Last Thursday, October 29, was a really rough for Honda. As we wrote about earlier, Honda already announced one airbag related recall, involving an issue with the driver's side airbags in a little over 500 Honda CR-Vs. Later the same day, they announced the recall of 304,000 2008-2009 Honda Accords, due to a malfunctioning side airbag issue. Apparently, if you slam the door too hard, or go over a bump with enough force the side airbags can deploy.
Who Makes This Product?
Honda manufactures the Accord. While the manufacturer of airbags in question has not been confirmed, early reports suggest the side airbags are made by Bosch.
Which Products are Affected?
It appears that a sizable number of Accords from the 2008 and 2009 model years suffer from this malfunction. The vehicles in questioned were manufactured between Januarry 22, 2007 and June 30, 2008.
How Widespread is the Problem?
Compared to other airbag recalls, including the 19 million and counting cars with faulty, potentially deadly airbags, 304,000 cars is, shockingly, a pretty modest recall these days. Although to the at least 19 people who have reportedly been injured by the probably already, I bet they think it's a pretty big problem.
What Can Be Done About It?
Honda is in the process of mailing out recall notices, which the company estimates should take until December 14. If you are unsure if your car is affected, you are welcome to contact Honda customer service at 888-234-2138. You should reference recall number JV4.
What Does This Mean?
The problem is moderately dangerous. While many of the accidental airbag deployments have taken place while closing the door, which would make them more of a nuisance, the fact that some have occurred after the car has gone over a bumps in the road means that the potential is there for this malfunction to trigger a traffic accident. I am sure the last thing most of us expect while driving down the road is for an airbag to deploy, so the possibility of startled drivers causing accidents is quite real.
Perhaps the most frustrating part of the particular recall is that it appears Honda has known about the problem for years. It would be hard for them not to since it appears they have settled a class-action lawsuit related to this problem. According to reports, as part of the settlement, Honda extended the airbag warranties on these effected vehicles. I would be curious to know how many of the injured people have been hurt since the settlement was reached? I also wonder how many of those who have been injured were in another vehicle in an accident caused by an Accord's accidental airbag deployment? I mean it is nice that Accord owners had their warranties extended, but if I am someone who was in another vehicle and injured by an accident with an Accord caused by an accidental airbag deployment, I sure would like to know, because I know I was likely not considered in the class action settlement.
If you think I am being harsh, it is not like Honda was in an hurry to actually fix the problem. It appears that the only reason this particular recall went ahead was because Honda was under pressure from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Although, if there is one silver lining for Honda in all of this, at least this particular problem doesn't cause deadly pieces of metal to shoot at the driver.