A defect that could cause airbags to explode and send lethal shrapnel into the passenger compartment, has lead to an expansion of a previous Honda airbag recall. With an additional 378,758 Honda vehicles, the recall now affects more than 826,000 cars and minivans.
The Honda recall expansion was announced this week for 2001 and 2002 model year Honda Accords, Civics, Accura TL sedans, Odyssey minivans and CR-V crossovers. The airbags could inflate with such force that parts of them may explode outward, sending pieces of metal or other debris into the vehicle.
At least one person has died as a result of the Honda airbag problems, and several others have been injured. Honda says that it is aware of at least 12 incidents associated with the defective airbags.
The recall started in November 2008, with the recall of only 4,000 model year 2001 Honda Civics and Honda Accords. In July 2009, Honda expanded the recall by 440,000 more vehicles, including 2001 and 2002 Accords, 2002 and 2003 Acura TL Sedans and 2001 Civics.
The problems with Honda airbag are linked to a defect that could cause the inflator to over-pressurize the airbag when deployed. The high pressure can cause the inflator to rupture, sending a burst of metal shrapnel into the passenger compartment. The defect is only known to occur in the driver’s side airbag.
“When Honda identifies concerns of this nature, nothing is more important to the company than fulfilling our obligation and responsibility to alert our customers,” Honda officials said in a press release. “To this end, as with the July 2009 recall expansion, in addition to contacting customers by mail, owners of these vehicles will be able to determine if their vehicle requires repair by going on-line or calling.”
Honda indicates that there had been no new incidents, but that the expansion is being done out of caution because it cannot verify that the propellant used in the recalled models met with manufacturing specifications.