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Minivan Seats Deemed Unstable; Honda Recalls 690K Vehicles

At the end of December Honda recalled 686,463 Odyssey minivans in North America over concerns that the second-row seats can come loose in an accident. Some consumers have even reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that they have experienced their seats shifting while simply braking. The NHTSA stated that the defect “increases the risk of injury to the seat occupant during a crash.” But at the time of the recall no injuries were reported, although Honda has received 689 warranty claims relating to the issue. The minivans in question were assembled from August 17, 2010 through October 1, 2015 and sold under models years 2011 to 2016.

Honda admitted to first receiving a complaint of the faulty second-row seats in January of 2011, but they claimed to not be able to understand the reason for the problem, so they did nothing thinking it was a one off.  In Honda’s 2016 report to NHTSA the automaker claims to not have learned of another complaint until January 2015, but the NHTSA website contains consumer complaints dating back to 2014. Honda said they were able to recreate the complaint over the summer of 2015, but just one time. So they continued to monitor the situation, but again the automaker did nothing.

Almost a year later, Honda sent notices to dealers inquiring about complaints relating to the defect. But not until November 2016 did Honda learn how to reproduce the problem with consistency, which they determined was caused by “grease hardening under specific temperature and humidity ranges, along with the surface roughness of the parts.” There is no evidence that the NHTSA ever opened a probe to investigate the complaints that the second-row seats, designed to move forward to access the third-row, may not lock when returned to their intended position. Six years after receiving the first complaint, Honda finally recalled the minivans.

Honda Odyssey Recalls

Every model year Odyssey from 2002 to 2016 has now been affected by a recall. Earlier in 2016, the 2002, 2003, & 2004 model year Odyssey minivans were among the millions of Honda vehicles recalled over their defective Takata airbag inflators. In 2014, U.S. authorities recalled nearly 900,000 Honda Odyssey minivans (2005 to 2010 model years) because the minivans were leaking fuel that could catch fire. The year before another 344,000 (model year 2007 & 2008) Odyssey minivans were recalled because of a faulty sensor that could cause the brakes to turn on at random.

Owners of a recently recalled Odyssey will have their second-row seats secured with an additional bracket and spring free of charge. Honda said they will contact consumers in February, but authorities say that the necessary parts are not expected to be available for months. In the meantime, Odyssey drivers are being told to make sure that their second-row seats are locked in place with the horizontal adjustment bar.

To see if your Honda Odyssey has been recalled please visit: https://consumerwatch.com/vehicle-recall-checker-by-vin-check-vehicle-recalls/

To file a complaint with the NHTSA see: https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/VehicleComplaint/