Honda has announced a major recall of over 750,000 vehicles in the U.S. due to faulty passenger seat airbag sensors that could cause airbags to unexpectedly deploy, increasing the risk of injury. The recall impacts several popular Honda and Acura models from the 2018-2022 model years.
The issue involves the front passenger seat weight sensors which detect whether an adult or child is occupying the seat. These sensors communicate with the airbag system to determine how forcefully to deploy the front passenger airbag in the event of a crash.
If the weight sensor malfunctions, the airbag computer could mistakenly classify an adult as a child or classify the seat as empty despite it being occupied. This could lead to the front passenger airbag deploying with too much or too little force. An unexpected airbag deployment increases the risk of injury to occupants.
According to Honda, the root cause of the issue stems from a manufacturing process error at one of its suppliers. Prolonged exposure to high absolute humidity can cause these weight sensors to malfunction over time.
So far, no crashes or injuries related to this issue have been reported.
The recall spans many of Honda and Acura’s most popular models, including:
- 2018-2022 Honda Accord and Accord Hybrid
- 2021-2022 Honda Civic Sedan
- 2022 Honda Civic Hatchback
- 2022 Acura MDX
- 2019-2022 Acura RDX
- 2018-2022 Honda CR-V
- 2018-2022 Honda HR-V
- 2018-2022 Honda Odyssey
- 2022 Honda Passport
- 2019-2022 Honda Pilot
- 2018-2022 Honda Ridgeline
In total, 737,000 vehicles are being recalled in the U.S. An additional 103,000 are being recalled in other global markets.
Owners of impacted vehicles will be notified by mail beginning in early March 2024. Honda dealers will inspect the front passenger seat weight sensors and if necessary replace them with new ones containing improved water sealing protections. These repairs will be done for free.
Until repairs can be completed, Honda advises owners to take some precautions regarding their front passenger seat:
- Do not put child restraint systems in the front passenger seat
- Do not allow children or small stature adults to ride in the front passenger seat
- Avoid having liquids spilled on the front passenger seat
Owners can determine if their specific vehicle is involved by entering their VIN number at Honda’s [recall website](https://honda. recalls.honda.com/).
Honda’s History of Airbag Issues
This is not the first major airbag-related recall for Honda in recent years.
In 2020 and 2021, Honda recalled over 5 million Honda and Acura vehicles due to faulty Takata airbag inflators which could explode upon deployment, spraying metal fragments towards occupants. Those recalls stemmed from use of ammonium nitrate propellant in Takata inflators which degraded over time in humid climates. At least 28 deaths worldwide have been linked to rupturing Takata inflators.
Honda’s latest recall related to passenger seat weight sensors shows that airbag defects continue to be an issue for major automakers and that environmental factors like humidity can impact advanced safety systems over time.
Honda initiated this recall after discussions with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
NHTSA had opened an investigation into the issue last year based on two injury reports alleging unexpected front passenger airbag deployments in a 2018 Honda Odyssey under moderate braking events.
One incident occurred in Puerto Rico and resulted in an arm laceration. The other occurred in Texas and led to an abdominal bruise. Both injury incidents remain under investigation and Honda filed recall paperwork with NHTSA noting they are “inconclusive” at this point regarding actual root cause.
With over 750,000 vehicles now recalled, NHTSA will continue monitoring Honda’s recall execution and potentially expand its investigation if more reports of unexpected airbag deployments occur.
Industry & Consumer Impacts
This large-scale safety recall from an automaker as prominent as Honda seems likely to spur ripple effects across the auto industry.
Other automakers using similar passenger weight sensor technology from the same or other suppliers will probably scrutinize its reliability more closely. More vehicle recalls related to seat weight sensors could occur if issues are uncovered.
For consumers, news of another major Honda airbag recall may stir more doubts over the safety and reliability of airbag systems. This is concerning as consumer trust in vehicle safety tech is crucial for the auto industry as advanced driver assistance features become more widespread.
Still, most experts emphasize that vehicles remain far safer than ever thanks to modern safety systems and continual oversight from regulators. But automakers clearly need to prioritize issues like improving component reliability in humid climate regions. Vehicle safety monitoring also cannot lapse once models hit the market.
Financial Impacts for Honda
|Recent Major Honda Recalls
|Vehicles Recalled (U.S.)
|Takata Airbag Inflators (Multiple campaigns)
|Fuel Pump Failures
|Drive Shaft Failures
|Passenger Airbag Sensors*
*Announced February 2024
A recall of over 750,000 vehicles in the U.S. alone will prove costly for Honda. The airbag sensor replacements are estimated to cost around $650 per vehicle according to Honda’s NHTSA filings.
That would mean at least $478 million in total recall costs for Honda, not accounting for related notification, logistics and labor expenses which could add over $100 million more. And if global repair costs are factored in, Honda faces over $600 million in recall-related expenses.
Honda maintains ample cash reserves so this recall seems unlikely to majorly impact ongoing operations or strategic initiatives. But in an increasingly competitive market, the profit reductions and reputational damage from continual safety issues does put pressure on automakers.
Outlook Going Forward
In announcing this recall, Honda stated an ongoing commitment to customer safety and proactively addressing defects as soon as they are uncovered. Yet some industry analysts note this reactive approach also suggests issues in quality control processes before models reach consumers.
Honda will need to carefully examine if root causes stem from internal quality checks or supplier oversight. Comprehensive improvements encompassing design, manufacturing, and post-market vigilance may be required to stem issues like rapid airbag sensor degradation.
For now, Honda states they will continue coordinating with NHTSA regarding this and other pending investigations. Honda owners affected can expect recall notifications very soon. Dealers should gain repair instructions and parts inventory over the next month as Honda attempts to swiftly address this sizable recall.
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.