‘Of its own accord’— US government investigates Honda Accords’ phantom steering

Washington, D.C. – June 2, 2021 – An arm of the U.S. government that regulates vehicle safety is investigating Honda (NYSE:HMC) after reports that certain 2013-2015 Honda Accords are experiencing sudden steering failure, greatly increasing the risk of an accident.  Up to 1,120,470 vehicles are potentially affected.

The investigation could eventually lead to a Honda Accord recall, but it is unclear when and if this would begin.

The investigation 

The regulator, the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), opened the investigation on May 6, after reviewing a total of 32 complaints of steering failure in 2013-2015 Accords. The complaints indicate that the cars may “veer or jerk out of the intended path of travel,” without any input from the driver or warning signs. 

Background of the investigation

The investigation comes on the heels of a petition by Terrie Haggey, a 2013 Honda Accord driver who petitioned NHTSA to look into an “alarming pattern of power steering failures.”  The related repairs are currently not covered under Honda’s current warranty policy. 

In response to Haggey’s request, NHTSA asked Honda to provide additional information and found out that there have been 77 instances of power steering failure stemming from this issue. The agency is currently conducting engineering analysis, a stage of the investigation process that may result in a recall. 

If a recall is initiated, any necessary repairs will be free for drivers.

Terrifying driver experiences

Drivers have been narrating their personal experiences related to this issue since at least 2018. According to one complaint, a driver “collided with the guard wall” after being unable to control the car, which veered “in and out of lanes sharply” on its volition. The driver suffered physical injuries and continues to be haunted by the accident. “Worst of all,” the complaint letter stated, “I suffer from nightmares and I have difficulty sleeping.” 

Another person observed the steering wheel turning “really fast on its own to the left” when they let go of it.

Crashes and injuries

According to NHTSA, the “phantom steering wheel” has so far led to at least two crashes and several injuries.

Previous investigation

Starting in November 2014, NHTSA led a separate investigation of the 2013 Honda Accord over reports of power steering failure, with some reports also describing the steering wheel jerking left or right, veering off-course. That investigation, however, did not result in the 2013 Honda Accord recall as NHTSA deemed that the steering failures were “rare” and that the rate of failures was declining. 

Recent Honda Accord recalls

In December, over 235,000 2013-2015 Honda Accords were subject to a different recall due to a potential loss of power.  It is not clear if the recall included 2013 Honda Accord Sport, 2013 Honda Accord Coupe, 2013 Honda Accord EX L.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 1.1 million vehicles may become part of this recall. Bookmark our free vehicle lookup tool to check back later, or use it now to see if there are any other recalls on your vehicle that need to be repaired.

Rebecca Rand‘Of its own accord’— US government investigates Honda Accords’ phantom steering

Honda recalls over 600,000 cars that may stall

Torrance, CA – April 6, 2021 – Honda (NYSE:HMC) has expanded a previous recall to include 628,124 of additional vehicles with faulty fuel pumps that may cause the car to stall. The pumps are manufactured by Denso, (OTCMKTS:DNZOY) – an auto parts maker that forms part of the Toyota Group – that is behind this and other recalls by major car manufacturers starting last summer.

 This recall includes:

  • 2019 Acura ILX 
  • 2019 – 2020 Acura MDX
  • 2019 – 2020 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid
  • 2019 – 2020 Acura RDX
  • 2019 – 2020 Acura TLX
  • 2019 – 2020 Honda Accord
  • 2019 Honda Accord Hybrid
  • 2019 – 2020 Honda Civic
  • 2019 – 2020 Honda Civic Hatchback
  • 2019 Honda Civic Type-R
  • 2018 – 2019 Honda CR-V
  • 2019 Honda Fit
  • 2019 Honda HR-V 
  • 2019 – 2020 Honda Insight
  • 2019 Honda Odyssey
  • 2019 Honda Passport 
  • 2019 Honda Pilot
  • 2019 Honda Ridgeline

Recall summary  

The Denso fuel pumps at the center of the recall have a small plastic component, called an impeller, that sucks gas from a car’s fuel tank to pump it into the engine. Some of the impellers were manufactured in a way that can cause the plastic to weaken and become misshapen, causing the whole fuel pump to malfunction. Without a pump moving fuel into the engine, the car might not start or could stall while driving.

Background of the recall

The original Honda recall was announced in May of last year and included some of the model and model years listed above. Overall, Denso had manufactured over two million defective pumps which has caused Toyota. Honda and Subaru to recall their cars starting last summer.

Warning signs

The driver may be alerted to the fuel pump malfunction if he or she notices that the malfunction indicator light (MIL) or the master warning indicator come on. Additionally, the engine may run “rough” when the car is started or idled. This means that you may hear weird noises or feel the car vibrate or shake. Take the car in for repair as soon as you notice these signs to keep the situation from getting worse.

