Honda expands its recall for faulty airbags
The 2001 Honda Civic is one of the vehicles affected in the recall. Image: miggell1/Flickr/CC BY

Honda Motor Co. is expanding an earlier recall of Civic, Accord and other models for possible defects in its airbags. About 304,000 vehicles are being recalled in this expansion. The defect could send potentially fatal plastic and metal shards flying when the airbag is deployed in an accident. The recall was announced by the Japanese automaker on Dec. 2.

Vehicles go back a decade

The recall affects the Honda Civic, Accord, Pilot, Odyssey, CR-V and other models from 2001 to 2003. It is the single largest recall by the automaker over the same issue.

This current recall is an expansion of earlier recalls issued in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Although 90 percent of the affected cars are in the U.S., Honda is also recalling 27,000 in Canada, about 2,000 vehicles in Japan and another 2,000 in other countries.

Deploys too forcefully

The driver’s side airbag in the recalled vehicles could potentially deploy too forcefully in an accident. This force could cause the casing of the inflation mechanism to shatter and send pieces flying.

Chris Martin, a spokesman of the automaker, said:

“The propellant was packed improperly, and that allows the propellant to burn off too quickly, and it explodes, and pieces of the casing are causing the injuries.”

Two fatalities reported

The potentially dangerous airbag inflator was manufactured using parts from the Japanese supplier Takata. According to the automaker, at this time the defective inflator has been involved in 18 injuries, as well as two fatalities. The fatal accidents both occurred in the U.S. in 2009.

Honda also plans to inspect 603,000 other vehicles to see if the defective parts have been used to repairs vehicles that have been in accidents.

Honda also recalled more than 300,000 Pilots in September. That recall was over seat belts that could potential come lose in an accident.

These recalls are a severe blow to the Japanese company, which was the only major automaker to post a drop in U.S. sales in November.

Continued setbacks for Honda

Honda is still recovering from productivity setbacks related to multiple natural disasters. Masatoshi Nishimoto, a senior manager for IHS Automotive in Tokyo, said:

“A recall will definitely have a negative impact on Honda. Honda is behind on production due to the impact of the Japanese earthquake and the Thai floods.”

Honda will send recall notices to owners later in December. Honda owners who think they may be affected can go to www.recalls.honda.com.

Sources

Automotive News: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20111202/OEM01/111209969/1143

Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/02/honda-recalls-airbags_n_1124859.html

Los Angeles Times: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/money_co/2011/12/honda-recall-airbags.html

 

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