Honda expands long running airbag recall

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Deployed airbag

The Honda airbag recall, which began in 2008, has just been expanded for the fourth time. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

For the past few years, Honda has been continually recalling various models for airbags that can deploy too forcefully and injure or kill drivers. It began in 2008, and the recall was just expanded again.

Biggest recall in living memory

In 2008, Honda announced a recall of certain models because of a defect in the airbags, according to USA Today, concerning the airbag inflation mechanism. The mechanism in that recall, manufactured by Takata, a long-time Honda parts supplier, used too much force when deploying the airbag. As a result, the parts in the airbag system could not withstand the blast and break apart, showering the driver with shards of plastic and metal.

The 2008 Honda airbag recall initially covered 3,900 2001 Civic and Accord models, according to the New York Times. However, the airbag defect was later found in other models, and as a result, the recall was expanded in 2009, 2010 and in May of 2011. Honda has just expanded the recall again.

Nearly 3 million vehicles recalled

According to the Christian Science Monitor, the latest expansion of the Honda airbag recall covers about 304,000 vehicles, including 273,000 in the United States alone. There are a further 27,000 affected vehicles in Canada, 2,000 in Japan and 2,000 others worldwide. Only one car in Great Britain is affected. The total number of vehicles affected by the recall so far, including the recall just announced, now totals 2.8 million, including 2.5 million in the U.S., according to USA Today.

The initial cause of the problem was thought to be a defect in the propellant used in deploying the airbag that would allow moisture to accumulate, which would cause it to explode with extra force. However, it was later discovered that a faulty manufacturing machine at Takata and faulty chemicals in the airbag propellant were causing defects in replacement airbags as well. The latest recall also includes 603,000 cars that might have received one of fewer than 1,000 faulty replacement airbags. Honda doesn’t know which cars received faulty replacement airbags.

Honda believes this will be the last

Honda is convinced this will be the last expansion of the recall over the airbag issue. No affected model is from a year later than 2003. Owners are being notified to bring their cars into a dealership for inspection and possibly replacement of the faulty airbag.

The affected models, according to CNN, include the 2001 to 2003 Honda Civic, the 2001 and 2002 Accord, the 2002 and 2003 CR-V, 2001 to 2003 Odyssey, the 2003 Pilot, the 2002 and 2003 Acura 3.2 TL and 2003 Acura 3.2 CL.

There have been 20 incidents of injuries due to airbag shrapnel in the affected models, including two deaths.

Sources

USA Today

Christian Science Monitor

USA Today

New York Times

CNN


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