Risks

You can read more about the risks posed by these faulty fuel pumps in our article about Toyota’s Denso fuel pump recall.

The repair

Honda and Acura dealers will replace the fuel pump assembly for free. Notifications with more information about when and how to seek repairs will be sent to owners starting on May 18.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 628,000 vehicles are included in this Honda and Acura recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandHonda recalls over 600,000 cars that may stall

Honda CR-V vehicles recalled for window switch issue

Torrance, CA – January 18, 2021 – Honda Motor Company (NYSE:HMC) has recalled 268,655 Honda CR-V vehicles, due to a faulty power window switch. If moisture enters the power window master switch, the switch may fail or melt, increasing the risk of a fire. The recall includes 2002-2006 Honda CR-V vehicles.

Recall summary  

Power windows in these cars are operated by a master switch located in the door panel. Heavy rain may cause water to enter the driver’s side window. If the water reaches these Honda CR-Vs’ power window master switch, it may damage the switch’s circuit board, causing the switch to fail. In some cases, it may also result in a short circuit, which may overheat and melt the switch connectors. This situation can lead to a fire.

Risks 

If the driver’s side power windows do not operate correctly, the issue may distract the driver, increasing the risk of a crash. In addition, the water issue may cause a fire, which can injure the car occupants and greatly up the risk of a crash.

As of November 2020, the manufacturer has been notified of 23 fires related to this recall, as well as 87 “thermal events,” such as melting and smoke.

Second recall

Honda originally recalled the same vehicles for an identical power window switch issue in 2012. However, customers continued to report thermal events. Honda found that the problem actually occurred more often in the vehicles that had had the recall repair. This second recall will replace rather than simply repair the switch.

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers will need to replace the power window CR-V master switch. Dealers will also inspect the wiring harness –  which is a set of wires and connectors that power the vehicle – and replace it  if necessary.

The repair is free of charge, and Honda expects the recall to begin January 18, 2021.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 250,000 vehicles are included in this Honda CR-V 2006 recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydHonda CR-V vehicles recalled for window switch issue

Honda CR-V, Accord, Insight recalled for battery charging issue

Torrance, CA – January 14, 2021 – Honda Motor Company (NYSE:HMC) has recalled 27,838 vehicles due to an issue that may prevent the 12-volt battery from recharging properly. If the battery does not recharge, the vehicle may  lose power. The recall includes: 

  • 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid SUVs
  • 2020 Honda Accord Hybrid sedans
  • 2020-2021 Honda Insight hybrid sedans

Recall summary  

The 12-volt battery provides backup power for electrically-powered vehicles. If the vehicle’s hybrid battery is depleted, the 12-volt battery serves as an additional power source.

An excess amount of fuel additives and cold temperatures can cause “overvoltage” of a power converter unit (PCU), which powers these cars’ 12-volt battery. This may prevent that battery from recharging and may drain the car battery. Drivers may be alerted to the possibility of that happening when the 12-volt battery warning light is illuminated, and a warning message is displayed.

If both the hybrid battery and the 12-volt battery are depleted, the vehicle may lose all power, which increases the risk of a crash. 

Risks 

While there have been no reports of crashes or injuries related to the issue, there have been 53 warranty claims and 65 field reports as of December 10, 2020. 

The loss of battery power creates a number of risks:

  • Drivers may not be able to accelerate to enter a traffic lane or to avoid other vehicles and prevent an accident.
  • If the vehicle loses power on a highway or at higher speeds, it is at risk of getting hit.
  • The driver and occupants may be stranded in extreme weather in a vehicle with no power.

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers will need to update the software in the PCU. The repair is free of charge. Honda expects the recall to begin on February 25, 2021. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 27,800 vehicles are included in this Honda Accord recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydHonda CR-V, Accord, Insight recalled for battery charging issue

Honda recalls Accord and Insight cars for potential multi-component malfunction

Torrance, CA – December 24, 2020– Honda (NYSE: HMC) is recalling 737,233 Accord and Insight cars with a programming error that increases the risk of malfunction of various components of the car while driving, upping the risk of a crash and injury.  The recall includes:

  • 2018- 2020 Honda Accord sedans
  • 2018-2020 Honda Accord hybrids
  • 2019- 2020 Honda Insight hybrids

Recall summary  

Due to a supplier programming mistake, these Honda vehicles may experience a glitch that disrupts communication between the body control module (BCM)  and other parts of the car. As reported, the BCM is the “core” of the car that is in charge of many of its operations. For the part numbers involved, please refer to the National Highway Safety (NHTSA) administration documents.

