Home » Why A Natural Disaster Caused Honda And Acura To Recall 750,000 Cars

Why A Natural Disaster Caused Honda And Acura To Recall 750,000 Cars

Tmd Honda Acura Recall
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If you are an owner of one of 35 different Honda or Acura models built between 2020 and 2022 you might want to read further, as there’s a non-zero chance that your vehicle’s airbag might explode in a crash when it’s really not supposed to, and a non-zero chance the issue might partially have been affected by global warming.

It’s recall Tuesday here at The Morning Dump because there are just so many of them. In addition to Honda’s big recall, we’ve got 300,000+ trucks from GM in need of evaluation due to a tailgate that might open while driving.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

The Mazda CX-90 seems like a great new vehicle and it’s just out on the market but, uh, Mazda is already recalling it. And, finally, even VinFast is getting in on the action with its own super weird recall.

Honda Issues Yet Another Airbag Recall, This Time For Airbags Going Off When They Shouldn’t

2020 Honda Fit

This is not the Takata airbag recall so don’t let your eyes roll back in your head out of boredom, which, for whatever reason (probably the fact that it’s been covered to death), is now the response when we talk about the Takata airbag recall.

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This recall from Honda is a whole new thing involving almost every Honda or Acura model made between 2020 and 2022, though the affected years vary based on the vehicle.

Here’s a super long, but useful graphic from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with the full list:

NHTSA LIST OF RECALLED HONDAS

NHTSA LIST OF RECALLED HONDAS

Are we missing anything? I can’t see any vehicles we’re missing. Given the timing, it seems like this is indeed almost every Honda and Acura vehicle sold in the United States between some point in 2020 and some point in 2022, but it’s going to be one of those recalls where the specific VIN/build date of a specific vehicle is going to matter.

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Why are all these cars being recalled? Quite simply, vehicles have weight sensors in seats to determine if an airbag should or should not go off in an accident. For children or small people, the impact of an airbag can be so strong that it’s more damaging than the accident itself, depending upon the crash. This weight sensor thing is a common technology that’s been in vehicles for most of the airbag era.

The issue here is a curious one, and the cause is quite interesting:

Due to a natural disaster at the manufacturing plant of a tier-2 supplier, the tier-1 supplier temporarily changed the base material in the printed circuit board of the seat weight sensor, which was not sufficiently verified for its intended use. The alternative base material could allow additional strain to the printed circuit board that can lead to a capacitor cracking and an internal short circuit.

Quick terminology check here. A Tier 1 supplier is the person who delivers the final part/manufactured good you’re getting. Your Marc Levinson radio in your Lexus is supplied by Marc Levinson, the Tier 1 supplier. But, that radio has a microchip and many other individual parts that might be made by someone else — those are Tier 2 suppliers. All the raw materials (the silicon in one of those microchips) come from Tier 3 suppliers.

In this case, the Tier 1 supplier appears to be Aisin Electronics of Illinois, which is a subsidiary of mega Japanese supplier Aisin and the one listed on the recall notice. If that’s the case, then the company swapped a printed circuit board part because it wasn’t available from its unnamed Tier 2 supplier. This part wasn’t up to snuff, which has caused this issue.

It seems like an easy fix, and Honda/Acura will soon be contacting owners to bring their cars back in to swap the sensor back to the original part.

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I’ve reached out to both Honda and Aisin Electronics to determine who that Tier 2 supplier is, and I’ll update this post when I get that info, but there’s an interesting potential twist here.

What was the natural disaster? Given the timing, there’s a decent chance the supplier was a Chinese company that was impacted by the massive and historic floods of 2020, which would explain why the part was unavailable for such a long period (there were massive floods in Japan but none that seemed to be linked to long-term supply issues).

Here’s an interesting quote from The South China Morning Post that might point us in the right direction of why those floods occurred:

The subtropical high pressure system over the western North Pacific was strong this year,” said Song Lianchun, a meteorologist with the National Climate Centre. “Its intersection with cold air has led to continuous heavy rainfall in the Yangtze River basin.”

Another reason was global warming, he said.

“We cannot say a single extreme weather event is directly caused by climate change, but seeing it over the long term, global warming has led to an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events,” Song said

Of course, the floods happened simultaneously with the worst of COVID-19 in China, which certainly didn’t help. Was COVID-19 itself a natural disaster?

I might be wrong here, and it might have been an earthquake or something else, but we know that the interconnectedness of the world means a natural disaster somewhere like China can potentially lead to an airbag improperly deploying in California because of a part assembled in Illinois.

