Honda on Monday said that it is recalling its popular Accord and Civic cars from the 2003 model year to address problems that could cause the vehicle to roll away.
The problem stems from a defective ignition switch, whose shift interlock system could allow the key to be removed without the transmission being shifted into park.
The recall involves 384,220 vehicles and includes 2003 to 2004 model years of the Honda Element. It is expected to begin in late September.
The news comes after the completion of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation following two earlier recalls in 2003 and 2005 for the same issue.
- 2003 recall: 570,000 vehicles, including the 1998–99 Honda Accord, 1999 Odyssey, 1999 Acura TL, 1997-99 Acura CL.
- 2005 recall: 487,000 vehicles, including the 1999-2002 Accord, 1997–2001 Prelude and 1999–2000 Acura TL.
In all, Honda has recalled 1.4 million vehicles for the defect.
Christopher Jensen at the New York Times sums up the company's recent recall history nicely:
Late in 2008, the safety agency opened a "recall query" to determine whether the earlier recalls covered all the vehicles with the shift interlock problem, because consumers whose vehicles were not covered by the 2003 and 2005 recalls complained about the problem.
The agency said "one owner alleged that she was almost into her house when she noticed the car rolling out of the garage and down the driveway and that when she tried to stop the car it almost ran over her before crashing into a cable box at the end of the driveway."
The agency said it had 17 reports of crashes, but no reports of injuries.
Early in 2009, the agency said there was enough evidence to warrant a more serious investigation and upgraded the recall query to an engineering analysis. That led to the current recall. Last Thursday Honda informed N.H.T.S.A. of the recall.
Honda says it has already contacted some owners by phone and arranged for their vehicles to be repaired free of charge; others will be notified by mail.
The company says owners should visit its recall website or call (800) 999-1009. (Honda's recall campaign number is R45.)
Want to see the official notice? Read it on the NHTSA's website.
Photo: Honda's 2010 Civic Sedan, which is not a part of the recall. (Honda)
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com