Disrupted communication between the BCM and other components may cause various warning lights to come on and several “electrical components” to malfunction. Some of the examples of what can happen are listed below:

  • Rearview camera won’t work
  • Windshield wipers and defrosters fail to function
  • Car lights and turn signals won’t turn on
  • Trunk won’t open
  • Cruise control and lane keep assist lights will flash

Software issues

Software issues have prompted more than one Honda recall in 2020. In July, for example,  the Japanese manufacturer recalled Odyssey minivans, Passport and Pilot SUVs because of “a programming glitch” that caused cars’ instruments panels to suddenly power off,  “depriving drivers of vital information,” such as the speed of the vehicle.

Risks

Malfunction of various components of the car can seriously increase the risk of a crash, especially while driving. Warning lights that come without reason can distract the driver and cause him to take actions that may also augment the risk of a crash or injury for the car occupants, as well as other motorists and pedestrians.

The repair

The recall is scheduled to begin on January 18, 2021. The repair will be a software update but it is not clear when it is going to be available.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 730,000 vehicles are included in this Honda  recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandHonda recalls Accord and Insight cars for potential multi-component malfunction

Honda recalls 210,000 cars over risk drive shaft will snap

Torrance, CA – December 23, 2020 – Honda (NYSE: HMC) is recalling 210,000 vehicles in the so-called “salt belt” whose drive shafts – which transfers power to the wheels – may become corroded and break. This could cause the vehicle to stall or roll away when parked.  The recall includes:

  • 2013 – 2015 Acura ILX cars
  • 2013 Acura ILX hybrids
  • 2012 Honda Civic hybrids
  • 2007 – 2008 Honda Fits

Recall summary

This recall is one of two Honda has issued for vehicles that were sold or registered in the 22 states that use salt to de-ice roads in the winter. Salt can be very corrosive to vehicles’ undersides

The recalled vehicles’ drive shafts are supposed to have a protective coating, but due to a manufacturing error, the coating may not stick to the metal and could peel or chip off. Left unprotected, road salt can eat away at the drive shaft and cause it to break. As a result, the vehicle may stall or roll away when parked

Other ‘salty’ recalls

Salt was also the culprit of a recent Ford recall of its 2013-2017 Explorer SUVs. In that case, the substance corroded the bottom of the vehicles and caused their toe links – which form part of the and ensure that the cars go in the right direction – to snap. In May of last year, Mazda also pulled close to 50,000 cars off the market to replace faulty parts that could result in a loss of power steering. The recall also came about because of corrosion caused by road salt.

Safety risks

Stalling, especially on the freeway, can increase the risk of a rear-end crash. Vehicles with a broken drive shaft could also roll away if parked on a slope without engaging the emergency brake.

As of November 24, 2020, 152 owners have sent Honda warranty claims relating to this issue. Honda has received 10 additional reports of drive shaft breakage, but none describe any accidents or injuries.

Read more about what to do if your vehicle stalls here.

Repair

Repair parts are not yet available for all the recalled vehicles. Owners will have to wait until February 1 to find out more about how to get this defect fixed. When a repair does become available, it will be performed by a Honda dealer for free. Honda will reimburse owners who have already repaired corroded drive shafts.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 200,000 cars are included in this Honda recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool to check your car for open recalls.

Rebecca RandHonda recalls 210,000 cars over risk drive shaft will snap

Honda minivans and SUVs recalled for faulty control panel

Pleasanton, CA – July 29, 2020 – Honda (NYSE: HMC) has recalled 607,784 vans and SUVs with malfunctioning instrument panels and rear view cameras.  This is one of the five recalls Honda issued so far this year. This recall includes:

  • 2018-2020 Honda Odyssey minivans
  • 2019-2020 Honda Passport SUVs
  • 2019-2021 Honda Pilot SUVs

Recall summary  

Due to a glitch in programming, the vehicles’ instrument panels have been known to randomly turn off depriving the driver of vital information – such as the car’s speed and oil level – and disabling the rear view camera display.  The shutdown has sometimes been accompanied by a continuous beeping or crackling noise that has been really distracting to drivers.

Risks

Rearview cameras display a 10-foot to 20-foot zone directly behind the car to avoid backover crashes. If the camera malfunctions when the car is in reverse that can result in an accident. In fact, one of the Honda drivers reported leading up to the recall that the frozen rearview camera display caused him to nearly hit his neighbor when backing out of the driveway!

Separately, not having access to vital safety information such as the car’s speed or oil level is very dangerous. It can, for example, cause the driver to go over the speed limit or bring about the engine’s failure, increasing the risk of a crash.

Finally, having the infotainment system fail – or hearing any kind of unusual noises – while driving can be very distracting.  Distracted driving is dangerous— in 2018, distracted driving killed 2,841 people and injured 400,000 more. 

