Recalls for Takata air-bag inflators with the potential to explode and spew shrapnel, and the more than 20 fatalities associated with them, have long outlasted even the company itself. After years of recalls and recalls on prior recalls, Honda’s North American arm announced Tuesday it’s recalling another 1.1 million vehicles for the issue.
The recall covers both Honda and Acura vehicles, across model years ranging from 2001 through 2016. Honda will start notifying owners on April 17, but said in a U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration document on Monday that dealers are ready to do the recalls immediately.
Honda (American Honda Motor Co.) is recalling specific 2003 Acura 3.2CL, 2013-2016 ILX, 2013-2014 ILX Hybrid, 2003-2006 MDX, 2007-2016 RDX, 2002-2003 3.2TL, 2004-2006, and 2009-2014 TL, 2010-2013 ZDX and 2001-2007 and 2009 Honda Accord, 2001-2005 Civic, 2003-2005 Civic Hybrid, 2001-2005 Civic GX NGV, 2002-2007 and 2010-2011 CR-V, 2003-2011 Element, 2007 Fit, 2002-2004 Odyssey, 2003-2008 Pilot, and 2006-2014 Ridgeline vehicles.
This time, the recall is for previously replaced airbag inflators. Honda said in its announcement that the vehicles in the recall got replacement airbag parts from Takata in a former recall, and that those parts “are now deemed defective.” In a chronology filed with the NHTSA, Honda said it used Takata PSDI-5D inflators early on in the prior recall, starting in June of 2014, before beginning to source parts elsewhere and eventually deciding to stop using them two years later.
In March of 2018, the chronology says Honda found out about a recent crash “in which it was alleged that the driver’s airbag inflator had ruptured during airbag deployment.” Honda didn’t put a date on the crash that it mentioned in its own press release, but detailed an issue in crash with a 2004 Odyssey.
Investigating the inflators led to the usual discoveries: moisture, degradation of the part, the potential to explode and spew shrapnel. From the press release:
The vehicle’s driver front airbag deployed and the Takata PSDI-5D replacement inflator ruptured, causing an injury to the driver’s arm. A subsequent investigation revealed that PSDI-5D inflators manufactured at Takata’s Monclova, Mexico facility experienced manufacturing process errors that introduced excessive moisture into the inflator during assembly. Moisture within the sealed inflator may lead to accelerated propellant degradation over time, leading to higher than normal inflator pressure upon airbag deployment. If a recalled driver front airbag deploys in a crash, its inflator may rupture, potentially shooting sharp metal fragments at the driver and passengers.
Honda said in its press release that it encourages owners to schedule the free fix at a dealer “as soon as possible.” That’s good advice, since it’s never a good plan to risk your safety because you’re “too busy” to get a chore done.