Laguna Hills, CA – June 24, 2019 – American Honda Motor Co. is recalling certain 2019 CR-V sport utility vehicles due to the possibility that the automobile’s air bags could malfunction or deploy errantly in the event of a crash, a problem linked to metal burrs found within the steering wheel unit. The company says it will inform affected owners by July 8 so motorists can schedule an appointment with their nearest dealer to have the issue checked out. Should a repair be necessary, it will come at no expense.
According to official paperwork filed with and by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 118,600 Honda CR-Vs – model year 2019 – are being recalled because the guts of the steering wheel may be laced with metal burrs, or fragments, which may have developed during the assembly or manufacturing process. Some of these burrs may be sharp and potentially damage or short-circuit the cable reel sub-harness. Not only could this impede the driver’s side air bag from discharging – as it’s designed to do during a high-impact collision – but it may also render other steering unit functions inoperable, such as the horn, the supplemental restraint system warning indicator lights and other control buttons found on the wheel itself. The failure of any of these features poses an operator safety risk, which prompted Honda to take the actions that it did, including the contacting of NHTSA officials.
Timeline of Events
The first indication there could be a problem occurred Jan 24, when workers at a Honda manufacturing facility, according to NHTSA documents, were alerted to a warning indicator light illuminating on one of the newly assembled CR-Vs. Further inquiry determined the notification was caused by a blown fuse on the cable reel sub-harness, the part that attaches to the air bag. Apparently, the sub-harness had been damaged by fragments piecing off from the metal core.
Out of an abundance of caution, Honda notified all of its North American manufacturing facilities that this issue may not be isolated, which prompted a joint investigation 24 hours later alongside Autoliv ASP, Honda’s steering wheel supplier. The Mexico-based component supplier came up with a solution Jan. 31. But by February, Honda received feedback from a customer, informing the automaker that an air bag had deployed in a traffic situation without notice. A similar situation was brought to Honda’s attention in March.
These two incidents – along with four more that occurred between April and early May – were enough to raise suspicion that the flaw was not isolated to CR-Vs that hadn’t yet been delivered to dealers and decided by May 14 to conduct a more broad safety recall. As of this data, the automaker was aware of 41 warranty claims tracing back to this issue, 20 field reports and three non-life threatening injuries, Honda noted in a press release obtained by NHTSA. No crashes are believed to have occurred as a result.
If dealers haven’t already been informed of the voluntary safety recall, they soon will be, as notifications were first distributed May 22. In the meantime, Honda says it will distribute mailers to registered CR-V users no later than July 8, advising that they take their SUV to a licensed dealership so the defective parts can be swapped out for those that work, assuming it’s necessary. The repair may also involve the installation of a protective cover on the steering wheel core. As per usual, parts and labor are free of charge. The automaker maintains that the reason for not informing owners sooner is due to the limited availability of replacement parts, an issue that should be resolved by early July.
For more information on this specific recall, owners can call Honda directly at (888) 234-2138. Operators can determine if they’re SUV is affected by simply entering their VIN at MotorSafety.org.