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Honda Recalls 400,000 Cars For Roll-Away Problem

Faulty ignition interlocks blamed.

by on Aug.09, 2010

The 2003 Honda Accord is part of the latest in a series of Honda recalls for faulty ignition interlocks.

Honda is notifying nearly 400,000 owners that they need to have faulty ignition interlocks replaced to prevent their vehicles from unexpectedly rolling away.

This is the latest in an ongoing series of actions by Honda aimed at addressing the problem.  The latest recall involves 197,000 Accord models and 117,000 Civics from the 2003 model-year, as well as another 69,000 Element crossover vehicles from 2003 and 2004.

In all, Honda has now recalled 1.4 million vehicles since 2003 to deal with the roll-away problem, though the Japanese maker claims that different parts are responsible for each of the three separate recalls announced so far.

The latest recall was at least partially triggered by an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which began looking into complaints about the Accord in 2008, after receiving 15 complaints and reports of 10 crashes.  Since then, the numbers have nearly doubled.

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In one instance, a driver reported nearly being run over by her Honda after it began to roll out of her garage and down the driveway.  But so far, according to NHTSA, only one minor injury has been linked to the problem.

During a meeting with government regulators on July 29 Honda acknowledged the defect but tried to prevent a full recall because it felt the failure rate was small.  NHTSA decided the problem was serious enough – one insider suggesting that in the wake of the ongoing safety problems at Toyota the safety agency is less likely to err on behalf of a manufacturer and will likely trigger recalls to deal with problems it might have ignored in years past.

Since last October, Toyota has recalled more than 8 million vehicles, most for so-called unintended acceleration, but others for problems ranging from excess corrosion to faulty brakes on the Prius hybrid.

Honda has also seen a rise in recalls, this year, with actions including 400,000 vehicles recalled in February due to faulty airbags, and another 410,000 involved in a March recall due to brake problems.

In some Honda products involved in the ongoing ignition interlock issue motorists can remove their keys even though the vehicle is not actually in Park.  In others, the keys can get stuck in the ignition, even when the vehicle is shifted into Park.

With the latest recall, Honda plans to replace faulty ignition interlock components.  The repairs will be made free of charge.  Owners of the recalled vehicles will be notified by mail, or they can go online to www.recalls.honda.com.  They can also dial 1-800-999-1909 and choose Option 4.

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