The Jalopnik inbox has been lit up with a number of reports about clocks and calendars in Honda cars getting stuck at a certain time in the year 2002. The spread is impressive, impacting Honda and Acura models as old as 2004 and as new as 2012. Here’s what might be happening.
If you scroll through a Honda or Acura forum right now, chances are you’re going to run into a bunch of confused owners. When they hopped into their cars on January 1 they found the clocks on their navigation systems frozen at a certain time. And the calendar date? 2002, or 20 years ago.
The issue is widespread, hitting a huge number of cars in Acura’s and Honda’s lineup with navigation systems. And it’s not just in the United States, as owners in Canada and even as far as the United Kingdom have all reported similar issues.
As a number of Honda and Acura owners have noted on these forums, their clocks read correctly until what appeared to have been the first time update of 2022. Then, their navigation systems turned into time machines, leaving them behind as they went back to 2002.
I asked Honda about the cause of the issue and received this back:
American Honda is aware of a potential concern related to the clock display on certain older Acura and Honda models equipped with navigation systems. We are currently investigating this issue to determine possible countermeasures and have no additional details to share at this time.
Owners have also reached out and received different responses. American Honda provided the CR-V Owners Club forum this response:
We have escalated the NAVI Clock Issue to our Engineering Team and they have informed us that you will experience issue from Jan 2022 thru August 2022 and then it will auto-correct. Please be assured that we will continue to monitor this and will advise you if a fix is available before that time.
And owners in the United Kingdom were given this response:
We have just received some more information regarding this and were advised that the Honda technical department are currently working on this.
Once there is a fix for this issue Honda authorized dealers will be made aware of it and will be able to assist with this at that point.
A service bulletin will be issued to our dealers from Honda UK on how to fix this.
As such it would be best to check with your local Honda authorized dealer for any updates as they would have the latest information for this and will be able to assist once the fix is released.
They can also contact the Honda technical department for additional assistance with this if necessary.
You can see the nearest Honda authorized dealers and their contact details by using the link below.
If you have experience coding or troubleshooting software, the possible cause of this time warp probably popped into your head early on.
Drive Accord forum user Jacalar went into the navigation system’s diagnostic menu on Sunday and discovered that the GPS date was set to May 19, 2002, or exactly 1024 weeks in the past.
Global Positioning Systems measure time from an epoch, or a specific starting point used to calculate time. The date is broadcasted including a number representing the week, coded in 10 binary digits. These digits count from 0 to 1023 then roll over on week 1024. GPS weeks first started on January 6, 1980 before first zeroing out on midnight August 21, 1999. It happened again April 6, 2019. The next happens in 2038.
If software isn’t coded to account for the rollover, weird stuff can happen, like a calendar going back exactly 1024 weeks. It’s impossible to know for sure without being able to look at Honda’s programming, but these navigation systems might be programmed so that the start of their week counter is a date 19.6 years in the past, but not in-line with GPS epoch.
Owners should be able to turn off the automatic update function and set the date and time manually, but they’re finding that the functionality doesn’t work right now. Likewise, the clock resets back to the incorrect time every time the car is started.
This isn’t the first time that Honda and Acura owners have experienced this issue. On August 16, 2017, Hondas and Acuras with navigation systems from model years 1999 through 2004 had their clocks reset to 0:00 and their calendars roll back to January 1, 1998. It then happened again on January 1, 2021 to many owners. In all cases, the time lost adds up to 1024 weeks.
Honda didn’t explain the cause back then, but the solution then was to send out update disks to fix the errors. There is no fix for the current issue. Honda says it’s investigating and if it does not find a fix, the clocks should correct themselves sometime in August.