Honda recalls Accords, Civics and Elements over old problem

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Honda Element

The Honda Element is included in the 2010 Honda Recall. Image: Flickr/playhockeyeh

In 2003 and 2005, Honda recalled more than 1.4 million vehicles over a problem with the shift interlock system. Today, a new Honda recall was announced for the same problem. This Honda recall covers 2003 Accords, 2003 Civics and some 2003 and 2004 Elements.

The Honda recall shift interlock problem

The impetus for the new Honda recall, as well as the 2003 and 2005 recalls, was the shift interlock system. This is the system that prevents the key being removed without the shifter in park. This could allow the car to roll away and cause accidents. So far, 17 accidents have been attributed to this problem. Most often, the problem happens when the vehicle is parked and the key removed, even though the shifter has not fully engaged the “park” setting. When left like this, cars will roll out of  parking spaces, sometimes into traffic or other dangerous situations.

NHTSA investigation of Honda recall

This current Honda recall for shift interlock problems was instigated by an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2009, the agency upgraded a “recall query” to an “engineering analysis” of the previous recalls. The NHTSA is also evaluating the “timeliness” of Honda recalls. If Honda is found to have not responded “promptly, truthfully and completely” to recall-worthy problems, they could face civil fines. The NHTSA is also investigating a 2009 incident where Honda “expanded” a recall relating to “unusual” air bag deployments on 443,900 vehicles.

The recalled Honda vehicles

The full list of recalled Honda vehicles will be released in September of 2010. Approximately 197,000 2003 Accords, 117,000 Civics and 69,000 2003 and 2004 Elements will be affected. Previous recalls for the same issue have covered the 1998-2002 Accord, 1999 Odyssey, 1999-2000 Acura TL, 1997-99 Acura CL and 1997-2001 Prelude. Owners of the affected vehicles are asked to take their vehicles to a Honda dealer as soon as they receive notification that their car is included in the Honda recall. Honda is asking for owners to call 800-999-1009 or visit for more information.

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