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Honda Recalling Over 200,000 Vehicles for Shift Interlock Problems

Latest in an ongoing series of safety issues for maker.

by on Apr.18, 2013

The new Acura flagship, the RDX sedan, is one of the vehicles covered by the latest recall.

Already hammered by a series of recalls that have so far involved well over a million vehicles since the beginning of the year, Honda has added another 200,000 sedans, crossovers and minivans to the list, the newest recall involving problems with the maker’s shift-interlock system.

The new recall comes as a particular embarrassment for the maker’s luxury drivision, affecting the recently launched Acura RDX, which was intended to put a high-tech halo around the brand.

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About 17,500 of the 2013 Acura RDX sedans are covered by the recall, along with 128,000 Honda CR-Vs and 59,000 Odyssey minivans, the latter two models sold during the 2012 and 2013 model-year.

Analysts say the breadth of the recall reflects the fact that automakers today try to share components among a wide range of products to reduce costs. But the strategy can backfire if a problem occurs.

In this case, Honda says that, “In sub-freezing temperatures after initial use of the vehicle’s gear-shift mechanism, it may be possible to shift the vehicle’s transmission out of the Park position without depressing the brake pedal.”

The problem is a particularly sensitive one for Honda which was forced to recall 870,000 “runaway” Odyssey minivans last December because they could inadvertently be shut off without the transmission being shifted to Park.  A similar recall two years earlier involved 370,000 Honda vehicles.

This latest recall comes exactly a week after the Japanese maker announced it would recall 470,000 older sedans, minivans and crossovers due to defective airbags that could misfire or even lead to a vehicle fire.

In this case, Honda was one of four manufacturers using airbags supplied by Japanese parts maker Takata. In all, more than 3 million vehicles worldwide are covered by that recall.

Meanwhile, in January, Honda announced another airbag-related recall, this one because of missing rivets that could lead the safety devices to improperly deploy in a crash.

Though known for its quality and reliability Honda has been one of the top two brands in terms of the number of vehicles recalled in the U.S. market for the last four years.

The Japanese maker says it has received no customer complaints, nor word of crashes or injuries related to the shift-interlock problem. But the situation could cause runaway problems if not corrected. It plans to notify affected customers directly by mid-May and will complete repairs at no charge.

Owners can also find out more, the maker says, by “going on-line to and or by calling (800) 999-1009 for Honda owners or (800) 382-2238 for Acura owners, and selecting option 4.

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