ignition on, if there is a strong, non-vehicular collision impact to the lower body of the vehicle or if a door is shut with extreme force, the SRS control unit may interpret the input as a crash and command the side seat airbag and/or side curtain airbag to deploy.
Obviously, such a deployment of airbags could injure vehicle occupants. If a vehicle is in motion, a deployment would create a significant distraction for the driver of the vehicle, dramatically increasing the risk of an accident. As of mid-October, Honda had received 311 warranty claims and 19 injury claims related to the problem.
The first complaint was filed in January 2008, and Honda subsequently settled a class-action suit filed by owners. As part of that settlement, the automaker extended warranty coverage on the Accord's airbag system, but in August of this year, NHTSA asked Honda to conduct a recall of the affected vehicles.
The recall is limited to 2008-2009 Honda Accord vehicles manufactured January 22, 2007, to June 30, 2008. Honda believes that 303,904 vehicles in the U.S. are affected.
Honda says that it will mail recall notices to owners no later than December 14, 2015. After receiving those notices, owners will be able to take their vehicles to a Honda dealer, who will update the software in the airbag control unit.
Should you have additional questions, you're encouraged to contact Honda customer service at 888-234-2138 and ask about recall #JV4. You can also contact NHTSA at 888-327-4236 and ask about safety campaign #15V665000.