Honda recalls vehicles with defective seatbacks

Torrance, Calif. – Honda American Motor Company has recalled dozens of vehicles potentially equipped with defective seatback assemblies, according to documents submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2017 Honda Civic hatchbacks produced between Aug. 2, 2016, and July 27, 2017, along with 2017 Honda Type R sport sedans manufactured April 7, 2017. The Japanese automaker suspects all of the vehicles referenced in the recall contain the defective features.
The Defect
Affected models are likely to feature driver and passenger seatback pads without openings for seat-mounted side-air bag assemblies. In the event of an accident, these components would interfere with air bag deployment, increasing the likelihood of occupant injury. However, Honda has yet to receive field reports connecting the defects to any injuries.
In addition to posing a safety hazard to occupants, these seatback components installed in the recalled vehicles violate Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 214, which states that passengers must meet side-impact door crush resistance measurements, as well as moving deformable barrier and vehicle-to-pole testing standards.
Timeline of Events
A U.S.-based Honda dealer in November 2017 alerted the automaker to a replacement seatback pad from his inventory that seemed to be missing the slit needed to install and conceal a seat-mounted side air bag, according to an internal defect information report submitted to the NHTSA. This discovery prompted Honda to launch an investigation, which revealed the original schematics for seatback service replacements were incorrect, leading to the production of numerous defective parts. Between January and April 2018, the vehicle manufacturer tested vehicles with the “nonslitted” seatback assemblies to determine the impact of the defective components. These analyses revealed that the parts interfered with normal air bag operations, posing a serious safety hazard to occupants and violating FMVSS No. 214.
Honda quality assurance and safety personnel convened April 19, and decided to conduct a voluntary safety recall. The automaker notified dealers of the action April 27.
The Solution
Honda has directed dealers to replace the defective seatback pads installed in affected models free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgement document. The company intends to notify owners via first-class mail June 1. Those in need of more immediate assistance can contact Honda customer service by calling (888) 234-2138. Callers should use the internal recall reference codes E1D, U1B and X1C. Owners can also reach out to the NHTSA directly using its Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.
Sean ReyesHonda recalls vehicles with defective seatbacks