Over the past two decades, some of the world’s biggest automobile manufacturers have worked to perfect what is known as the electric stability control system in their vehicles. Basically, this specialized computer system acts as a second driver for the vehicle in the sense that if the driver loses control, or if the computer senses loss of traction or anything out of the ordinary and therefore dangerous, the car will automatically apply the brakes to help the driver regain control and move the vehicle to safety. Obviously, the ECS systems can be life savers, but like any technological advancement, they can also come with their own dangers.
This week, American Honda Motor Co. has announced the recall of approximately 180,000 vehicles in the U.S. because of a problem with their stability control systems, according to CNN. Included are 2005 Pilot SUVs, 2005 Acura RL sedans and 2006 Acura MDX SUVs, as internal tests have revealed that the ECS computers in these cars may suddenly apply the brakes for no reason. Fortunately, no drivers have reported experiencing accidents or injuries because of this issue; however, Honda and the NHTSA are aware of 205 reports of the unexpected braking. The recall will affect almost 250,000 drivers worldwide, with the Honda Odyssey being included in other markets.
Honda officials believe that the defect can be traced back to damage caused during the manufacturing process, as the electrical capacitors may not function as they should. What could result, should drivers fail to have their vehicles inspected, would be the equivalent of someone pressing lightly on the brake pedal while also pressing on the gas. This could cause a number of subsequent problems, including the driver pressing the gas pedal harder and losing control once the braking ceases, the vehicle braking harder than expected when the brake pedal is pressed, or the driver simply becoming confused and distracted by the slowing of the vehicle.
Any of these scenarios and more could be detrimental to the well-being of the driver and passengers, as well as to the occupants of other cars around them. Honda is urging consumers who may be affected by this recall to contact the company at (800) 999-1009 for Honda vehicles or (800) 382-2238 for Acuras. The company will install a new electrical grounding bolt at no cost.