Laguna Hills, CA – March 15, 2019 – Honda is recalling specific 2003 Acura 3.2CL, 2013-2016 ILX, 2013-2014 ILX Hybrid, 2003-2006 MDX, 2007-2016 RDX, 2002-2003 3.2TL, 2004-2006, and 2009-2014 TL, 2010-2013 ZDX and 2001-2007 and 2009 Honda Accord, 2001-2005 Civic, 2003-2005 Civic Hybrid, 2001-2005 Civic GX NGV, 2002-2007 and 2010-2011 CR-V, 2003-2011 Element, 2007 Fit, 2002-2004 Odyssey, 2003-2008 Pilot and 2006-2014 Ridgeline vehicles. The affected vehicles had previously received a driver air bag inflator or air bag module replacement as part of a massive recall of defective Takata air bags affecting numbers of different automakers. Because of a manufacturing error, the front driver air bag may explode during a crash. The potential number of vehicles affected is 1,108,939.
According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report filed March 11, replacement driver air bag inflators or air bag modules had been installed in the affected vehicles as part of a previous Takata inflator recall. Due to a manufacturing error, in the event of a crash in which the air bag is activated, the inflator may explode, resulting in sharp metal fragments striking the driver, front seat passenger or other occupants, potentially resulting in serious injury or death.
Car and Driver said this latest recall came about after a crash involving a 2004 Odyssey, in which the driver’s arm was bruised. This happened after the company learned that the Takata replacement, a driver’s-side inflator that is supposed to resist moisture, had ruptured due to “excessive moisture” present at the Takata factory in Mexico.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the Takata air bag recall, which has been going on for over 10 years, involved over 37 million vehicles built by 19 automakers. At least 22 people were killed and hundreds permanently disfigured when the air bags exploded after deployment, spraying them with deadly shrapnel.
Timeline of Events
Honda began using the Takata-made driver-side air bag inflators June 2014 as part of a regional safety improvement campaign. By March 2015, when the scope of the original Takata recall expanded, Honda began obtaining remedy air bag inflators from other manufacturers to supplement its supply of replacement parts.
Honda instructed dealers to stop installing the Takata inflators July 2016, and stopped ordering the replacement parts from Takata.
On March 21, 2018, Honda was informed of the Jan. 19, 2018 crash in which the driver air bag inflator had allegedly ruptured during air bag deployment; an initial incident report was then submitted to NHTSA March 23. A joint field inspection April 10 confirmed the driver air bag inflator had ruptured, and a final rupture incident report was sent to NHTSA.
From mid-April to early-February 2019, Honda continued its investigation in conjunction with the air bag inflator supplier and NHTSA. Ultimately, examination of the replacement parts did not turn up any conclusive explanation of the factors that led to the over-pressurization found in these inflators, with Honda concluding that all available evidence suggested a manufacturing anomaly.
Honda met with NHTSA Feb. 15 to share the results of the investigation. The automaker then decided on March 6 that a defect existed, launching the recall process as a result. As of March 16, Honda had received only one injury claim related to this issue.
Honda will notify owners beginning April 17, and dealers – which are already prepared to begin repairs – will replace the driver’s air bag inflator with another inflator from an alternative supplier, free of charge.
Honda owners may contact customer service at 1-888-234-2138. Honda’s number for this recall is O41. Acura owners may contact customer service at 1-888-234-2138. Acura’s number for this recall is U40. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov. The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V182000.