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GMC/Chevy Recall 300,000 Trucks Over Tailgates

2024 Gmc Sierra Hd 001 (1)
Photo credit: GMC

Here’s a not-so-fun, Spy Hunter-esque recall from General Motors for certain 2020-2024 Chevrolet Silverado 2500, 3500, GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500 trucks with the power-unlatching taillgate.

The power unlatching tailgate is a great feature until, as in this case, the “tailgate’s electronic gate-release switch may short circuit due to water intrusion, which can result in the tailgate inadvertently unlatching while the vehicle is in park.”

You can imagine what happens next if an owner fills up their truck with loose bowling balls and then gets on the highway. Or, as described in a FAQ from GM:

If the driver does not manually close the gate before beginning a drive, cargo in the bed of the truck may exit the vehicle and become a road hazard, increasing the risk of a crash. Until the recall is completed, owners should check that the tailgate closed and latched before driving.

Yikes.

The Mazda CX-90 Is Already Being Recalled

CX-90 Turbo S Premium

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I’m excited to borrow the new Mazda CX-90, and jealous that Thomas got to review it before I did. Though, you know, maybe I’ll wait for the fix to its latest issue.

According to NHTSA, about 43,000 vehicles need to be recalled because the power steering might fail. Specifically:

A worm gear is incorporated in the steering gear assembly, which transmits the power assist generated by the power steering motor. The worm gear friction force may be excessive which results in increased force required to turn the steering wheel.

Cars are complicated and this is a new car/platform, so, unfortunately, things like this do happen.

VinFast Has A Very Specific Recall In Vietnam For A Very Specific Reason

Vinfast Vf5

Stumbling Vietnamese automaker VinFast already had to recall all of its cars in the United States at launch to fix some electrical gremlins.

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Those gremlins are still active in Vietnam, this time impacting its VF 5 vehicles, according to Vietnam Plus. Here’s the extremely specific reason why:

The automobile maker found that the head lights on several VF 5 Plus cars turn off inadvertently when drivers push the combination switch for the left turn signal while running at the speed of 50-55 kilometres per hour, with auto-on headlight mode on. This could reduce driver vision and visibility at night.

The problem was with a control circuit board design error from the component supplier, it said.

That’s an annoying problem because it only happens at certain speeds so you can see the issue one day and not see it the other day. I’m sure this was annoying for local VinFast dealer technicians.

What I’m Listening To While Writing TMD

I feel like I’ve been waiting for this album for roughly nine years, but I suppose I first heard The Last Dinner Party’s “Nothing Matters” about nine months ago. That’s the big single the album “Prelude to Ecstasy” has to live up to and, mostly, it does. I don’t think the album is about the Honda Prelude, but… maybe? This is my favorite track, though.

The Big Question

When was the last time you had a vehicle recalled? What was it for? Did you get it fixed? Was it an easy or difficult experience?

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Chartreuse Bison
Chartreuse Bison
5 months ago

Is the airbag seat sensor failing on or off? Because if it’s just failing to deactivate the airbag then the answer is don’t put a kid up front, which is already a good idea even with a working sensor.

Johnny Anxiety
Johnny Anxiety
5 months ago

Last year I had my 22 Ram 1500 recalled for a software update for parking camera that would go black occasionally. Also had to have the tailgate looked at in the recall for misaligned posts preventing proper closure. My truck didn’t suffer from either issue though.

Before that it was my 09 GMC Sierra takata airbag recall which was fixed insanely fast. I was able to schedule it as soon as I was notified and it was done within a week. As opposed to my 07 Ford Fusion beater that took 2 years to get replaced.

James Carson
James Carson
5 months ago

Fuel pump on my 18 Honda, who would have thought. Previous one was the ignition tumbler on my junked Olds Intrigue … they still send me notices on this one.

Greensoul
Greensoul
5 months ago

Last November, security upgrade including a heftier ignition and housing and some kind of software update for my 19 Soul. Can’t forget to mention the snazzy red “Hey Kiaboyz pass on this Kia” window stickers warning about my Kia’s enhanced security package. On a positive note, my car insurance went down 40% after I submitted proof the security recall had been done to my insurer. I kept the cheezy knock off “club” Kia had sent at the beginning of last year while they were ramping up for the recall. This is the only issue I’ve had with my Soul. I bought it as it came off the Kia delivery truck in 18. So far, 5+ years and 24,200 miles of trouble free driving other than the recall.

Cayde-6
Cayde-6
5 months ago

Imagine having to say “I’m sorry officer! I was speeding because my headlights could shut off if I used my turn signal when I’m going between 50 and 55!!” after getting pulled over.

What are the odds any cop would buy that one?

