Thursday, April 14, 2016

How not to communicate - Honda told me my car is literally da bomb

As shown above I own a 2012 Honda Fit subcompact car. Honda recently sent me an IMPORTANT SAEFTY RECALL notice that says:

What is the reason for this recall?
Honda has decided that a defect which relates to motor vehicle safety exists is certain 2009-2014 model year Fit vehicles.

The defect in these vehicles could kill or injure you or other people in your vehicle. Specifically, in some vehicles, the driver’s front airbag inflator could produce excessive internal pressure upon deployment. If an affected airbag deploys, the increased internal pressure may cause the inflator to rupture (break apart) and deploy abnormally. In the event of an inflator rupture, metal fragments could pass through the airbag cushion material possibly causing serious injury or fatality to you and others in the vehicle. Past ruptures like this have killed and injured vehicle drivers.

What should you do?
The remedy parts needed to conduct airbag inflator recalls will become available in the Summer of 2016. Honda will send you another letter when parts become available to repair your vehicle.

Until parts become available for repairs, please feel free to discuss your specific needs and concerns with your dealer, including the provision of, or reimbursement for, temporary alternative transportation, as necessary. You also may contact Honda’s Automobile Customer Service (at the number listed below) to address your needs and concerns.

If you have questions or concerns, we encourage you to visit www or to call Honda Automobile Service at 1-888-234-2138.

Wow! Should I start panicking and losing sleep now? Not really. The recall is a recent addition to a colossal mess involving inflators for Takata airbags. But Honda has a more specific recall site just about the airbags. I wish they had told me to look there first. A February 23rd article linked to from there said:

“A consortium of 10 automakers investigating the root cause behind exploding airbag inflators made by Takata Corp. has fingered the ammonium nitrate propellant as a key factor in the deadly ruptures — but not the only one. 

According to the group, known as the Independent Testing Coalition, the ammonium nitrate propellant used in about 23.4 million inflators that Takata deemed defective last year was contained in inflator assemblies that failed to protect the chemical from moisture in humid climates. The exposure to humidity and repeated temperature swings over time can cause the ammonium nitrate to combust violently and rupture the inflator when the airbags deploy in a crash, the group concluded…” 

On March 11th at Consumer Reports there was an article titled Everything you need to know about the Takata airbag recall. It included the following information under the heading of Does it matter where I live?:

“According to NHTSA, yes. The Takata inflators seem to be vulnerable to persistent high humidity and high temperature conditions, such as in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, the Gulf Coast states, Hawaii, and island territories. However, since a number of confirmed deaths have occurred in places outside the priority recall area, this recall should not be ignored.”

he high humidity and temperature combination presumably would cause the ammonium nitrate to break into smaller particles, which would combust more rapidly than intended when the airbag inflates. Other than when it was shipped overseas from Japan after it was made in August 2011, my car never was exposed to persistent high humidity. The airbag inflator is unlikely to produce excessive pressure. Some doesn’t mean mine. 
How many cars are involved? On March 2nd the Car and Driver web site had another article titled: Massive Takata Airbag Recall: Everything You Need to Know, Including Full List of Affected Vehicles. The recall started in April 2013, and it affected the following millions of vehicles:

Honda 8.51(millions)
Dodge Ram 5.64
Toyota 3.11
BMW  1.605
Ford 1.509
Nissan 1.091
Mercedes-Benz 0.848
Volkswagen 0.680
Chevrolet 0.510
Mazda 0.500
Pontiac 0.300
Audi 0.170
Subaru 0.080

That’s a total of 24.55 million cars, or about ten percent of the total of 257.9 million cars in the U.S. Here in Boise the March 30, 2016 Idaho Statesman had an article by Robert Ehlert titled Airbag recall a sobering situation for millions who need to act. He owns a 2008 Honda CR-V that he bought as a used car. Mr. Ehlert chose to park that vehicle, and drive a rental until it gets fixed. But I’m going to keep driving my Fit.

No comments: