Honda issues recall over defective certification labels


Torrance, Calif. – May 11, 2017 – American Honda Motor Company has recalled more than 1,400 sport utility vehicles with faulty certification labels, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign impacts Acura RDX and Honda CR-V models produced between April 3 and April 11, 2017. The automaker has yet to ascertain how many of the recalled vehicles contain these problematic markers.

The Defect
Affected models feature certification labels that can be altered using alcohol or other caustic solvents. Honda engineers traced the problem to improper labeling methods, which included the use of incompatible printing ribbons. While not safety hazards, these defective labels fail to comply with certification requirements established in section 567 of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. This portion of the regulatory document states that a certification label must be applied “in such a manner that it cannot be removed without destroying or defacing it.” Additionally, the regulations require labels to contain key information, including the vehicle identification number, manufacturer details and general specifications such as axle-weight rating.

Timeline of Events
On April 3, 2017, assembly personnel at an unnamed Honda production facility installed an incorrect printer ribbon in a certification labeling device. Days later, a crew member affixing labels to new vehicles noticed the mishap and performed a spot quality assurance check to test label strength. The employee was able to rub off the ink using alcohol. Then, on April 12, QA personnel performed a follow-up trial and confirmed that an incorrect printing ribbon had indeed been used. This lead to a more in-depth inquiry, which came to a close April 18. Honda officials confirmed that Acura RDX and Honda CR-V models with certification labels originating from the faulty device were non-compliant with FMVSS. The automaker then launched a voluntary recall campaign.

However, investigations continued. Despite the campaign initiation, QA teams had yet to understand the full scope of the problem. On May 11, after almost a month of review, Honda confirmed that the problem affected more than 1,400 vehicles, according to amended documentation filed with the NHTSA.

The Solution
Honda has ordered dealers to replace defective certification labels, free of charge. The company sent out owner notifications via mail May 22. Those in need of additional assistance are encouraged to contact the NHTSA.

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