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Honda Accord Airbag Problems Result in Recall Due to Risk of Unintended Deployment

More than 300,000 Honda Accord vehicles are being recalled, following reports of problems where the airbags may suddenly deploy if the door is shut with a lot of force.

The Honda Accord recall (PDF) was announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on October 29, following hundreds of reports involving problems where the passenger side airbag unexpectedly deployed without an accident occurring, typically after the door was slammed shut.

At least 293 complaints of Honda Accord airbag problems have been reported, including at least 19 reported injuries from the airbags unexpectedly deploying.

The NHTSA opened an investigation into the issue in July 2014, and determined that certain vehicles may contain an improperly calibrated airbag sensor. This may cause the side passenger airbag to inadvertenly deploy when the door is shut, and the vehicle is not involved in an accident.

Passengers may face a serious risk of facial and neck injuries, as several complaints submitted to the NHTSA’s Office of Defect Investigations indicated passengers upper torsos were directly in front of the deploying airbag at the time it burst open.

The investigation revealed the sensor may mistake a slamming door for a side impact and deploy the side curtain airbag on the passenger door, and in some instances deploy the side-seat-mounted airbag as well.

Included in the complaints were also claims that Honda refused to reimburse customers for the repairs after the airbags deployed. One customer report from 2010 detailed that to replace the driver side seat and the entire headliner plus all additional airbags in the vehicle totaled $3,600 and Honda refused to assist or reimburse the customer.

The recall includes an estimated 335,195 model year 2008 through 2009 four-door Honda Accord vehicles. The vehicles were manufactured by American Honda Motor Corporation and were primarily distributed throughout the U.S. for sale at registered dealerships. Honda stated an estimated 20,000 impacted vehicles were distributed to Canada and another 10,600 to Mexico.

Honda has warned that customers should be careful not to shut their passenger doors too forcefully until the necessary repairs are made. Customers will begin receiving the recall notices in the mail by mid-December of this year with instructions on how to schedule a free repair at their local dealer who will update the airbag software.

The current airbag recall is not related to the 5.5 million Honda vehicles recalled due to exploding and rupturing airbags linked to defective Takata inflators.

Honda was one of the automakers impacted most by a massive Takata airbags inflator recall that forced the entire automobile industry to recall more than 19 million vehicles following reports that airbags were overinflating and rupturing following accidents, potentially sending shrapnel throughout the cabin. Hundreds of airbag injuries were linked to the Takata inflators, including at least eight deaths. Four of the fatalities involved airbags in Honda vehicles.

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Image via Hatchapong Palurtchaivong / Shutterstock.com

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