More than two dozen cases of late-model Honda CRV sport utility vehicles have
burst into flames, shortly after their first oil changes. No injuries have been reported and many of the vehicles from the 2003 and 2004 model years were destroyed.
A federal highway agency concluded this month the incidents are the fault of dealerships and mechanics. The agency said the problem stems from improperly installed oil filters that most likely leaked oil onto the vehicles’ hot exhaust systems. When the oil filter is removed, part of the seal may stick to the engine. If that seal isn’t removed before the new filter is put in there is a risk of oil leakage which could cause a fire.
Honda claims a design flaw is not to blame, but it’s still studying the cause of the fires. The company said it’s not planning a recall at this time, but it may rewrite instructions on how to replace the filters.