Honda Recalls More than 300,000 Accords for Air Bag ProblemNov 5, 2015
Honda announced last week that it is recalling 303,904 2008-09 Accords because the side air bags could inadvertently deploy.
The automaker said the problem is not related to the widespread problem with Takata air bags that has resulted in massive recalls. The issue in the Accord recall involves the software's deployment threshold for side impacts, according to Autoblog.com.
Honda says if the car's ignition is on and the door is "forcefully slammed" the side air bags could deploy. Sudden deployments might also occur if there is a strong enough impact to the underside of the vehicle, like from road debris, Autoblog says. Honda blames the problem on an improperly calibrated sensor and says the issue can be corrected with a software update, the New York Times reports. In addition to Accords in the U.S., the recall action includes about 20,000 vehicles in Canada and 10,600 in Mexico.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began investigating the problem last year after receiving complaints from Accords owners. Several of them told the federal agency that Honda refused to pay for repairs after the airbags unexpectedly deployed. "[Honda] had to replace the driver side seat and the entire headliner plus all of the airbags totaling $3,600," one owner wrote in 2010, according to the Times. "I called my insurance and they said they would cover it, but that I had a $1,250 deductible," the owner said. Honda spokesperson Chris Martin, said owners are now being reimbursed under the extended warranty.
As of October 12, 2015, Honda had received 19 allegations of injuries from the air bags; 311 warranty claims, and 160 field reports, according to a chronology submitted to NHTSA.
The problem affects both the air curtains, located in the roof above the side windows to provide head protection, and air bags in the side of the seat that protect the torso, according to the Times.
A free software update will adjust the Supplemental Restraint System. Honda will begin mailing notifications to owners in mid-December. Honda encourages owners of affected vehicles to take them to an authorized dealer as soon as they receive notification. Accord owners can determine if their vehicles are included in the recall by visiting www.recalls.honda.com or by calling (888) 234-2138.