Last edited 5 months ago by Cayde-6
Rod Millington
Rod Millington
5 months ago

When we had out 2019 Fit it got recalled for the fuel pump for a safety concern.

Oddly it stopped the light surging at low rpm that was “definitely not a problem” according to the stealer.

Cayde-6
Cayde-6
5 months ago
Reply to  Rod Millington

Huh… my Honda now has a fuel pump recall out on it. Something about the impeller material possibly cracking. Wonder if your was similar

Rod Millington
Rod Millington
5 months ago
Reply to  Cayde-6

It was in 2021 I think and could potentially stop delivering fuel to the car. Before we sold it, it started doing the same thing again so it’s interesting there’s another recall.

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
5 months ago

The airbag recalls got me good. For the Fit it was “Hey, we won’t have parts for your passenger side airbag for months – so, just don’t drive with a passenger.” Gee, thanks.
For the Suburban the recall repair itself went fine, but they were chiding me about the horribly broken dash (the class action suit against GM over their crap dashboards sadly failed). So I said I’d be willing to consider letting you fix the dash as well – until they quoted me $1300. I still have a horribly broken dash.

Edward
Edward
5 months ago
Reply to  OrigamiSensei

When my ’13 Fit was recalled for the airbag issue we were given a rental car, for like two months until the part came in.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
5 months ago

When was the last time you had a vehicle recalled?”

I think over a decade ago.

“What was it for?”

I can’t remember. It was for something minor.

“Did you get it fixed?”

yup

“Was it an easy or difficult experience?”

Don’t recall it being difficult.

Note that I’ve never owned a car newer than 6 years old… so by that time, any recalls would have been taken care of. And I haven’t had any cars with the Takata airbag issue.

Alexander Moore
Alexander Moore
5 months ago

I’ve never owned a car newer than 6 years old… so by that time, any recalls would have been taken care of.

My dad’s ’01 V70 was recalled in 2023 because of airbag shrapnel concerns (though no Volvos to my knowledge use Takata—I believe it was an Autoliv unit) and they replaced the steering wheel hub-mounted airbag with one from a 2005+ car. I guess beyond a certain age recalls are at a manufacturer’s discretion?

RataTejas
RataTejas
5 months ago

Yay, no Clarity on the recall list.

Geoffrey Reuther
Geoffrey Reuther
5 months ago

I swear this recall question was just asked like 2 weeks ago.

My last 2 recall experiences:

’19 Niro EV – I had come in for a worm gear/bearing replacement in the steering wheel, and they informed me on check in that I had an open recall, and they could do it at the same time. This was for the battery coolant having been revised. So I had them do it, easy peasy. And since I was pretty close to the mileage I’d need to do a fluid flush anyway, kind of a free bonus maintenance.

’13 Santa Fe – Had made an appointment for the GoddamnitKiaBoyz recall. They checked me in, I went to the waiting room and enjoyed a complimentary bottle of water and bag of chips while I futzed on my phone for 45 minutes. All done, out the door, including a free coupon to the brushless carwash down the street. The only annoyance was that they had a 2 month backlog for the appointments themselves at the time (which has apparently gotten worse)

Spikersaurusrex
Spikersaurusrex
5 months ago

I bought a ’22 Ford Maverick XLT Hybrid. Took delivery in Oct. 2022. Since then it’s been in for 3 recalls and still has one outstanding without a fix. The first recall was for airbags, which they promptly replaced. To say “sorry” Ford sent me a Yeti thermos. The second recall was for emissions controls that might not work at “maximum speed”. I’m not sure that’s a big deal because it’s not legal to drive “maximum speed” on public roads anyway, but I got it taken care of because the letter said that failure to take action could result in voiding the emissions system warrantee. When I called to get that fixed, they said they’d also fix a recall on the turn signal bulb outage warning system (apparently that’s a thing). The other recall that hasn’t been fixed is the curiously exploding engines… so far the remedy is to pull over and stop driving if your engine goes kablooey. I must say, so far Ford isn’t making me feel great about buying from them.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
5 months ago

I was expecting to read: “GM recalls pickups due to tailgates being to low to the ground, which can cause possible emasculation of the driver.”

EXL500
EXL500
5 months ago

I had an ignition coil recall on my 2015 Fit around 2016. Mine was fine, so they sent me on my way.

Eggsalad
Eggsalad
5 months ago

I bought a ’13 Hyundai less than a year ago and it has already been recalled twice since.
First was a security update, courtesy of the Kia Boyz. Took 2 months to get an appointment, but the update took an hour.
The car is currently under recall (don’t park inside!) for an ABS issue, with no resolution in sight.

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