Airbag Issues Prompt 400,000-Vehicle Recall at Honda

Honda Motor Co.  (NYSE: HMC  ) issued [link opens in PDF] a nationwide recall of approximately 374,000 Honda and Acura vehicles on Thursday, citing a potential problem with their airbag control units, otherwise known as the "supplemental restraint system."

 This week's recall concerns:

  • 318,000 Honda Odyssey minivans from model years 2003-2004
  • 56,000 Acura MDX SUVs from model year 2003.

Honda is also recalling 23,300 Odyssey minivans in Canada. In addition to the U.S. vehicles, the Acura MDX recall covers 1,000 vehicles in Japan, 4,800 in Canada, and nearly 1,600 in Australia.

Honda said it has received a "small but increasing" numbers of complaints in recent months regarding "inadvertent airbag deployments." These concern vehicles equipped with SRS control units containing computer chips similar to those used in airbag system control units installed in other manufacturers' vehicles that were recalled in the last year. Multiple manufacturers have issued similar recalls in 2013 -- notably a 3.4 million-car recall by Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, and Honda itself in April.

The malfunction has so far appeared in only a small number of vehicles, and has not caused any crashes, Honda said. It appears to be due to "electrical interference," and to be fixable by installing an electrical noise filter adjacent to the SRS control unit.

Honda said it will perform these installations free of charge at its dealers, and will begin mailing notifications to vehicle owners late next month to provide further details. Owners of affected vehicles who do not want to wait can contact Honda directly for further information at (800) 999-1009, or online at www.recalls.honda.com and www.recalls.acura.com.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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