The repair

Honda will update the car’s software, which should stop the infotainment system from crashing. The update is available for free at dealerships now, and should take a half day or less to be completed.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 600,000 vehicles are included in this Honda recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandHonda minivans and SUVs recalled for faulty control panel

Honda issues a second recall for faulty sliding doors

Pleasanton, CA – July 29, 2020 – Honda (NYSE: HMC) will recall 324,194 vans whose sliding doors might not fully latch and could slide open while the car is moving.  The recall includes:

2018-2020 Honda Odyssey

Recall summary

The recalled vehicles were designed with reduced moisture protection. As a result, in cold temperatures, water can seep in and freeze on cables inside the door handle. The frozen cables cannot move properly, which could keep the door from fully latching shut.

This is the second time the manufacturer conducts a recall for the same issues.  As a result of the first recall, Honda replaced the door latches, but some vans’ doors continued to slide open while driving. 

The issue has not resulted in injuries or crashes but there have been 31 incidents so far, according to Honda.

Risks

If a car door suddenly opens while a vehicle is moving it poses a safety hazard to occupants who could fall out of the car. Falls from vehicles account for 17% of all non-crash vehicle fatalities, according to a 2015 report by the National Highway Transit Safety Administration (NHTSA). These falls caused 75,000 injuries between 2011 and 2012, the report says.

Repair

Honda will replace the cables inside the door handle at no cost to the owner. The repair is already available, though official owner notifications will not be sent until September 23.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 300,000 vehicles are included in this Honda recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandHonda issues a second recall for faulty sliding doors

Honda recalls minivans for rear view camera leak and software glitch

Pleasanton, CA – July 28 2020 – Honda (NYSE: HMC) has recalled 212,068 Odyssey minivans with faulty rear view cameras. The recall includes 2019 and 2020 Honda Odyssey Minivans.  

Recall summary  

The rear view camera display on the recalled vehicles may fail to appear, look distorted or produce an error message.

This is a result of one of the two issues. The first one is that – because of a design flaw – moisture can penetrate the camera via the mounting holes, damaging it or disabling it altogether. The rearview image may also fail to display due to a programming glitch that disables the camera in bright environments. 

2018 Honda Odysseys may also experience these issues and will be provided with the same fix as the vehicles above.

Risks

Back-up crashes kill an estimated 284 people a year and injure around 12,000, according to the NHTSA. Rearview camera systems are intended to help prevent back-up crashes by showing the driver a 10-foot to 20-foot area behind the vehicle.

Since 2018, the National Highway Transit Safety Administration (NHTSA) has required all new vehicle models to be made with rearview cameras. Now a necessity rather than an accessory, it is required by law that these cameras function properly.

The repair

Honda will replace the rear-view camera with a redesigned one, free of charge. The company will notify owners on or around September 23. Because there are several open recalls on Honda 2018-20 Odyssey vehicles, you may be able to have multiple recall repairs completed at once. This could take about a day, according to the experience of some Honda owners.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 200,000 vehicles are included in this Honda recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandHonda recalls minivans for rear view camera leak and software glitch

Honda minivans and SUVs recalled for faulty rear view camera

Pleasanton, CA – July 28 2020 – Honda (NYSE: HMC) has recalled 499,342 Pilot, Odyssey, and Passport vehicles that have a delayed or inoperative rear view camera display. This issue can reduce the driver’s view of what is behind the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash. The recall includes:

  • 2019-2020 Honda Odyssey Minivans
  • 2019-2020 Honda Passport SUVs
  • 2019-2021 Honda Pilot SUVs

Recall summary  

In July, Honda announced that there is a glitch in the vehicles’ software responsible for controlling the instrument panel and the audio system. Due to the error, the backup camera image may not display or may be delayed so when the vehicle is started, the display audio and rearview camera both stay off. 2018 Honda Odysseys may also experience this issue and will be provided with the same fix as the vehicles above.

All of the above vehicles are also subject to several additional recalls for issues with speedometer display and sliding doors that do not latch properly in freezing conditions.  

Risks

Rearview camera systems are designed to prevent backover crashes by displaying a 10-foot to 20-foot zone directly behind the vehicle. 

If the driver is in the habit of using the camera when the car is in reverse, the software problem creates a high risk of an accident. A driver may back over an item on the ground or hit an individual behind the car.

As of August 4, Honda notes that there have been no reports of crashes related to these actions. Passports and Pilots have an additional issue with the rearview camera. When these two vehicles are shifted into reverse, the rearview camera may not display. 

The repair

The remedy is a free software update that the vehicle owners can be installed directly by the vehicle owners or their dealers. Dealers were notified in July, while the vehicles owners will be made aware of the issue in late September. It is not clear when the update will be available. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Close to half a million vehicles are included in this Honda recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydHonda minivans and SUVs recalled for faulty rear view camera