Honda (NYSE:HMC) is recalling 24,889 Odyssey minivans from the 2014 model year in the United States in order to replace the shorting coupler, an electrical component in the side curtain airbag system. The company was clear that the recall is voluntary and not prescribed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or other automotive authorities.
The issue goes back to Honda’s assembly of the shorting coupler for the side curtain airbag specifically on the passenger’s side of the vehicle, and “it is possible that the shorting terminal, which is used to prevent deployment of the airbag before it is assembled into the vehicle, may have been damaged,” Honda said.
The Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) indicator on the dash could illuminate as a result, as well as prevent the side curtain airbag from deploying during a crash, the company said in a statement. No accidents or injuries have yet been reported, so the recall is largely a preventative measure. Honda said that the issue was discovered during routine warranty repairs.
The decision for Honda to administer the recall is reflective of a broader industry trend of smaller recalls for so far inconsequential problems as automakers strive to ensure they don’t become ensnared in the situation that General Motors is in now, or that Toyota found itself in a few years ago.
The increasing prevalence of micro-systems and micro-electronics, reliance on software, and regulations that hold more accountability on automakers when it comes to security concerns has led to far safer cars over the years — and far more recalls, like the one Honda is experiencing now.
The news comes just hours after General Motors announced a recall of more than 50,000 Cadillac SRX crossovers (for a lagging transmission) and 51 — yes, 51 — heavy-duty Silverado and Sierra pickups for improperly torqued nuts on the fuel pipe on each side of the transfer pump between the gas tanks. Again, these examples illustrate the automaker’s desire to get them repaired as soon as possible so it won’t come back in two, three, or even five years with a vengeance.
Honda will begin notifying owners of the issue in the next couple of weeks and encouraging them to bring their Odyssey vans into their local dealers for repairs, free of charge.